Sunday, August 15, 2010

Kansas City Here I Come: When Kansas City Was A Yankee Farm Team


I'm going to Kansas City
Kansas City here I come
I'm going to Kansas City
Kansas City here I come
They had a crazy way of trading there and I'm gonna get me one
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I'm gonna be standing on the corner
22nd street and Brooklyn
I'm gonna be standing on the corner
22nd street and Brooklyn
With my Kansas City tradee and a wad of Kansas City fake finns
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Well I might take a plane I might take a train
But if I have to walk I'm going just the same
I'm going to Kansas City
Kansas City here I come
hey had a crazy way of trading there and I'm gonna get me one
card images from check out my cards
from the baseball almanac
....However, by the mid-1950s the other teams appeared to be catching up to the Yankees. Some teams, most notably the Dodgers, moved quickly to sign the excellent African-American players made available by the ending of the color line in 1947. Some good young players decided to sign elsewhere, not wanting to get stuck in the large Yankee farm system. Other teams became more active on the trade front, and built their own minor-league systems, following the model created by Branch Rickey in St. Louis and, later, Brooklyn and Pittsburgh.
The Yankees won a record five World Series in a row ending in 1953, but they lost the pennant in 1954 to Cleveland. Their dominance of baseball was threatened.
Of course, the Yankees were the richest and most resourceful club in baseball, then as now, and they found a way to ensure a continuous supply of good players. They managed to turn one of their American League rivals, the Kansas City Athletics, into a virtual farm team.
How did this happen? Connie Mack's family sold the Philadelphia Athletics in 1954, and Yankee principal owner Dan Topping arranged for one of his business friends, Arnold Johnson, to buy the A's and move the team to Kansas City. It's still unclear how much influence the Yankee ownership held over the A's, but the two teams then embarked on a six-year series of trades. These trades, as we shall see, almost always favored the Yankees.
The Yankees, in fact, rarely traded players with any other team in this six-year period. From 1955 to 1960, the Yankees gained many outstanding players from Kansas City, and managed to give only marginal value in return. It must have worked, since the Yankees won four more pennants in a row beginning in 1955, while the new Kansas City team struggled to stay out of last place.
Were the A's simply bad traders, or did the Yankees and Athletics have some kind of secret agreement that gave the Yankees their choice of all of Kansas City's good players?

1 comment:

Jimmie Reese said...

I made a mistake on Harry Chiti. He was never a Yankee, but he was a Met