Yankees: An Alternate History, an OOTP Experiment

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The New York Highlanders Base Ball Club (Photo by Mark Rucker/Transcendental Graphics, Getty Images) /

A look at the origins of the New York Yankees.

Before we take a look at the results of the simulation, let’s take a brief look at the origins of the Yankees.

Prior to moving to New York, the organization that would become the Yankees played in Baltimore for two seasons with the National League’s New York Giants blocking any potential moves to New York. The franchise was purchased and moved to Manhattan and named the New York Highlanders in 1903.

According to the Yankees team website, the Highlanders’ name came from the location of the team’s ballpark which was located at one of the highest points in Manhattan. The Highlanders would be the name of the franchise until 1913 when the team moved to the Polo Grounds and officially changed its name to the Yankees.

In the early years, New York was led by Hall of Famers pitcher Jack Chesbro, player-manager Clark Griffith and outfielder Willie Keeler. The franchise finished over .500 in its first season, and while the Yankees would never reach the World Series, they came just shy of winning the pennant twice in the 1900s.

In 1904, Chesbro set an American League record with 41 wins, a mark that may never be broken. Despite the historic season, New York’s 92 wins would not match Boston’s 95-59 record, a team led by Cy Young. The Highlanders’ other second-place finish would come in 1906.

Aside from those two seasons, the Highlanders weren’t much of a threat at the dawn of the 20th century. Griffith would be fired during the 1908 season and the Yankees would be without a pennant until 1921.

Up next, OOTP will take us on a trip through Highlanders baseball during the first decade of the 20th Century.