Yankees: An Alternate History, an OOTP Experiment
By Ryan Doyle
Well, that will do it for the New York Highlanders in their first seven years of existence. They put together one impressive season, but it wasn’t enough to win the pennant.
Overall, the Highlanders sat in the middle of the pack. Without the star power of a Cy Young or Ty Cobb, New York was unable to take the next step.
Throughout the decade, star pitcher Jack Chesbro provided stability to what was typically a subpar pitching staff. Chesbro would finish with an 89-98 record in New York, with a 2.58 ERA and a handful of some of the organization’s best seasons to date.
Willie ‘Willie Wee’ Keeler remains one of the faces of the Highlanders through 1909 and will likely be one of the first players that are inducted into Cooperstown (OOTP has the Hall of Fame operating in 1909) in a Highlander ballcap.
He led the league in hits in ’04 and ’05 and was in the battling title race a handful of times. Unfortunately, OOTP combines his stats with his time in Baltimore before the Highlanders were created, but he was a key cog in the lineup in his virtual career.
Jimmy Williams is the next batter who deserves recognition. He currently sits as the career WAR leader for New York (48.1). One of the best second basemen in this virtual league, Williams won a Gold Glove and a pair of Silver Slugger Awards (I know, these awards are implemented way ahead of time) from 1903-1907.
Lastly, young Hal Chase developed into one of the franchise’s premier players. Chase led the league in RBI in his rookie season in 1905. He had a down year in 1909, but Chase was a perennial .300 hitter. He is projected to have a few solid years left before his time in New York is over.
Next up, we break down the years leading up to the Great Bambino’s arrival in New York, and the organization changing its name from the Highlanders to the Yankees. Be sure to check back soon.