True fans of the New York Yankees, such as William Mulrow, know that the history of their favorite professional baseball team did not start out in the Bronx, New York, where Yankee Stadium now stands.
The history of the team actually began in Baltimore in 1901, when the team was the Baltimore Orioles. Within two years the team would make the move to New York to become the Highlanders before becoming the Yankees in 1913.
The Yankees hold 18 division titles, 40 American League pennants and a record 27 World Series championships. Stars who have played for the team include Babe Ruth, Lou Gehrig, Mickey Mantle, Joe DiMaggio, Yogi Berra and 42 others who went on to be enshrined in the National Baseball Hall of Fame.
The team experienced limited success on the playing field in its early years in New York as it finished second in the pennant race in 1904, 1906 and 1910. But off the baseball field, the team’s owners struggled with financial challenges and personal disagreements with each other. The team was sold to Jacob Ruppert and Tillinghast L’Hommedieu Huston in 1915.
Jacob Ruppert came to the Yankees with substantial wealth that he was willing to spend on the team. The Yankees acquired Babe Ruth from the Boston Red Sox in 1920 to begin an era of on-field successes that would translate into record attendance figures at the ballpark.
Current fans of the New York Yankees, such as William Mulrow, can appreciate the significance of attendance figures like the 58,000 people who filled Yankee Stadium for the first game held at the new ballpark. Built in 1923, Yankee Stadium set itself apart from other baseball facilities as the first triple-deck stadium in the country. Babe Ruth symbolically christened the new stadium by hitting a homerun on that first day of baseball in the Bronx.
From the 1930s through the 1950s, it seemed that as one Yankee superstar retired or left the team, another was waiting to step up and take his place. When Babe Ruth left the team in 1934 join the National League, Lou Gehrig took advantage of this opportunity to shine. After winning four consecutive World Series titles, Gehrig’s career was cut short in 1939 when he was diagnosed with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis and died two years later. (The illness would later become known as Lou Gehrig’s Disease.)
After Gehrig left the team, Joe DiMaggio did what Gehrig had done when Ruth left the team. Over the course of his career, DiMaggio’s achievements would include getting a hit in 56 consecutive games. When DiMaggio decided to end his career in 1951, Mickey Mantle joined the team as the new centerfielder and, eventually, the newest hitting sensation in a long line of Yankee sluggers dating back to Babe Ruth.
The long list of achievements by New York Yankee hitters continued in 1961 when Roger Maris and Mickey Mantle combined to make a run at the single-season homerun record set by Babe Ruth. On the final day of the 1961 season, Roger Maris hit his 61st home run of the season to surpass Ruth’s achievement by one home run. The record set by Maris would stand until it was broken in 1998, but the 61 home runs hit by Maris stands as the American League record.