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The "New York Highlanders" was the name borne by the Major League Baseball franchise now known as the New York Yankees from 1903-1912.

When Ban Johnson founded the upstart American League in 1901, he was in no hurry to go head to head with the National League's well-established Dodgers and Giants franchises, so initially there was no American League team in New York. Instead he sought to capitalize on markets that the National League was neglecting, and so a franchise was created in Baltimore.

But the Baltimore Orioles were horribly mismanaged, and midway through the 1902, a fed-up John McGraw jumped ship to the NL's Giants, taking all of the teams good players with him. A week later, only five players were left on the Orioles roster, and Johnson was forced to have the League take over management of the team and had to borrow players from other teams so that the Orioles could play out the season.

The next year, Johnson sold the Orioles for a song to New York impresarios Frank Farrell and Bill Devery who promptly moved the team into a hastily constructed and rather rickety wooden ballpark on 168th street, located on a hill overlooking the Bronx, from which the team was soon nicknamed the "Highlanders."

The reborn franchise was actually respectable in its first season in the Big Apple, posting its first winning record in 1903 by going 72-62. The next year was even better, as the club went down to the wire in a fierce pennant race with the Boston Pilgrims, largely thanks to the herculean heroics of pitcher Jack Chesbro, who appeared in 55 games, started 51, and compiled a record 41-12 to set the modern mark for wins in a season. But despite winning 92 games that year, the team lost the pennant on the last day of the season in a climactic duel with Boston when Chesbro wild-pitched in the losing run in the ninth inning.

The Highlanders the never really recovered from that fateful spitball that got away from Chesbro, and spend the next 15 years languishing in obscurity and decided mediocrity, including two years of more than 100 losses, at a time when teams only played about 150 games. In 1913, the team moved to the Polo Grounds in a new park-sharing arrangement with the Giants and soon got the new nickname of the "Yankees" but the mediocrity would continue without stint, until that fateful day in the winter of 1919 when the Yanks acquired a young hotshot pitcher by the name of Babe Ruth from Boston for cash and help securing a loan.

The rest, as they say, is history.

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