Division Street YMCA, on the north side of Chicago, was a leading amateur and YMCA team in the city from the 1920s through the 1940s. The team was championships in the YMCA League and in the Central AAU.
The Division Street YMCA first emerged in the 1920s as a power with its lightweight team called the Clippers. In 1920, the Clippers won the Amateur Athletic Foundation 135-pound title. On the other hand the team experieced early elimination in the 1920 Central AAU 135 pound tournament. The following year, however, in the Central AAU tourney they took second in the 135-pound championshp to the legendary Armour Square Cornells team in a close game, 21-19. In 1922, the Clippers again took second to the Cornells, losing the Central AAU title game by a wider score 30-22.
By 1925, the lightweight team was called the Bullets, but its fortunes were low that year, losing in an early round in the Central AAU tournament. The following year, the now experienced Bullets had an extraordinary season under the capable Coach Henry Scott. The team garnered a 30-4 record and won two big titles--the Central AAU 135 pound title and the Amateur Athletic Federation (AAF) 135 pound title.
In 1927 the Division Street Bullets repeated as the Central AAU 135 pound champions, defeating Perez Council K of C team, 25-22 in the title game. That year the Bullets were such an overwhelming power in the YMCA city tournament the team won the 135 pound title and then stepped up in class and beat the heavyweight titlist, West Side YMCA, as well in a three-game playoff for the Chicago YMCA championship.
By the 1930s, the principal team of the Division Street YMCA was the Clippers. In 1939, two Division Street YMCA teams fought for the YMCA city heavyweight tournament title, the Division Street Clippers, which beat the Division Street Bullets, 40-32 to for the tournament championship. The Division Street lightweight team that year lost the YMCA city title to the South Chicago YMCA.
The Division Street Clippers in the 1940s was the institution’s dominant team. The heavyweight team made it four straight YMCA city titles, adding consecutive titles in 1940, 1941, and 1942 to its 1939 title. The lightweight team added to the institution's hardware by taking two city titles in 1941 and 1942.
In 1941 and 1942 the heavyweight team went on to win consecutive national YMCA championships (called the International YMCA Championship, although there not much international about them). In the 1942 national YMCA title game, Division Street beat Chicago’s Wabash Avenue YMCA, with the great Nat Clifton 47-45. The Clippers took the YMCA state title in 1941, and also captured the last two Central AAU titles, in 1942 and 1943. The team was made up of largely Wells High School players, notably Big Ed Bogdanski and Henry Sachs.
In 1944, the Division Street Clippers took the YMCA state championship, beating the Elgin YMCA All-Stars in the title game 59-40.
The Division Street Clippers last hurrah was in 1947 when the team took the national YMCA title for the third time, although coverage in the local papers was abysmal, and hardly anyone in the city heard about it. In 1953, veterans of the Division Street Y teams came together in a reunion.