How I became a New York Yankees Fan
How I became a New York Yankees Fan
by Uncle Bear
Growing up in Minneapolis, Minnesota in 1947, my knowledge of the names of major league baseball teams was almost nonexistent. There were no teams located West of the Mississippi River. The closest clubs were in Chicago, the Cubs and White Sox and in St. Louis: the Browns and Cardinals. However, when a group of older boys asked us seven-year-olds who was our favorite major league baseball team using my second grade logic, I had the perfect answer.
The majors were made up of 16 teams (there are 30 now), but I was only aware of two: the Brooklyn Dodgers and the New York Yankees. The Dodgers were rejected for a mistaken notion, while the Yankees were chosen because of an equally erroneous concept.
How could anyone be a fan of a baseball team whose players were so afraid of everything they were called, Dodgers? It was only after I had grown old enough to shave that I discovered what an honorable name Dodgers is.
In 1890 the Brooklyn baseball players were nicknamed the Bridgegrooms from the number of players who had wed. From 1899 until 1910 the team was known as the Superbas. When 1911 rolled around they became the Trolley Dodgers. In 1913 the name was shortened to Dodgers. Starting in 1914 and for the next 18 years the Brooklyn nine were called the Robins. Finally, in 1932 the team returned to being called the Dodgers.
To be a good trolley dodger in the early 1900s you had to posse a keen mind in addition to excellent athletic skills. If you wished to cross a street, you had to be able to dodge horse drawn vehicles, cars and especially trolley cars. Trolleys ran on tracks that were laid in the street, (usually the center), and had the absolute right of way. For these reasons a person known as a good trolley dodger it meant his or her athleticism was highly revered.
My choosing the New York Yankees was also done because of a misunderstanding. With the end of World War II, I would often hear my father state, "The Yanks won the war." As a child I automatically equated Yank with "Yankee," therefore when asked who was my favorite major league baseball team, in my mind it seemed logical to claim the New York Yankees.
Later I discover the name for the Bronx Bombers at one time was the New York Highlanders (1903-1912), and prior to that (1901-1903) they had been named The Baltimore Orioles because the squad had been formed in Baltimore Maryland.
It wasn’t until 1961that I abandon my loyalties to the pin stripers of New York. That was the year the Washington Senators (1901-1960) moved their franchise to the Twin Cities of Minneapolis-St. Paul, Minnesota, and I became a diehard Minnesota Twins fan. In the following half century the Yankees have won the World Series nine (9) times, while 48 times I’ve been forced to smile and say, Wait till next year.
Looking back and knowing what I know now, would I make the same choices? I honestly do not know; However, I know I still dislike dodging things, and the yanks did win the war, didn’t they?
Notes: (1) The St. Louis Browns baseball club played as the Milwaukee Brewers in 1901, moved to St. Louis in 1902, and relocated in 1954 to become the present day Baltimore Orioles. (2) "Superbas" was the title of a 1890s entertainment spectacle brought forth by the Hanlon Family. When Ned Hanlon (no relation) managed the Brooklyn club in 1899, his team was called, "Hanlon's Superbas." Hanlon was let go in 1905. The Brooklyn team would continue to be called the Superbas until 1910. 3. Both pin stripers (referring to their uniforms) and Bronx Bombers (attributed to the teams hitting ability) are nicknames for the NY Yankees.By Uncle Bear
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