|Jacob Ruppert Jr.|
Ruppert at the opening of Yankee Stadium in 1923
August 5, 1867|
New York City
|Died||January 13, 1939
New York City
|Occupation||Owner of New York Yankees, National Guard Officer, Representative of New York|
|Parents||Jacob Ruppert Sr.,
|Jacob Ruppert Jr.|
|1902 engraving of Ruppert during his time in Congress|
|Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from New York's 15th and 16th district
March 4, 1899 – March 3, 1907
|Preceded by||Philip B. Low (15th)
Cornelius A. Pugsley (16th)
|Succeeded by||William H. Douglas (15th)
Francis Burton Harrison (16th)
|Political party||Democratic Party|
Jacob (Jake) Ruppert Jr. (August 5, 1867 – January 13, 1939) was an American brewer, businessman, National Guard colonel and United States Congressman who served for four terms representing New York from 1899 to 1907. He also owned the New York Yankees of Major League Baseball from 1915 until his death in 1939.
Starting out in the family brewing business, Ruppert entered the United States National Guard in 1886 at the age of 19, eventually reaching the rank of colonel. While he was the owner of the Yankees, he purchased the contract of Babe Ruth and built Yankee Stadium, reversing the franchise's fortunes and establishing it as the premier club in the major leagues. Ruppert was inducted into the National Baseball Hall of Fame in July 2013.
Ruppert was born in New York City, the son of brewer Jacob Ruppert Sr. (1842–1915) and his wife, the former Anna Gillig (1842–1924). He was the second oldest of six children, along with Cornelia Ruppert-Franko (1865–1896), Anna Schalk (born 1870), Frank (born 1872), George (1875–1948) and Amanda Elizabeth "Lizzie" Ruppert-Silleck (1878–1952). His grandfather Franz (1811–1883), a brewer from Bavaria, had emigrated to the United States in 1836 or 1842. His mother was also of German ethnicity, and was herself the daughter of prominent brewer George Gillig.
Jacob Jr. attended the Columbia Grammar School. He was accepted into Columbia College, but instead began working in the brewing business with his father in 1887. He started as a barrel washer, working 12 hour days for $10 a week ($260 in current dollar terms), and eventually became vice president and general manager of the brewery.
Ruppert enlisted in the Seventh Regiment, National Guard of New York, serving in the rank of private from 1886 through 1889. In 1890, he was promoted to colonel and appointed to serve on the staff of David B. Hill, the Governor of New York, serving as aide-de-camp. He became a senior aide on the staff of Roswell P. Flower, Hill's successor as Governor, until 1895.
Ruppert was elected to the United States House of Representatives in 1898 as a member of the Democratic Party to the Fifty-sixth United States Congress, defeating incumbent Philip B. Low of the Republican Party in New York's 15th congressional district. He was supported in his election by Richard Croker, the political boss of Tammany Hall. Ruppert won reelection over Alderman Elias Goodman in 1900. Ruppert was renominated for Congress, this time running in New York's 16th congressional district, in 1902. Ruppert was not a candidate for reelection in 1906, and he left office in 1907.
Ruppert was also president of the Astoria Silk Works and the United States Brewers Association from 1911 through 1914. In January 1914, he bought J&M Haffen Brewing Company for $700,000 ($16,313,953 in current dollar terms), intending to close the brewery down and develop the property, which was located near The Hub in The Bronx. Upon his father's death in 1915, Ruppert inherited the Jacob Ruppert Brewing Company and became the company's president. Ruppert also owned real estate, including Pass-a-Grill Key in Florida.
Ruppert, interested in baseball since his childhood, began to pursue ownership of a Major League Baseball team, and attempted to purchase the New York Giants on numerous occasions. In 1912 he was offered an opportunity to purchase the Chicago Cubs, but decided that Chicago was too far away from New York for his tastes. However, Frank J. Farrell and William S. Devery, owners of the New York Yankees, were looking to sell their franchise. Ruppert and Tillinghast L'Hommedieu Huston, a former United States Army engineer and captain, purchased the Yankees from Farrell and Devery before the 1915 season for $480,000 ($11,076,316 in current dollar terms). The Yankees were, at that time, a perennial also-ran in the AL, posting winning records in only 4 of their 12 seasons – and only once since 1906 – since relocating to New York prior to the 1903 season.
