March 12 in baseball history: New York joins the AL

‘I didn't know that'

YankeesNEW YORK, NEW YORK | MARCH 12, 1903 - The New York Yankees are synonymous with Major League Baseball, especially the American League. Did you know they were not one of the original American League teams (actually they were, but why let the facts stand in the way of a good story?). Let me explain:

This much is true; there was no American League team in New York City when the AL was established in 1901. New York officially got a team on this date in 1903 when the owners approved a franchise move. The franchise that would become the New York Yankees (The team was known as the New York Highlanders until 1913) existed in Baltimore as the Orioles, not the Orioles currently taking up residence by Chesapeake Bay. Those Orioles trace their origins back to Milwaukee as the Brewers. No not the current Brewers. The Brewers of old that became the St. Louis Browns, which then moved to Baltimore and became the current Orioles. Clear as pine tar?

This is a list of the charter American League franchises and what became of them:

Cleveland Blues - Name changed to Bronchos in 1902, Naps in 1903 and finally Indians, which they remain, in 1914.
Milwaukee Brewers - Franchise moved to St. Louis in 1902 and became the Browns, moved to Baltimore in 1954 and became the Orioles, which they remain to this day.
Baltimore Orioles - Moved to New York in 1903 and became the Highlanders. Name changed to Yankees in 1913, which they remain.
Chicago White Stockings - officially became the White Sox in 1903 and are still known by that name.
Boston Americans - became the Red Sox in 1906, which they remain.
Philadelphia Athletics - moved to Kansas City in 1956. Moved to Oakland in 1968. Name reduced to A's over time, which they remain.
Washington Senators - moved to Minneapolis/St. Paul in 1961 and became the Minnesota Twins, which they remain.
Detroit Tigers - remain in Detroit as the Tigers.

It appears the Detroit Tigers is the only charter AL franchise to neither move nor change its name in the slightest.

Contributing sources:
Baseball-Reference "Leagues"

This baseball history story about the New York Yankees is brought to you by TODAY in BASEBALL.