After making a considerable amount of progress the previous year by placing a close second in the American League with a record of 90-61, the Highlanders regressed in 1907, finishing fifth in the junior circuit with a mark of only 70-78.  Poor pitching proved to be the bane of the team all year, with New York pitchers allowing the opposition to score a total of 667 runs – the second most permitted by any staff in the league.  The team’s top two starters, Al Orth and Jack Chesbro, both had subpar seasons, posting a combined record of 24-31 between them.  Orth, at age 34, and Chesbro, at 33 years of age, both appeared to be nearing the ends of their respective careers.  Meanwhile, the team’s player/manager, Clark Griffith, threw his last pitch in a Highlander uniform, appearing in only four games and posting an unseemly 8.64 ERA.

Although the Highlanders scored 35 fewer runs (605) than they did in 1906, they still managed to finish second in the league in that category.  First baseman Hal Chase again paced the offense, leading the team in batting average for the second straight season with a mark of .287.  He also finished first with 68 runs batted in.  Outfielder Danny Hoffman batted just .253, but he stole 30 bases and led the team with 81 runs scored.  On the other hand, 35-year-old outfielder Willie Keeler had the worst season of his Hall of Fame career, hitting just .234, driving in only 17 runs, and stealing just seven bases.  Of further note, a young man named Branch Rickey spent his only year with the team.  Acquired from the St. Louis Browns prior to the start of the season, the 25-year-old appeared in 52 games for the Highlanders, splitting his time between first base, catcher, and the outfield.  Rickey posted a batting average of just .182 in his final year as an active player, before eventually embarking on an extremely successful career as a major-league executive.

By Bob_Cohen

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Al Orth, Branch Rickey, Clark Griffith, Danny Hoffman, Hal Chase, Jack Chesbro, New York Highlanders, New York Yankees, Willie Keeler


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