Jump to content
North Side Baseball

New York baseball history


I'm not sure why this thought crossed my head, and I'm not sure if anyone can answer my question, but here goes. During the "golden age" of New York baseball, the time when the Giants, Dodgers, and Yankees all played there, which team was most popular? Which was least? I've recently been reading about the moves of the Giants and Dodgers and the idea of all three of those teams in the same market is really mind blowing.
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Recommended Posts

The Dodgers and Giants moved due to stadium issues more than "being run out town" by the Yankees' popularity. New York didn't want to finance two new stadiums. L.A. and S.F. were happy to step in, and Baseball liked the idea of opening up the west coast with two of its most successful teams.


Who rooted for what team depended on where you were in the city. Yankees were (are) in the Bronx. The Dodgers were in Brooklyn. The Giants were in Manhattan. It was much like the North Side/South Side divide in Chicago.


In the late 40's and 50's, New York was the absolute epicenter of baseball. From 1949 to 1958, at least one New York team was in every World Series, with the Yankees playing either the Dodgers or Giants six times. That streak would have continued to 1966, if the Giants and Dodgers hadn't moved.


After the other two teams moved, the Yankees had five years where they were all alone in New York during which time they arguably had their best stretch in team history (in the midst of going to the W.S. 9 times in 10 years, winning 4 - the Mantle, Maris, Berra, Ford years), and then after the Yankees dipped a bit the Mets had an absolutely horrible start as an expansion franchise. That pretty well cemented New York as mainly a Yankees town with the Mets having their enclave in Queens.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

To build further on what CChris said...... the Giants began operation in NY in 1883, the Dodgers in 1890. The Yankees (first known as the Highlanders) came to NY in 1903 after being the Baltimore Orioles for two years. They were the new upstarts in town, and they played like it. From 1903 through 1920, the Highlanders / Yankees went 1,316 and 1357 (.4923) with no WS appearances, 3 second place finishes, 7 winning seasons out of 18, and 2 years of losing more than 100 games. The class of the American League during that period.......


          1903 thru 1920                            World Series
team                        W       L     pct    PA     W     L

Chicago White Sox        1481    1212   0.550     3     2     1
Boston Red Sox           1464    1222   0.545     5     5     0
Cleveland Indians        1414    1286   0.524     1     1     0
Detroit Tigers           1408    1285   0.523     3     0     3
Philadelphia A's         1305    1333   0.495     5     3     2
New York Yankees         1316    1357   0.492     0     0     0
Washington Senators      1181    1507   0.439     0     0     0
St. Louis Browns         1146    1543   0.426     0     0     0


Notice that team from Boston going 5-0 in the World Series !! Meanwhile, back in the senior circuit, the Giants were the class of the league, tying the CUBS with 5 World Series appearances, and the Brooklyn Superbas / Robins / Dodgers were..... well, also rans.............


          1903 thru 1920                            World Series
team                        W       L     pct    PA     W     L

New York Giants          1638    1059   0.607     5     1     4
Chicago Cubs             1594    1109   0.590     5     2     3
Pittsburgh Pirates       1481    1219   0.549     2     1     1
Philadelphia Phillies    1319    1359   0.493     1     0     1
Cincinnati Reds          1320    1385   0.488     1     1     0
Brooklyn Dodgers         1202    1483   0.448     2     0     2
St. Louis Cardinals      1110    1580   0.413     0     0     0
Boston Braves            1107    1577   0.412     1     1     0


The American League won 11 out of 17 World Series, but with no thanx to the Yankees. Then, suddenly, with the arrival of George Herman Ruth in New York, the fortunes of the Yankees and the Red Sox would take off in opposite directions. Much has been written about this, and you've all heard most of the stories and legends.


Over the next 34 years, the Yankees won 62% of every game they played in, went to the WS 20 times and won 16 of those. It's much more interesting, in my opinion, to look at what happened in the National League during this period. The Giants continued their winning ways. The team down in St Louis, which had been a worse doormat than the Dodgers for over 50 years, finally started winning..... and the fans down there still won't shut up about it !!! The Dodgers also starting winning, but quickly earned a reputation as the team that chokes on the big one, making 5 WS appearances, and losing them all..........


