Baseball Purists Debate Shutout of Yankees Baltimore Origins

It’s not on the level of spiriting away an NFL franchise in the middle of the night to Indianapolis. Still, if we called Baltimore home, we’d be irked.

BaseballReferenceLogoPer Jonathan Zalman’s WSJ write-up, some baseball purists are questioning the decision by website Baseball-Reference to truncate the New York Yankees from some formative, 1901-02 Baltimore history. From Zalman’s piece:

“It’s certainly not a decision I [made] unilaterally,” said Baseball-Reference founder Sean Forman, who added that he relied on the consensus opinions of a number of experts of that time period in baseball, including Major League Baseball’s official historian John Thorn, author of Total Baseball, the last official MLB encyclopedia, and Gary Gillette, co-editor of ESPN Baseball Encyclopedia. The pronouncement is harmonious too with the opinion of the Elias Sports Bureau, the official statistician for MLB, as well as that of the Yankees.

“We consider our franchise’s first season to be 1903,” wrote Michael Margolis, the Yankees’ assistant director of baseball information, via email. “We date our origin from there.”

Pinstripe faithful should definitely take the time to peruse the debate of this decision by readers of Baseball-Reference’s July 21 blog post. The comments thread includes the following observation from South Marylander

As an Orioles fan, I’d love nothing more than to disavow all ties to the Yankees franchise, but it would be a disservice to history. The movement of franchises in the early years of professional baseball is integral to how the game developed. It should be celebrated, not forgotten or intentionally removed.

[H/T: Marty Chase]