To hear tell of it, the Orioles of the late 19th and very early 20th centuries were the Bad News Bears of professional baseball. This week in 1903, they were plucked from Baltimore and would later become…The New York Yankees! [DRAMATIC STING]
Baseball Almanac has the scoop on the 1896 version of the 2011 Detroit Lions:
Baltimore had a gritty taste of baseball in the late 19th century with a team of hard-nosed Orioles who hit with their fists as often as they did with bats. The team read like a “Who’s Who” of 19th century stars, including Wee Willie Keeler, Wilbert Robinson, Hughie Jennings, John McGraw and Ned Hanlon. These Orioles joined the new American League as a charter franchise in 1901.
But behind the scenes, American League President Ban Johnson believed for his fledgling league to succeed he needed a team in New York City. With the help of two businessmen he maneuvered the Orioles out of Baltimore and into New York, where they eventually became the Yankees. The city of Baltimore would go another half-century without a major league team.
Maybe the 2012 Orioles can look to the past and find some of the swagger that the 1896 O’s had. By the way, any baseball team that bans facial hair is insane. Look at those mustaches!
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