Tag Archives: Yankees


TODAY IN BASEBALL TAKES US BACK TO NEW YORK CITY MARCH 12, 1903. The New York Yankees are synonymous with Major League Baseball (MLB), especially the American League. Did you know they were not one of the original American League teams. I digress. Actually they were, but why let the facts stand in the way of a good story.

Let me explain:
This much is true; there was no American League team in New York City when the AL was established in 1901. New York officially got a team on this date in 1903 when the owners approved a franchise move.

The franchise that would become the New York Yankees existed in Baltimore as the Orioles, not the Orioles currently taking up residence by Chesapeake Bay. Those Orioles trace their origins back to Milwaukee as the Brewers, no not the current Brewers, the Brewers of old that became the St. Louis Browns, which then moved to Baltimore and became the current Orioles.

Clear as pine tar?
This list of the charter American League franchises of the inaugural year of 1901 and what became of them may help:

  • Cleveland Blues – name changed to Bronchos in 1902, Naps in 1903 and finally Indians in 1914.
  • Milwaukee Brewers – Franchise moved to St. Louis in 1902 and became the Browns, moved to Baltimore in 1954 and became the Orioles, which they remain to this day.
  • Baltimore Orioles – moved to New York in 1903 and became the Highlanders. Name changed to Yankees in 1913, which they remain to this day
  • Chicago White Stockings – officially became the White Sox in 1903
  • Boston Americans – became the Red Sox in 1906.
  • Philadelphia Athletics – moved to Kansas City in 1956. Moved to Oakland in 1968. Named reduced to A’s over time.
  • Washington Senators – moved to Minneapolis/St. Paul in 1961 and became the Minnesota Twins
  • Detroit Tigers – remain in Detroit as the Tigers

It appears the Detroit Tigers are the only charter franchise to neither move nor change its name in the slightest.

Contributing sources:
Baseball-Reference “Leagues”
New York Yankees
Boston Red Sox



YOU CAN’T MAKE THIS STUFF UP. TODAY IN BASEBALL TAKES US BACK TO FORT LAUDERDALE, FLORIDA ON MARCH 5, 1973New York Yankee pitchers Fritz Peterson and  Mike Kekich dropped a bombshell on spring training camp on this date. They announced to the world that they had swapped wives… and kids and a poodle and a terrier. “It wasn’t a wife swap,” they said, “It’s a life swap.” It was no joke.

America had lived through the turbulent, permissive 1960’s, but this was a shock on so many levels, not the least of which was that the swap was announced to the world.

Just like in baseball; you win some, you lose some and some get rained out. Peterson and Kekich had been close friends for years. They said there was nothing sordid about the “affair.” They and their wives began discussing the switch the previous summer and put it in effect in October, 1972.

Fritz Peterson was still living with Susanne Kekich and her two daughters, aged 4 and 2, at the time of the press conference, but Mike Kekich and Marilyn Peterson‘s relationship had already gone south. Their living arrangement with her two sons, aged 5 and 2, had been on-again/off-again. It also became apparent that the two left-handers had had a falling out over one affair working and the other not. Murray Chass wrote in the next day’s New York Times that, “…it was obvious they had bitter feelings toward each other.”

Fritz Peterson and the former Susanne Kekich eventually married and had four children of their own. The last that was heard they were still married and living outside Chicago. Peterson attended a Yankees charity event in Fort Lauderdale in January of 2013. The Mike Kekich and Marilyn Peterson affair was over before it started. Kekich eventually remarried and at last report was living in New Mexico.

Both achieved some success on the mound, but neither saw their careers flourish after the swap. Kekich finished his 12-year major league career with a 39-51 record. Peterson had career record of 133-131 over an 11-year career. He also did better on the domestic front.

There are rumblings that Matt Damon and Ben Affleck may make a movie about the “affair.” No joke.

