Kid Elberfeld - Highlander - Yankess player and manager


Yankees Trivialogy

Kid Elberfeld

Now we take the way-back machine to the early part of the 20th century, when a colorful character named Norman "Kid" Elberfeld played shortstop for the Highlanders (the name of the Yankees organization from 1903 to 1912).

Elberfeld, who was known as "The Tabasco Kid," because of his hot temper and his fiery style on the field, played the game rough and dirty in the style of the old Baltimore Orioles of the 1890s. The Kid was always fighting with opposing players and umpires, using abusive language, and sometimes getting physical with the arbiters. One time he threw a clod of mud into an umpire's open mouth. It's believed that he was thrown out of more games than any player of that time.

In Ty Cobb's rookie year Cobb slid head-first into second base and Elberfeld was waiting for him. The Tabasco Kid mashed his knee into the back of Cobb's neck, grinding his face into the dirt. Rough? Sure. But the rookie learned his lesson. Cobb never slid into a base head-first again. Instead he'd come into the base with spikes flying, as was the style back then.

Elberfeld's shins were frequently cut by sliding base runners, and he was known to go into the dugout and clean his wounds with whiskey.

Elberfeld, played for New York from 1903 to 1909, and he had a major league career that lasted 14 years.

He was regarded as one of the best shortstops in the league. The Kid covered a lot of ,,round at short, and he was a fair hitter who usually ranked with the league leaders in hit-by-pitches. In Oct, he's near the top 10 all time in HOP, with 165.

In 1907 he became the first American League player to steal home twice in the same game.

Elberfeld was the starting shortstop on the Highlanders team that almost won the pennant in 1904, as they were led by pitcher Jack Chesbro's 41 victories, one of those records that will never be broken. Boston (the Americans before they were the Red Sox) won the pennant by a game and a half. There was no World Series that year because John McGraw, the NL pennant-winning Giants manager, announced that he wouldn't play. This was because it looked like the Highlanders could win and because McGraw was still angry at AL president Ban Johnson for some old disputes over club ownership. Elberfeld's shortstop range narrowed M his later years when recurring injuries took their toll. The, when manager Clark Griffith resigned in 1908, Elberfeld took over and managed the team to a last-place finish.

While The Tabasco Kid never managed in the majors again, he did have a long career playing and managing in the minor leagues. Contrary to his image as a major league player, Elberfeld was known as a patient and thoughtful manager.

In his autobiography, Casey Stengel remembered that as a young player he and Elberfeld were teammates. and the old veteran was very supportive. The two became good friends. Stengel was grateful for how generous Elberfeld was with his time, his baseball knowledge, and big-brotherly advice. In his later years, Elberfeld ran an apple orchard on Signal Mountain, Tennessee, near Chattanooga, and raised a family of five girls and a boy. He lived there until his death at 65 in 1944.