They are not only the marquee franchise of Major League Baseball, they are the marquee franchise of American sports. The team goes by many names, “Bronx Bombers,” “Pinstripes,” “Bronx Zoo,” “Evil Empire,” “Damn Yankees,” or just plain “Yanks,” but regardless of what you call them the New York Yankees are synonymous with America, the city of New York and baseball.
The ballclub was founded in 1901 and was one of the eight original American League franchises. The team first began playing in Baltimore as the Orioles before moving to New York in 1903. Their first ten years in the Big Apple the ballclub was known as the Highlanders. The team finally settled on the name Yankees in 1913.
The franchise struggled in its first 19 years. That all changed though when the owner of the Boston Red Sox began trading away its players in return for cash. One of those players discarded by the Red Sox was George Herman Ruth, also known as Babe Ruth. The rest, as they say, is history.
Ruth joined the Yanks in 1920 and in doing so he forever changed the course of the franchise. For the next 90 years, the New York Yankees would win 39 American League Pennants and 26 World Series titles. The Yanks have won more titles than any other team in the four major North American sports leagues.
Besides Ruth, who revolutionized the game of baseball with his slugging prowess, a slew of not only Hall of Fame players, but baseball archetypes have also worn pinstripes. Legends like Lou Gehrig, Joe DiMaggio, Mickey Mantle, Yogi Berra, Phil Rizzuto, Whitey Ford, Casey Stengel, Reggie Jackson, Roger Maris, Billy Martin and Don Mattingly.
Even into the 21st century, the Yankees continued to field team comprised of once-in-a lifetime-players, such as third basemen Alex Rodriquez, shortstop Derek Jeter, closer Mariano Rivera, catcher Jorge Posada and starting pitcher CC Sabathia.
Besides players, the Yankees have also had legendary figures in their front office. In 1973, Cleveland-based ship builder George Steinbrenner bought the team for $8.7 million. Nicknamed “The Boss,” the outspoken Steinbrenner made headlines by hastily firing managers and paying top dollars for players. During his 35 years as owner (he turned the team over to his sons in 2008), Steinbrenner’s Yankees won 10 pennants and six World Series.
From 1923 to 2008, the team played in Yankee Stadium, known affectionately as “The House That Ruth Built.” In 2009, the team moved across the street to a new $1.5 billion stadium, also called Yankee Stadium.
The Yankees play in the American League’s East Division and their greatest rival is the Boston Red Sox. The rivalry, which spawned the “Curse of the Bambino” in 1920, is often considered the best in all of baseball.
Due to their success and their annual league-high payroll it seems every baseball fan either roots for or against the Yankees, there is no middle ground. But whether you love them or hate them, the New York Yankees are undeniably baseball’s most storied and fascinating franchise.