A plaque remaining from the Big Apple Night Club at West 135th Street and Seventh Avenue in Harlem.

Above, a 1934 plaque from the Big Apple Night Club at West 135th Street and Seventh Avenue in Harlem. Discarded as trash in 2006.

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Entry from July 05, 2004
Yankees (American League baseball team)
The New York "Yankees" American League baseball team did not originally have that name. "Yankee" has meant an American, or, more specifically, someone from New England.

The 1902 Baltimore Orioles team was bought by Joseph Gordon, Bill Devery and Frank Farrell. From 1903 to 1911. The New New York team played in Hilltop Park in Manhattan, on a block block bounded by Broadway, 165th Street, Fort Washington Avenue, and 168th Street. The nickname "Highlanders" was used because they played on elevated ("high") land and because of Gordon's Scottish-Irish heritage (Gordon's Highlanders was a well-known line infantry regiment of the British Army).

According to many previously given name etymologies, the "Highlanders" name was too long to fit into headlines, so newspapers began calling the team the "Yankees." But which newspapers, and when? Jim Price of the New York Press and Mark Roth of the New York Globe were often credited, but without citations or dates.

Other nicknames besides "Highlanders " and "Yankees" included "Greater New Yorks," "Americans," "Hilltoppers," "Hillmen," "Porchclimbers." "Kilties" and "Invaders" (used by the Evening Journal in 1903, supposedly because the American League team "invaded" the turf of the New York Giants).

Long Branch, New Jersey, had a Yankee Athletic Club in 1903, and it had a baseball team called the "Yankees." It's not known if this had any effect on the New York Yankees nickname.

The Sun (New York, NY) printed this letter on May 7, 1903:

"If the new baseball team is to have a name that is in keeping with the 'Giants,' does it not seem reasonable that if they are the 'New York Americans' they might be called the 'Yankees' or 'Yanks'?
PATTERSON, N. J., May 4. JERSEY ROOTER."


The Sun newspaper, however, would not call the team the "Yankees" in 1903 or 1904.

The New York Evening Journal was owned by William Randolph Hearst (1863-1951). Baseball games were all played during the day, and the Evening Journal was the first to report the scores. In 1903, it had called the team the "Invaders." In March 1904, it had used "Highlanders."

The April 7, 1904 issue of the New York Evening Journal is the first "Yankees" citation, and it's important to read the entire page. The top of the page announces: "SPORTS Written by Experts and Edited for the EVENING JOURNAL BY HARRY BEECHER." Harry Beecher (1868-1948) was the grandson of the Brooklyn preacher Henry Ward Beecher and the grand-nephew of author Harriet Beecher Stowe (author of Uncle Tom's Cabin).

A left-hand column headline is "RUSSIAN LION DODGES YANKEE." Another headline is "HIGHLANDERS CANCEL GAMES." A photo caption is "CONROY, OF THE AMERICANS." The team is also called "GOTHAM NINES" and "the New York American League team elsewhere on the page, and then, in the far right column:

"YANKEES
WILL
START HOME
FROM SOUTH
TO-DAY
RICHMOND, Va., April 7.—The Highlanders and Montreals play here again this afternoon."


"Yankees" would be the primary nickname on the following days, and "YANKEES BEAT BOSTON" was a front page headline of the Evening Journal on April 14, 1904.


Wikipedia: Yankee
The term "Yankee" and its contracted form "Yank" have several interrelated meanings, all referring to people from the United States; its various senses depend on the context. Outside the United States, "Yank" is used informally to refer to any American, including Southerners. Within the Southern United States, "Yankee" is a derisive term which refers to all Northerners, or specifically to those from the region of New England. According to the Oxford English Dictionary, it is "a nickname for a native or inhabitant of New England, or, more widely, of the northern States generally"; during the American Civil War, it was "applied by the Confederates to the soldiers of the Federal army".

Wikipedia: New York Yankees
The New York Yankees are an American professional baseball team based in the New York City borough of the Bronx. The Yankees compete in Major League Baseball (MLB) as a member club of the American League (AL) East division. They are one of two major league clubs based in New York City, the other being the National League (NL)'s New York Mets. The Yankees franchise began play in the 1901 season as the Baltimore Orioles (no relation to the modern Baltimore Orioles). In 1903, Frank Farrell and Bill Devery purchased the franchise after it ceased operations and moved it to New York City, renaming the club the New York Highlanders. The Highlanders were officially renamed the Yankees in 1913.
(...)
1903–1912: Move to New York and the Highlanders years
The team's new ballpark, Hilltop Park (formally known as "American League Park"), was constructed in one of Upper Manhattan's highest points—between 165th and 168th Streets. The team was named the New York Highlanders. Fans believed the name was chosen because of the team's elevated location in Upper Manhattan, or as a nod to team president Joseph Gordon's Scottish-Irish heritage (the Gordon Highlanders were a well known Scottish military unit).

Initially, the team was commonly referred to as the New York Americans. The team was also referred to as the "Invaders" in the Evening Journal. New York Press Sports Editor Jim Price coined the unofficial nickname Yankees (or "Yanks") for the club as early as 1904, because it was easier to fit in headlines.

Chronicling America
7 May 1903, The Sun (New York, NY), pg. 8, col. 7:
Name for the American New Yorks.
TO THE EDITOR OF THE SUN -- Sir: If the new baseball team is to have a name that is in keeping with the "Giants," does it not seem reasonable that if they are the "New York Americans" they might be called the "Yankees" or "Yanks"?
PATTERSON, N. J., May 4. JERSEY ROOTER.

7 April 1904, New York (NY) Evening Journal, pg. ?, far right column:
YANKEES
WILL
START HOME
FROM SOUTH
TO-DAY.
RICHMOND, Va., April 7.—The Highlanders and Montreals play here again this afternoon.

14 April 1904, New York (NY) Evening Journal, pg. 1:
YANKEES BEAT BOSTON

4 April 2004, New York (NY) Post, "CBS Director Has Eye on Game" by Phil Mushnick, pg. 97:
Baseball historian Barry Popik has produced research indicating that 100 years ago this Wednesday, the Yankees likely first appeared in a newspaper as the "Yankees." While the team was known by several names - the Highlanders, Hilltoppers, Invaders, Porchclimbers and, on occasion, the Yankees - before officially becoming the Yankees in 1913, Popik has a reproduced copy of the April 7, 1904 New York Evening Journal that, in a headline, refers to New York's American League club as the "Yankees."

Google Books
The Dickson Baseball Dictionary (Third Edition)
By Paul Dickson
New York, NY: W. W. Norton & Company, Inc.
2009
Pg. 950:
Yankees (...) 1ST USE 1904. Barry Popik that "New York Yankees" made its appearance in the New York Evening Journal in a sports section edited by Harry Beecher. The Sporting News Record Book for 1937 noted the name "Yankees" as applied to the New York club was originated by sportswriters Mark Roth (New York Globe) and Sam Crane (New York Evening Journal). After the team held spring training in Richmond, Va., in 1904, a newspaper headline appeared declaring, "Yankees Will Head Home From South Today."
Posted by Barry Popik
New York CitySports/Games • Monday, July 05, 2004 • Permalink