Cellar-dwellers the previous year, the Highlanders made numerous changes prior to the start of the 1909 campaign. After hiring former Philadelphia Phillies and Detroit Tigers manager George Stallings to pilot his ball club, team owner Bill Devery decided to adopt a NY insignia previously used on a medal of honor presented to police officers shot in the line of duty. The interlocking NY, which eventually became the most recognizable logo in all of sports, appeared on the team’s uniform for the first time in 1909.
The Highlanders made a number of changes in player personnel as well. Rookies Jimmy Austin and Clyde Engle broke into the starting lineup at shortstop and right field, respectively. Engle, who took over the starting job from Charlie Hemphill, New York’s team leader in most offensive categories the previous year, ended up batting .278 and leading the club with 71 runs batted in. Jack Chesbro and Al Orth were jettisoned from the starting rotation, replaced by rookies Jack Warhop and Lew Brockett. Although Warhop and Brockett both pitched well, the team’s most effective starter was Joe Lake. After leading the American League with 22 losses the previous year, Lake finished 14-11, with a 1.88 ERA and 17 complete games.
The changes made by team management enabled the Highlanders to improve their record to 74-77, allowing them to earn in the process a fifth-place finish in the American League. After allowing the opposition to score some 250 more runs than they themselves tallied the previous year, the Highlanders scored two more runs than they allowed in 1909. The team’s improved performance boosted home attendance to a franchise-record 501,000 paying customers.By Bob_Cohen
- Al Orth, Bill Devery, Charlie Hemphill, Clyde Engle, George Stallings, Hal Chase, Jack Chesbro, Jack Warhop, Jimmy Austin, Joe Lake, Lew Brockett, New York Highlanders, New York Yankees