Before they were the Yankees

The team was called the Highlanders, named for the British army unit the Gordon Highlanders. The name also fit the location where they played: Hilltop Park on 168th and Broadway overlooking the Hudson River.

Unfortunately the American League Highlanders, who played their first game in 1903, didn’t win very often. And the more established New York Giants, playing for the National League nearby at the Polo Grounds, resented their existence. 

But the two teams eventually warmed up to each other, and by 1913, the Highlanders officially changed their name to the Yankees, a nickname fans and sportswriters had given the team. The Yankee era had begun.

It’s a shame Hilltop Park was abandoned because it sure offered a gorgeous view of the Hudson and the New Jersey Palisades, as seen in this photo. Since the 1920s the site has been occupied by Columbia-Presbyterian Medical Center.

Columbia-Presbyterian hasn’t forgotten about its baseball roots; a plaque in a garden on hospital grounds marks the approximate spot where home plate was located.

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3 Responses to “Before they were the Yankees”

  1. tim Says:

    looking for scorecards from the polo grounds (if not to own, simply to gaze upon in a ny based museum. any thoughts?


    • joe seranto Says:

      found a few dozen good condition news papers under the floor many with highlanders scores and other sports things.old soda,furniture,cigs and many others from 1912/13,up for sale,

  2. Where It Began, You Can Begin to Knowin' « Faith and Fear in Flushing Says:

    […] ourselves in Washington Heights across the street from New York Presbyterian Hospital, site of the first home of the New York Highlanders. It wasn’t on the agenda, but it wasn’t even sickening to […]

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