erik lundegaard

Wednesday September 20, 2023

The Boston ... Yankees?

Over on the Substack Section 327 that I do with friend and worldwide webslinger Tim H., I wondered about the MLB teams that have never gone through a name change—either by moving to a different city/state, changing the name of their city/state, or changing their nickname. Like neither Flordia team counts since both made tweaks: Florida Marlins became Miami Marlins (alliterative!) while the Tampa Devil Rays simply became the Rays (meh). I narrowed it down to 11 teams who, soup to nuts, have just been one thing:

  • Chicago White Sox
  • Detroit Tigers
  • Philadelphia Phillies
  • Pittsburgh Pirates
  • New York Mets
  • Kansas City Royals
  • San Diego Padres
  • Seattle Mariners
  • Toronto Blue Jays
  • Arizona Diamondbacks
  • Colorado Rockies

Tim wondered about some of those original 16 teams, though. Like I discounted the Red Sox because, per Baseball Reference, they'd once been called the Americans: “As I understand it,” Tim wrote, “there's some question whether the Red Sox were ever really the Boston Americans or if they were simply referred to in the papers as such as a shorthand for 'the Boston team of the American League'...” 

Thankfully I have that superhandy newspapers.com account which gives you a bit of a glimpse into our past. And I was able to determine that from 1901 to 1906 there were zero references to “Boston Red Sox” (quotes included) in American newspapers, but there were thousands of references to “Boston Americans.”

All that began to change at the tail end of 1907:

Undoubtedly. 

The best part was a few grafs down:

“Pres Taylor has suggested red stockings to be a part of the uniforms and thought the Boston 'Red Sox' might sound better to the baseball enthusiasts than the names now used by many, such as 'The Pilgrims,' 'The Yankees,' etc.”

The Boston Yankees???? Wow. It's tough to make two cities simultaneously nauseous but I think that sentence would do it. 

Posted at 04:52 PM on Wednesday September 20, 2023 in category Baseball  
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