The New York Yankees play their home opener this afternoon against the Tampa Bay Rays. In 1917 the Yankees opened their season at the Polo Grounds versus Babe Ruth and the Boston Red Sox. Leonard Wood threw out the first pitch. I wrote about that two years ago on Opening Day. Here today are two more images of that event. This was 11 April 1917, in between Wood’s lateral demotion from the Department of the East and his move to South Carolina. Dorey had worked for Wood from their time together in the Philippines through the Preparedness movement on Governors Island. President Wilson had relieved Wood of command there a few weeks before this photo was taken. Wood however was still in New York wrapping up in preparation for his transfer to the Department of the Southeast.

Even more intriguing is the photograph below.The men to the extreme right are Yankee owners Colonel Jacob Ruppert and Tillinghast L’Hommedieu Huston. Ruppert is the better known today and was the George Steinbrenner of his era: a German-American who bought the Yankees at a low point and turned them into a juggernaut. On April 13, two days after this photo was taken, Ruppert and other German-Americans met with New York City mayor John Purroy Mitchel at City Hall to announce their formation of a Committee of Men of Teuton Blood in support of the American war effort.

All but forgotten today is his co-owner, with whom he bought the sputtering Yankees in 1915. Tillinghast L’Hommedieu Huston had served in the Spanish-American War nearly two decades earlier. In February 1917 when things were heating up with Germany he proposed a Sportsmen’s Battalion of athletes to fight should war indeed come. When it finally did, Huston returned to military service and served in France as part of the 16th (Engineers) Regiment. He eventually became the colonel of that unit.

Yankee owners Jacob Ruppert and Tillinghast L’Hommedieu Huston (in suits, far right) went out of their way on Opening Day 1917 to publicly express their support for Major General Leonard Wood. One month later Huston himself would join what became the A.E.F.

(images/Library of Congress)