          1921 thru 1954                            World Series
team                        W       L     pct    PA     W     L

St. Louis Cardinals      2978    2245   0.570     9     6     3
New York Giants          2839    2366   0.545     9     4     5
Brooklyn Dodgers         2779    2439   0.533     5     0     5
Chicago Cubs             2689    2539   0.514     5     0     5
Pittsburgh Pirates       2631    2578   0.505     2     1     1
Cincinnati Reds          2512    2723   0.480     2     1     1
Boston Braves            2364    2840   0.454     1     0     1
Philadelphia Phillies    2078    3126   0.399     1     0     1


Then, the franchise moving began. After the 1952 season the Boston Braves became the Milwaukee Braves. After the 1954 season, the hapless St. Louis Browns became the hapless Baltimore Orioles, and the Philadelphia A's moved to Kansas City. Then, in 1955, the Brooklyn Dodgers won their first ever World Series, and just 3 years later ther Dodgers, along with the Giants, headed for the coast. A couple years after that, the Washington Senators became the Minnesota Twins, completing a 7 year span during which more than one third of the franchises in MLB had moved.


Then the geography of baseball really changed in the 1960's with expansion and more moves. The American League expanded into Los Angeles, Washington DC, Seattle, and Kansas City while the National League expanded into New York, Houston, San Diego, and Montreal. The Kansas City A's moved to Oakland, and the Milwaukee Braves moved to Atlanta, and after just 1 season, the Seattle Pilots moved to Milwaukee. Then, the 1970's saw the new Washington Senators move to Texas, and more expansion into Seattle and Toronto. You really need a scorecard to keep track of all the entrants !!!


But, back to New York and the National League for a minute. It's interesting to me, how the fortunes of the two New York National League teams changed after their exodus to the left coast. Remember, the Giants had been the most dominant team in the Leauge for more than half a century, and the Dodgers after years of ineptitude, had finally started to field a good team and had won their first World Series in 1955. Since the move..............


          1959 thru 2008                            World Series
team                        W       L     pct    PA     W     L

Los Angeles Dodgers      4364    3750   0.538    17     5     4
St. Louis Cardinals      4251    3848   0.525    15     4     4
Cincinnati Reds          4228    3877   0.522     9     3     3
San Francisco Giants     4201    3914   0.518     8     0     3
Atlanta Braves           4191    3906   0.518    16     1     4
Arizona Diamondbacks      970     974   0.499     4     1     0
Houston Astros           3809    3838   0.498     9     0     1
Pittsburgh Pirates       4029    4066   0.498    10     3     0
Philadelphia Phillies    3970    4106   0.492    10     2     3
Chicago Cubs             3874    4220   0.479     6     0     0
New York Mets            3655    3979   0.479     7     2     2
Florida Marlins          1283    1403   0.478     2     2     0
Washington Nationals     3098    3409   0.476     1     0     0
Colorado Rockies         1281    1411   0.476     3     0     1
Milwaukee Brewers        3089    3420   0.475     3     0     1
San Diego Padres         3008    3508   0.462     5     0     2


.... the Dodgers have been, arguably, the most dominant team in the league, appearing in the playoffs 17 times and winning 5 more World Series. Meanwhile, the Giants, while still playing winning baseball, have made it to the World Series 3 times, and lost them all. Meanwhile, back in New York..........


          1962 thru 2009                            World Series
team                        W       L     pct    PA     W     L

New York Mets            3655    3979   0.479     7     2     2
New York Yankees         4245    3386   0.556    22     8     6


.... the Yankees, except for a couple of dry spells in the '70s and '90s, have kept rolling on [yawn], while the upstart Mets have had 26 losing seasons out of 48, lost 100 or more games 6 times, won 100 or more games 3 times, finished in first place 5 times, and in last place 11 times. On average, the Yankees win 12.5 more games per season than the Mets. It's not hard to see who's the fan favorite and why.


Did I mention that I really, really hate New York ???

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Parking was the main reason for the Brooklyn move. The success of the Boston move was O'Malley's leveraging point to get Ebbets field shut down in favor a better one on Flatbush, close to the main highways.


Brooklyn was taking it on the chin economically. The big newspaper shut down and the neigborhood near the park was not so hot. But the most powerful man in NY, Robt. Moses did no care about O'Malley's agenda.


He blocked what was seen as a very reasonable proposal by Walter. He apparantly knew about the upcoming expansion and for a reason known only to himself he wanted the Dodgers to move to Queens. When it was clear that the Stoneham was taking his team to SF Moses knew NY would be the 1st city to get a new team, and Queens would be the location. Hello Mets.


It was a bitter loss to the Brooklyn fans, loyal thru all the years of futility. The offer made by LA for all the land needed for a park was ONE dollor. O'Malley, a good business man STILL gave Moses one last chance to keep his team in NY, but the answer was "Bye bye"

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now

The North Side Baseball Caretaker Fund
The North Side Baseball Caretaker Fund

You all care about this site. The next step is caring for it. We’re asking you to caretake this site so it can remain the premier Cubs community on the internet. Included with caretaking is ad-free browsing of North Side Baseball.

  • Create New...