His name would become synonymous with our nation's capital. A man who would come to symbolize baseball in Washington, D.C.
But before he would gain his greatest fame as owner of the Washington Senators, Clark Griffith would spend some time in New York with the Highlanders, later known as the Yankees.
Griffith had been player-manager with the White Sox-then known as the White Stockings, in 1901 and 1902.
American League President Ban Johnson convinced Griffith to leave Chicago and manage the Highlanders after the team moved up from Baltimore. Johnson knew a strong New York team would help the fledgling "Junior Circuit".
Not only did Griffith serve as player-manager (he was a pitcher), but the was also the team's first captain from 1903-1905. In 1904 and 1906, Griffith's leadership guided the Highlanders to second place finishes. But the team regressed in 1907, and some changes were made.
One of those changes was trading second baseman Jimmy Williams to the St. Louis Browns. This caused a rift between Griffith and team owners Frank Farrell and Bill Devery, and they fired Griffith as manager early in the 1908 season.
After managing the Senators through 1920, Griffith would take on the role as team owner, as he bought 19% of the team. Although Philadelphia businessman, William Richardson, owned 40%, Griffith became the face of the front office and ran the show until his death in 1955.
Would the Highlanders have tasted more success had Griffith stayed? Would baseball have survived in D.C. without him?
No one can answer those questions, but we know one thing. That Clark Griffith owed part of his success in the game of baseball to those years he spent in New York helping to shape what became the sport's preeminent franchise.