After the 1917 season, Ban Johnson, president of the American League (AL), suggested that Ruppert hire St. Louis Cardinals manager Miller Huggins to take over the same position with the Yankees. Huston, who was in Europe at the time that Ruppert was considering the appointment, disliked Huggins and wanted to hire the manager of the National League's crosstown Brooklyn Robins, Wilbert Robinson, his drinking buddy. However, Ruppert interviewed Huggins on Johnson's recommendation, and agreed that Huggins would be an excellent choice. Ruppert offered the job to Huggins, who accepted and signed a two-year contract. The hiring of Huggins drove a wedge between the two co-owners that culminated in Huston selling his shares of the team to Ruppert in 1922.
Ruppert and Huston purchased pitcher Carl Mays from the Boston Red Sox in 1918, in direct opposition of an order issued by Johnson. The matter was taken to court, where Ruppert and Huston prevailed over Johnson. The case led to the dissolution of the National Commission, which governed baseball, and helped lead to the creation of the Commissioner of Baseball. Ruppert eventually organized opposition to Johnson among other AL owners.
The Yankees purchased star pitcher-outfielder Babe Ruth from the Red Sox in 1919, which made the Yankees a profitable franchise. The Yankees began to outdraw the Giants, with whom they shared the Polo Grounds. In 1921 the Yankees won the AL pennant for the first time, but lost to the Giants in the World Series. As a result of the Yankees' increased popularity, Charles Stoneham, owner of the Giants and the Polo Grounds, raised the rent for Ruppert and Huston for the 1922 season. The Yankee owners responded by purchasing land in The Bronx, across the Harlem River from the Polo Grounds, from the estate of William Waldorf Astor for $675,000 ($9,413,767 in current dollar terms), breaking ground on a new stadium in May 1922. That year, the Giants once again defeated the Yankees in the World Series. Yankee Stadium opened on April 18, 1923, the first ballpark with three tiers of seating for fans, and the first referred to as a "stadium". Ruppert and Huston financed the project with $2.5 million of their own money ($34,865,805 in current dollar terms).
In 1923, Ruppert bought out Huston for $1.5 million ($20,551,758 in current dollar terms), and he became the sole owner. Later that year, the Yankees finally beat the Giants to win their first World Series title. The Yankees went on to dominate baseball throughout most of the 1920s and 1930s, winning three more pennants from 1926 through 1928, including the Murderers' Row team which won the 1927 World Series and repeated as champions the following year. They returned to the top with the 1932 World Series title, and then began their strongest period yet with the Bronx Bombers teams of the late 1930s, becoming the first team to win three consecutive World Series titles in 1936, 1937 and 1938. In 1937, the Yankees became the first team to win six World Series titles, and in 1938 they surpassed the Philadelphia Athletics to become the first team to win ten AL championships, with only the Giants winning more pennants in the 20th century.
In 1929, Ruppert added numbers to the Yankees' uniforms, which became a feature of every team. He said, "Many fans do not attend games on a regular basis and cannot easily pick out the players they have come to see."
Ruppert's 24 years as a Yankee owner saw him build the team from near-moribund to a baseball powerhouse. His own strength as a baseball executive – including his willingness to wheel and deal – was aided by the business skills of general manager Ed Barrow and the forceful field managing of Miller Huggins, until his sudden death at age 50 late in the 1929 season, and Joe McCarthy, beginning in 1931. By the time of Ruppert's death, the team was well on its way to becoming the most successful in the history of Major League Baseball, and eventually in North American professional sports.
Ruppert and Ruth had public disagreements about Ruth's contracts. Nevertheless, they were personal friends; according to Ruth, Ruppert called him "Babe" only once, and that was the night before he died. Ruth was one of the last persons to see Ruppert alive.
Ruppert suffered from phlebitis in April 1938 and died on January 13, 1939. He was survived by his brother George and his sister Amanda, and was interred in the family mausoleum at Kensico Cemetery, Valhalla, New York.
Ruppert resided at Eagle's Rest, an estate in Garrison, New York. In 1894, he purchased South Brother Island, located in the East River, and was the last person to live on the island, leaving in 1909 when his house burned down.
Ruppert left behind an estate of $6,382,758 ($108,795,568 in current dollar terms), which was managed by his heirs. His brother George, who served as the Yankees' vice president, declined to take over the team presidency, and instead recommended that general manager Ed Barrow be given control of the club. Under Barrow's leadership, the Yankees won a fourth consecutive World Series in 1939, and captured three more AL titles and two World Series from 1941 to 1943 as the nation entered World War II. After mismanaging Ruppert's brewery, the heirs sold the Yankees to Dan Topping, Del Webb and Larry MacPhail in 1945. The brewery sold its flagship beer, Knickerbocker beer, to Rheingold, and went out of business in 1965.
