The American League was established in 1901 with no member franchise based in New York. Back then, the team that would eventually become the New York Yankees was named the Orioles and they were located in Baltimore. The legendary John McGraw was Manager of that 1901 Orioles team and he skippered it to a 67-65 fifth place finish in the AL’s inaugural season. Like Joe Girardi with today’s Yankees, McGraw was having trouble putting together an effective starting rotation. When the Boston franchise released 38 year-old southpaw Frank Foreman, “Little Napoleon” signed him and put him in the Baltimore rotation.
Nicknamed “Monkey,” Foreman had actually pitched for the Orioles in Baltimore a dozen seasons earlier when the franchise was a member of the old American Association League. He threw an almost unbelievable 414 innings for the Birds during that 1889 season and finished the year with a 23-21 record. He would make his return to the city memorable by finishing 12-6 for McGraw, to lead the 1901 team in winning percentage. He was brought back by McGraw to pitch for the Orioles in ’02 but his 39-year-old left arm had nothing left and he was released after losing his first two starts.
Foreman would remain in the game as a big league scout and is credited with finding and signing the hall-of-fame pitcher, Eddie Plank. Foreman shares his May 1 birthday with another Yankee who pitched for the same franchise 101 seasons later.
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