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On This Day in History | 1903

The 1903 Highlanders (Photo courtesy of Flickr)

On this day 110 years ago the New York Yankees, then known as the Highlanders, won the first game in franchise history. After dropping their inaugural game to the Senators the day before, the Highlanders topped Washington at American League Park in a 7-2 victory. Right-hander Harry Howell, with the help of a nasty spitball, allowed just two earned runs and garnered the victory while the Senators’ Watty Lee took the loss.

The Highlanders would finish their maiden season with an impressive 72-62 record, good enough for 4th place in the American League. They were just 2.5 games out of second place, occupied by the Philadelphia Athletics, but 17 games  behind the first-place Boston Americans.

That initial victory, 110 years ago, was the first of 9,872 victories, including Saturday’s 5-3 win over Toronto. The Yankees’ overall winning percentage of .568 is the best in the history of baseball, a full 30 points ahead of the New York/San Francisco Giants. To give you an idea of what that means, the Yankees could go 0-162 for the next 5 seasons and still have a winning percentage higher than the Giants’ current .538. Eighteen other franchises do not have a career winning percentage over .500. The Yankees are without question the most successful franchise in the history of professional sports, and it all started on 110 years ago on an afternoon in Washington.

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