On April 16, 1940, the Yankees dedicated a plaque in Ruppert's memory, to hang on the center field wall of Yankee Stadium, near the flagpole and the monument that had been dedicated to former manager Miller Huggins. The plaque called Ruppert "Gentleman, American, sportsman, through whose vision and courage this imposing edifice, destined to become the home of champions, was erected and dedicated to the American game of baseball." The plaque now rests in Monument Park at New Yankee Stadium.
An apocryphal story says that Ruppert is responsible for the Yankees' famous pinstriped uniforms; according to this account, Ruppert chose pinstripes in order to make the often-portly Ruth appear less obese, but the uniform was in fact introduced in 1912.
National Baseball Hall of Fame
On December 3, 2012, Ruppert was elected to the National Baseball Hall of Fame by the new Pre-Integration Era Committee, which considers candidates (managers, umpires, executives, and players) every three years that have been identified by the Baseball Writers Association of America (BBWAA) appointed Historical Overview Committee from the era prior to 1947. He was inducted into the Hall on July 28, 2013, with his induction speech given by his great-grandniece Anne Vernon, the great-granddaughter of Ruppert's brother George.
- National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum: "Hank O'Day, Jacob Ruppert, Deacon White Elected to National Baseball Hall of Fame by Pre-Integration Era Committee". December 3, 2012  Retrieved June 24, 2013
- Maeder, Jay (March 2, 1999). "Jacob Ruppert The Old Ball Game — Page 2 - New York Daily News". Articles.nydailynews.com. Retrieved July 17, 2012.
- "Jacob Ruppert". Find a Grave. Retrieved June 11, 2013.
- "Concerning The Ruppert Mansion & Ehret Brewery...". Forever Marxist. Retrieved June 11, 2013.
- "Gouring — Smith. - View Article". The New York Times. May 1, 1895. Retrieved July 17, 2012.
- "George Ehret Ruppert". Find a Grave. Retrieved June 12, 2013.
- "Amanda Elizabeth Ruppert Silleck". Find a Grave. Retrieved June 12, 2013.
- "Franz Ruppert". Find a Grave. Retrieved June 12, 2013.
-  "The team had a pronounced German-American flavor from its owner beer baron Jacob Ruppert to Lou Gehrig, Babe Ruth, Mark Koenig, Bob Meusel, George Pipgras, Dutch Ruether and half Germans Waite Hoyt and Earle Combs"
- Gannon, Pat (January 15, 1939). "Col. Ruppert's Typical 'Burgher'; Won Battle With Ban Johnson". The Milwaukee Journal. p. 12. Retrieved September 8, 2013.
- "From Tweed To Croker. Do the Changes in Men and Methods Show that Parties in Great Municipalities are Growing Better or Worse". The Deseret News. January 6, 1900. p. 24. Retrieved October 9, 2013.
- "Senator Hanna Pleased — Comments on China News and the Anti-Imperialists. Attempt to Establish Connection Between Philippine Troubles and the Boxers He Calls Idiocy". The New York Times. August 21, 1900. Retrieved July 17, 2012.
- "New York City — Bryan Carries It By About 28,000. Belmont Elected, Ruppert Wins: McClellan and Cummings Re-elected. Douglas Defeats Hill. Manhattan Gives Bryan Over 28,000 Plurality. Kings County for McKinley By Small Margin. Jacob Worth Defeated in Brooklyn. Van Cott-Creamer Contest New York City". The New York Times. p. 1. Retrieved July 17, 2012.
- "Democrats For Congress — Belmonts Turned Down for Sullivan and Hearst. Goldfogle, Sulzer, McClellan, Rider, Shober, and Ruppert Named in Other Districts — Several Conventions Adjourned". The New York Times. October 3, 1902. Retrieved July 17, 2012.
- "Col. Ruppert Buys Haffen Brewery: Sale Involving $700,000 Is One of the Larges Made in the Bronx. To Discontinue Business: Land on Which Brewery Stands Will Be Used as a Site for Modern Office Buildings". The New York Times. January 20, 1914. Retrieved October 9, 2013.
- Freeman, William C. (March 10, 1926). "Colonel Jacob Ruppert Authorizes Interview Which Expresses His Faith in the West Coast". The Evening Independent (St. Petersburg, Florida). p. 13. Retrieved October 9, 2013.
