The Yankees franchise has its origins in Baltimore where the team played as the Orioles in 1901 and 1902. After two unsuccessful years as an American League team, the Orioles folded and were sold to Frank Farrell and Bill Devery—who were unusual business partners in New York. Farrell had been involved in the Manhattan gambling scene, owning pool halls and a casino, while Devery had been the New York City police superintendent, a position that later was changed to chief of police.
An interesting pair, to say the least.
But together they bought the Baltimore franchise and then moved it to Manhattan in 1903, gained acceptance into baseball’s American League that March, and then frantically built a wooden ballpark at 168th street and Broadway so the club could begin play in April. The ballpark was named Hilltop Park because its location was among the highest spots in Manhattan, and the location also gave the franchise its first New York name: the Highlanders. The club quickly became relevant in the AL Pennant race, placing second three times in eight years, but was never able to build on its success in consecutive seasons, and it was never able to get over the hump, so to speak, and claim victory. The club first began wearing pinstripes in 1912, and officially became the Yankees in 1913, but the Yankees path to becoming the world’s greatest sports franchise was laid when Jacob Ruppert led a group of investors who paid $1.25 million to purchase the club in 1915. Ruppert and his group poured money into the club, purchased Babe Ruth, won a Pennant, won a second Pennant, built a stadium, and then finally won a third consecutive Pennant and a World Championship.
By the end of the 1920s, the Yankees were a dynasty under the leadership of manager Miller Huggins and the extraordinary play of legends like Ruth and Gehrig and Lazzeri and Combs. And the Yankees didn’t dominate for just one decade and then return to irrelevancy, as other franchises have done—New York won six Pennants in the 1920s, five Pennants in the 1930s, five Pennants in the 1940s, eight Pennants in the 1950s, five Pennants in the 1960s … and on and on, you get the picture.
All total: 51 playoff appearances, 40 Pennants, and 27 World Championships.
Not to mention some of baseball’s greatest legends: Yogi Berra, Bill Dickey, Joe DiMaggio, Whitey Ford, Lou Gehrig, Reggie Jackson, Tony Lazzeri, Mickey Mantle, Phil Rizzuto, and Babe Ruth are just a few of the many Hall of Famers whose path to Cooperstown was paved through the Bronx—and then you have Derek Jeter, who through the 2012 season is arguably baseball’s greatest actively playing legend.
It is impossible to tell baseball’s greatest stories without talking about the Yankees—precisely because it was the Yankees that gave baseball so many of its greatest legends and moments. And most of them are in this eBook, so if you’re already a diehard fan then click here to take the challenge … good luck and have fun.