October 12, 1892|
Newark, New Jersey
|Died: July 20, 1929
Lake Hopatcong, New Jersey
|July 23, 1915, for the Newark Peppers|
|Last MLB appearance|
|October 3, 1915, for the Newark Peppers|
|Runs batted in||16|
Rupert Frank Mills (October 12, 1892 – July 20, 1929) was a professional baseball player. He played part of one season in Major League Baseball for the 1915 Newark Peppers of the now-defunct Federal League, primarily as a first baseman. He batted .201 in 41 games for the Peppers.
Mills was the only native-born Jerseyan on the Peppers' squad. Thanks to his law education, he signed an "ironclad" two-year contract with the Peppers. Though the team disbanded after the 1915 season, Mills "played" the non-existent 1916 "season." A clause in his 1915 contract guaranteed him a salary the following year as long as he continued to show up at the park, suited and ready to play for the team. Mills fulfilled his contractual obligations, coming to the empty park each day at 9 a.m., donning his uniform, and performing a rigorous physical workout to remain in playing condition. Partway through the summer, former team co-owner Patrick Powers bought out the balance of Mills' contract, after which Mills signed with a minor league club in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania that was affiliated with the Detroit Tigers. He batted .256 in 70 games.
In 1918 he enlisted in the U.S. military and during World War I served in France as lieutenant with the 11th field artillery division. Upon military discharge, he entered local politics and served as Undersheriff of Essex County, New Jersey.
On July 20, 1929, Mills was canoeing with former New Jersey state assemblyman Louis Freeman on Lake Hopatcong, when the boat capsized. Freeman could not swim, but Mills rescued him. While passing Freeman's unconscious body to people on shore, Mills suffered a heart attack and drowned. At the time of his death, he was campaigning as the Republican candidate for Sheriff of Essex County.
- the ESPN Baseball Encyclopedia. Sterling Publishing. 2007. p. 745. ISBN 1-4027-4771-3.
- The Society of American Baseball Research Biographical Research Committee Monthly Report, December 1994
- The Morristown Daily Record, July 22, 1929
- Notre Dame Baseball Greats: From Anson to Yaz, by Cappy Gagnon, Arcadia Publishing