Contributing sources:
The New York Times, March 6, 1973, pages 51-52, by Murray Chass
The New York Times, September 9, 2009, Fritz Peterson writes a book
Washington Times, March 7, 2005
The Palm Beach Post, January 26, 2013   
Jackson, MS Clarion Ledger
, by Rick Cleveland, August 29, 2000


TODAY IN BASEBALL HISTORY TAKES US BACK TO FORT LAUDERDALE, FLORIDA ON MARCH 1, 1969. An American icon of the 1950’s and 60’s retired on this date.  Mickey Mantle made the announcement at the spring training home of the New York Yankees, ending an 18-year career.

It’s remarkable it lasted that long considering “Mick” endured a variety of injuries, mostly to his legs. In announcing his decision, Mantle revealed the frustrations of a proud athlete, whose body would not perform, “I don’t hit the ball when I need to. I can’t steal when I need to, I can’t score from second base when I need to.” It’s cruel how 37 can look so old.

Mantle had superstar numbers, but they could have been better. He was the prototype 5-tool player when he came up to the Yankees at age 19. He could run, hit, hit for power, throw and catch.

Early in his career he was described as the fastest player from home to first, but that was before leg injuries turned him into a 4-tool star.

Career Milestones:

  • 3-time MVP
  • 16-time all-star
  • On 12 pennant winners
  • On 7 World Series championship teams
  • 536 home runs
  • .298 average
  • .421 on-base percentage
  • .557 slugging percentage

Being among the first superstar players to face the best Black ballplayers for an entire career, Mantle put a mark of authenticity on the American athlete. When the news came, “Mickey Mantle Retires,” it was the end of an era.

Contributing sources:
New York Times, Fort Lauderdale, Florida, March 2, 1969
More on Mantle


TODAY IN BASEBALL TAKES US BACK TO NEW YORK CITY IN 1971. Former New York and San Francisco Giant, St. Louis Cardinal and Philadelphia Phillie Bill White was named the radio play-by-play man for the New York Yankees on this date in 1971.  White became the first Black to be named the regular play-by-play man for a major league team.

The Associated Press described the development in the vernacular of the day, “the first Negro to hold such a job in the majors.” White held the play-by-play job for 18 years.

White was a pretty good player too. In a 13-year career, mostly as a first baseman, he was a 5-time all-star and a 7-time Gold Glove winner – as the best in the league at his position. Oh, and I almost forgot, Bill White was president of the National League from 1989 to 1994.

Contributing Source:
Associated Press (AP), February 11, 1971


TODAY’S STORY TAKES US BACK TO NEW YORK IN 1999. The New York Yankees traded prospect named Mike Lowell to the Florida Marlins on this date in 1999. They got three minor league pitchers in return; Mark Johnson, Eddie Yarnall and Todd Noel.

With Mike Lowell, and several other quality players, the Marlins won their second World Series in 2003 - beating the Yankees.

Lowell became a 4-time all-star with two World Series rings, one as Most Valuable Player (2007 for the Boston Red Sox).

Eddie Yarnall appeared in seven games for the Yankees and was out of baseball by 2001.

Mark Johnson was picked up by the Detroit Tigers after never making it out of the Yankees farm system. He appeared in handful of games for the Tigers in 2000, but he too was also out of baseball by 2001.

Todd Noel never made it to the major leagues and is no where to be found.

With Mike Lowell, and several other quality players, the Marlins won their second World Series in 2003 – beating the Yankees. Lowell was traded to the Boston Red Sox after the 2005 season and helped them win the World Series in ’07. They made the playoffs in ’08 winning the American League Division Series but losing to the Tampa Bay Rays in the AL Championship Series.

The Yankees did let Lowell go, but was it a bad trade? If the goal of any team is to get to the post-season, the Yankees succeeded, more often than Lowell’s teams. The Yankees went to the post season 9 of the next 10 years after the trade was made. The Florida Marlins went to the post-season once in those 10 years. Still, most Yankee fans probably believe letting Mike Lowell go in 1999 was not a good trade.

Contributing Sources:
Yankees post season
Marlins post season
Red Sox post season