Let’s party like it’s 1913

Today is a special day in the history of the franchise we write about, read about, argue about, etc. On this day, 100 years ago, the New York Highlanders played their first game as the New York Yankees. The team had been called the Yankees for awhile but it was finally made official in 1913.

Here’s a link to the 1913 Yankees’ roster. It’s interesting to see the names, ages and height/weight of each player. There were quite a few “short” guys on the team – some as small as 5’5″. And the names are great. Guys like Birdie Cree, Rollie Zeider, Doc Cook and Dutch Sterrett are on the roster.

1913 was also the year the Yankees moved into the Polo Grounds from Hilltop Park. The Yankees had allowed the New York Giants to play in their park for two years from 1911-1912 after the Polo Grounds was badly damaged in a fire. Once it was repaired and open for business again, the Giants returned the favor and the Yankees were able to leave Hilltop park which was falling apart. The teams would share the Polo Grounds until 1923.

The 1913 Yankees finished with a record of 57-94 which ended up placing them seventh in the American League. They scored 529 runs and allowed 668 runs.

Also, in 1913, the Yankees didn’t have Pinstripes on their uniforms:

Courtesy of Dressed to the Nines

They abandoned that look for two seasons, 1913 and 1914, but returned to them in 1915.

Hall of Famer Frank Chance was the Yankees’ manager and also played in 12 games that season. He was the “old man” of the team at 36-years-old (he turned 37 in September 1913) and was nearing the end of his career – a career spent almost entirely with the Chicago Cubs. He was a member of their last World Series winning team in 1908. Chance played the final game of his career in September 1914.

With all of this in mind, I thought it would also be fun to go back 100 years to see what the big news was, who was born, who died in 1913.

  • Two days before the Yankees played their first game, the seventeenth amendment was passed. That one dictates the direct election of Senators.
  • Fashion designer Oleg Cassini was born the day after the Yankees’ first game.
  • In May, the first Balkan War ends.
  • In June, the second Balkan War begins.
  • In July, a temperature of 134 degrees Fahrenheit was recorded in Death Valley, CA. It’s still the highest recorded temperature in the world.
  • In August, the second Balkan War ends.
  • Tyrone Power was born in May 1913.
  • Vince Lombardi was born in June 1913.
  • President Gerald Ford and actor Red Skelton were born in July 1913.
  • Paul “Bear” Bryant was born in September 1913.
  • Burt Lancaster, Vivian Leigh and Hedy Lamarr were all born in November 1913.

Before the season started, I had a draft in the dashboard of the blog in which I was going to write about the 2013 Yankees and jokingly wonder if they were going to be as bad as the 1913 Yankees. With the way everyone, fans and media, were going on and on about the 2013 team and how bad they could be, a 57-94 record seemed like it could be a possibility.

Nah…