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New York Yankees

NEW YORK YANKEES

 

The Baltimore Orioles baseball franchise formed in 1901. In 1903 Bill Devery and Frank Farrell purchased it for $18,000, moving the team to New York. Originally called the Highlanders, the team changed its name in 1913 to the New York Yankees. In 1915 Colonel Jacob Ruppert and Tillinghast L'Hommedieu Huston purchased the Yankees from the original owners for $460,000. Ruppert bought out Huston in 1922.

 

The first years of this American League franchise team were mediocre and filled with frustration. But after the shift of ownership in 1915, the Yankees began to improve. Miller Huggins was hired to manage the baseball team, and he did an excellent job of assembling a line-up of good players. The team acquired its star from the Boston Red Sox after the 1919 season. His name was George Herman "Babe" Ruth, and his contract was obtained for $125,000, plus a loan of approximately $300,000. The year before this trade, Ruth hit 29 home runs and was considered the best and most exciting player in the game of baseball. His yearly salary was a then-unheard of $20,000 per year.

In 1921 the team played in its first World Series, losing to the New York Giants. But in 1923, after winning three American league pennants in a row, the Yankees finally won a World Series, beating the Giants 4 games to 2. Nineteen twenty-three was also the year the team moved into Yankee Stadium, the nation's first triple-deck stadium and acquired one of its greatest stars, Lou Gehrig. In the following years, the Yankees continued to build a dynasty, adding players like Joe DiMaggio (1936) and a host of others. The team won fourteen American League pennants and ten World Series titles by 1943.

In 1945 Larry MacPhail, Del Webb, and Dan Topping bought the team. The final purchase price was almost $3 million. The Yankees had a successful farm team program which continually supplied the major league team with new talent. Throughout the 1950s, 1960s, and 1970s the Yankees continued to win championship titles and increase their market value. By 1964 CBS owned 80 percent of the team, having purchased this share for approximately $11 million.

A colorful millionaire named George M. Steinbrenner III, who was a Cleveland shipbuilder by trade, headed a group of investors who purchased the Yankees from CBS in 1973 for $10 million. Steinbrenner had been an assistant college football coach at Purdue and Northwestern Universities and was part owner of the Chicago Bulls basketball team. He also owned the American Shipbuilding Company, located in Tampa, Florida. Steinbrenner's ownership marked the beginning of the most exciting and volatile era of Yankee baseball.

In the late 1970s, the Yankees won three consecutive pennants. During the 1980s Steinbrenner repeatedly hired and fired many managers. Billy Martin was the most famous of all these managersSteinbrenner fired him and hired him on a total of five separate occasions until Martin's death in 1989.

In the late 1990s George Steinbrenner became the Yankee's Chief Executive Officer, and Joseph P. Torre acted as the team's manager. Main major league competitors included the Baltimore Orioles, Boston Red Sox, Tampa Bay Devil Rays, and the Toronto Blue Jays. The Yankees won the World Series in 1996 and 1998. They achieved an American League record in 1998 for most wins (114) in a regular season.

 

Throughout its history, the Yankees retained its status of a private company. In 1997 the team achieved $144.7 million in sales. Player payroll exceeded $63 million per year. Because of the team's phenomenal success, the Yankees would have no trouble increasing the price of their tickets, concessions, media rights, and sponsorships. Such a sure turn of profits for the Yankees would give the team ample opportunity to attract and sign more star players in the future.

 

See also: Baseball

 

FURTHER READING

 

Blatt, Howard. This Championship Season: The Incredible Story of the 1998 New York Yankees. New York: Pocket Books, 1999.

Frommer, Harvey. The New York Yankee Encyclopedia. Indianapolis, IN: MacMillan General Reference, 1997.

Sullivan, George and John Powers, eds. The Yankees: An Illustrated History (Baseball in America). Philadelphia, PA: Temple University Press, 1997.

"Yankees.com," [cited April 22, 1999] available from the World Wide Web @ www.yankees.com/.

the game isn't over till its over.

lawrence (yogi) berra, former yankee catcher

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