MLB team name origins Vol 4.
So far we’ve covered all of the National League teams from 1876 up until today. The National League, which is called the senior circuit, existed 25 years before the American League which is why I covered it first and now that I’ve gotten all of them out of the way I am going to tackle the American League teams! I am looking forward to this and I hope you are too! If you haven’t read them all, or have missed one of them, here are the first three installments of the MLB team name origins:
The American League is called the Junior circuit because they officially . The National League originated with teams that still exist today in 1876 and the American League became an official part of the major leagues in 1901. The American League started out with eight teams, same as the National League. Following is a list of the eight charter American League teams:
- Baltimore Orioles
- Boston Americans
- Chicago White Stockings
- Cleveland Bluebirds
- Detroit Tigers
- Milwaukee Brewers
- Philadelphia Athletics
- Washington Senators
So I look at this list and I see a National League team and some interesting name changes coming! So without anymore fanfare, here we go!
The first team I am going to name here is the team that has been the cornerstone of the American League, the New York Yankees. I know, you are looking at that list and thinking wait, the Yankees aren’t even listed there! There isn’t even a New York team listed on there! Well, this is what got me to want to do this little set of articles in the first place… I was fascinated by what the New York Yankees were originally called:
New York Yankees– In 1901 when the American League started the plan was to have an American League team in New York but the National League’s New York Giants were able to block it for a while which is why they put the team in Baltimore and took the name the Orioles. The Baltimore Orioles existed there during the 1901-02 seasons and for the 1903 season were moved to and built a ballpark in Manhattan as the New York Highlanders. The team name came from the elevation of the location. They went by the Highlanders name from 1903-12 and then finally settled on the New York Yankees for the 1913 season. They have won the World Series 27 times since they became the Yankees. They won it in 1923, 1927-28, 1932, 1936-39, 1941, 1943, 1947, 1949-53, 1956, 1958, 1961-62, 1977-78, 1981, 1996, 1998-2000 and 2009. That is six different times that they won the World Series in at least back to back years!
Little known fact- Their first manager, when they were known as the Baltimore Orioles they were managed by John McGraw.
Boston Red Sox– Because they were in the American League and had no official nickname when the Boston franchise started out they began as the Americans. They did not adopt a nickname that they’d use officially until 1908 when they became the Red Sox. The Red Sox played in and won the very first World Series in 1903. Overall they have played in twelve World Series and won seven of them, they won in 1903, 1912, 1915-16, 1918, 2004 and 2007. The New York Giants were the National League champs in 1904 but had declined to play in the series that year because they thought the Highlanders would be playing and didn’t want to make them look credible so they declined to participate. If that series had been played it would give the Red Sox thirteen and a possible eighth championship.
Little known fact- The Red Sox won the pennant on the last day of the season in 1904, they wouldn’t beat the Yankees in a pennant deciding game for 100 years.
Chicago White Sox– The Chicago White Stockings were officially a major league team in 1901 and subsequently won the first American League pennant. Newspaper editors immediately started calling them the White Sox and by 1904 they had adopted the White Sox name. They have played in six World Series, winning three of them. They won the Series in 1906, 1917 and 2005.
Little known fact- Charles Comiskey, the original owner of the White Sox originally bought this team when it was in a minor league called the Western League. The team was originally located in Sioux City Iowa, Comiskey moved the team to Saint Paul, Minnesota. When the National League gave the American League permission to put a team in Chicago, Comiskey moved his team there.
Cleveland Indians– In 1900 the Cleveland Lake Shores were in the Western League which changed its name to the American League that year. In 1901 they changed their name to the Bluebirds when the American League declared itself a major league. The players didn’t think Bluebirds was really suited for baseball and in the meantime writers started to shorten the name to the Blues since they wore all blue uniforms. The players weren’t happy with the name Blues either though and in1902 they tried to change the name to the Broncos but that didn’t really catch on. In 1903 the name was changed to the Cleveland Naps. In 1912 the team’s name was changed to the Cleveland Molly McGuires. They were named after coal miners that were considered heroes for trying to establish a union. This name lasted only three years though. In 1915 they changed their name to the Indians, some say this was a a take off of the Boston Braves name who were at the time called the Miracle Braves. They have played in five World Series, winning twice. in 1920 and 1948.
Little known fact- In 1901, Charles Somers, the original co-owner of the Indians was also c0-0wner of the then Boston Red Sox.
Well, that’s all for now! Part five will be coming soon…