Thursday September 26, 2013
The Yankees Original Owners
I read this last night after the New York Yankees were mathematically eliminated from the playoffs for only the second time since 1995. It's from Robert Weintraub's “The House that Ruth Built,” and it's about the Yankees original owners:
The owners, Frank Farrell and William Devery, were former bartenders who used corrupt connections in Tammany Hall and the police department to punch about their weight and become owners of a baseball team. They were usually broke, thanks to tastes for liquor, (slow) horses, and prostitutes, and forever on the verge of indictment for one dubious scheme after another.
Devery, apparently, was a New York City police captain known for graft, mocked in editorial cartoons in Harper's Weekly. According to The New York Times, July 1903, Devery also popularized the colloquial phrase, “Touchin' on and appertainin' to ...” which, because it wasn't good English, he then denied he popularized.
These guys sold the team, still mostly known as the Highlanders, to Jacob Rupert and Tillinghast Huston in January 1915 for $460,000. Then Harry Frazee needed cash to continue his theatrical productions and the rest is history.