Before They Were the Bombers

The New York Yankees’ Early Years, 1903–1915


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SKU: 9780786422302 Categories: ,

About the Book

Many histories of the New York Yankees only skim the early years in their rush to pick up with the 1919 season when Babe Ruth joined the team and go on to celebrate the careers of Lou Gehrig, Joe DiMaggio, Mickey Mantle, and Whitey Ford, and the team’s World Series titles. But what about the Yankees before these big names?
The early Yankees, who spent their first 12 years known as the Highlanders and were occasionally known as the Americans and the Invaders, get the attention they deserve in this work. It tells the story up until the sale of the Yankees in December 1914, beginning with 1903 when the team was formed from the remnants of the Baltimore Orioles. Led by future Hall of Famers “Wee” Willie Keeler, Jack Chesbro, and Clark Griffith, they were the most expensive major league team ever assembled—but they are remembered primarily for their terrible failures, which included losing a club-low 103 games in 1908 and finishing 55 games out of first place in 1912. Yes, the Yankees.

About the Author(s)

Jim Reisler has written books covering such topics as baseball, the deaf, and sportswriters. He lives in Irvington, New York.

Bibliographic Details

Jim Reisler
Format: softcover (7 x 10)
Pages: 288
Bibliographic Info: photos, appendix, notes, bibliography, index
Copyright Date: 2005 [2002]
pISBN: 978-0-7864-2230-2
eISBN: 978-1-4766-0554-8
Imprint: McFarland

Table of Contents

Acknowledgments     ix

Introduction     1

1 Enter the Prince     5

2 A Normal Start at Least     10

3 Origins     15

4 Hell of a Town     24

5 New Yawk, New Yawk     30

6 Play Ball!     38

7 Into the Swing     51

8 Of Wise Guys and Other Matters     56

9 The Good, the Bad and the (Mostly) Ugly     70

10 Happy Jack and the Epic Race of 1904     77

11 They Might Be Giants     91

12 Prince Hal     100

13 A Closer Look     122

14 Going Nowhere     130

15 Hoodoo Reigns     134

16 Rock Bottom     138

17 Evolution and Other Weighty Things     140

18 Nowhere to Go But Up     149

19 Not Bad, Not So Good Either     166

20 East Side, West Side, All Around the Town     184

21 A Bunion and an Onion     207

22 Money Talks     235

23 Endings     240

24 Postscript     252

Appendix     255

Primary Source Notes     273

Bibliography     275

Index     277

Book Reviews & Awards

Winner, Larry Ritter Book Award—SABR
“a compelling portrait…tantalizing…deftly outlines the careers of these characters…writing is spirited and affable…holds many pleasures”—SABR Deadball Committee Newsletter; “a lively account of the team’s fledgling and losing years…weaves in stories of notable players…a definitive story”—Library Journal; “densely packed tome”—Yankees Magazine.