- Smelser, p. 194
- "Miller Huggins to Pilot Yankees: Signed for Two Years to Succeed Wild Bill Donovan. Tom Connery Will Scout for Yanks. Under Huggins Cardinals Finished Third Twice in National Three Prominent Figures in Latest Major League Baseball Change". Hartford Courant. October 26, 1917. p. 14. Retrieved April 17, 2012. (subscription required)
- Wheeler, Lonnie (June 3, 2003). "Huggins cornerstone to Yankees". The Cincinnati Post.
- Koppett, p. 85
- Borzi, Pat. "End of a baseball era: Yankee, Shea stadiums taking their last at-bats". MinnPost. Retrieved July 17, 2012.
- Livingstone, Seth (July 15, 2008). "For 85 years, history hit home in 'House That Ruth Built'". Usatoday.Com. Retrieved July 17, 2012.
- "New Yankee Stadium quieter, but an instant classic — Tom Verducci — SI.com". Sportsillustrated.cnn.com. Retrieved July 17, 2012.
- Sandomir, Richard (February 8, 2008). "You Can’t Buy the Naming Rights, but Call It the Billion-Dollar Ballpark". The New York Times. Retrieved December 7, 2012.
- "Yankees Timeline". Major League Baseball. Retrieved June 18, 2007. "May 21, 1922: Col. Ruppert buys out Col. Huston for $1.5 million."
- "Going by the numbers". Washington Times. January 19, 2009. Retrieved October 9, 2013.
- "Ruppert Sets Ruth's Salary: No Compromise; Says Babe Will Sign for $70,000". The Pittsburgh Press. United Press International. March 12, 1932. p. 9. Retrieved October 9, 2013.
- "Jacob Ruppert, Famous Leader of Yanks, Dies". St. Petersburg Times. Associated Press. January 14, 1939. p. 1. Retrieved October 9, 2013.
- Williams, Timothy (November 20, 2007). "City Claims Final Private Island in East River". New York Times. Retrieved May 26, 2008. "South Brother Island, seven acres of dense forest, bittersweet vines, flocks of wild birds and little else, is a speck in the East River — and a glimpse of what the rest of the city might have looked like thousands of years ago."
- Williams, Timothy (November 20, 2007). "City Claims Final Private Island in East River". The New York Times. Retrieved December 7, 2012.
- "Jacob Ruppert Left Estate OF $6,382,758 - Held 1,000 Shares, of $100,000 Par Value, in Brewery, Appraised at $4,864,504. $72,000 Worthless Stock; Personal Property Included Many Valuable Horses at the Hudson River Farm". The New York Times. Retrieved July 17, 2012.
- "Yankees Will Honor Col. Jacob Ruppert". The Spokesman-Review. Associated Press. April 9, 1940. p. 13. Retrieved October 28, 2011.
- Sandomir, Richard (September 21, 2010). "Everyone Agrees: Steinbrenner’s Plaque Is Big". The New York Times. Retrieved December 7, 2012.
- "Yankees Timeline". Major League Baseball. Retrieved June 18, 2007. "April 11, 1912: Pinstripes first appear on Highlanders' uniforms, creating a look that would become the most famous uniform design in sports."
- Spielvogel, Carl (November 5, 1958). "Jacob Ruppert Is Coming Back — Article — NYTimes.com". Select.nytimes.com. Retrieved July 17, 2012.
- "Ruppert Park : NYC Parks". Nycgovparks.org. Retrieved July 17, 2012.
- National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum: Eras: Pre-Integration, "Rules For Election For Managers, Umpires, Executives, And Players For Pre-Integration Era Candidates To The National Baseball Hall of Fame"  Retrieved June 24, 2013
- Bloom, Barry M. (December 3, 2012). "Ruppert among three elected to Hall of Fame". mlb.com. MLB Advanced Media, L.P. Retrieved December 7, 2012.
- "Anne Vernon Speech Transcript" (PDF). BaseballHall.org. Retrieved July 30, 2013.
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Jacob Ruppert.|
- Jacob Ruppert at the Biographical Directory of the United States Congress
- Baseball Hall of Fame - 2013 Veterans Committee candidate profile
- SABR biography
- Jacob Ruppert at Find a Grave
William S. Devery and Frank Farrell
|Owner of the New York Yankees
with Tillinghast L' Hommedieu Huston 1915-1922
sole proprietor 1922-1939
Jacob Ruppert Estate
|United States House of Representatives|
Philip B. Low
|Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from New York's 15th congressional district
William H. Douglas
Cornelius Amory Pugsley
|Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from New York's 16th congressional district
Francis Burton Harrison
This article incorporates public domain material from websites or documents of the Biographical Directory of the United States Congress.