Jacob Ruppert, Jr.
– January 13
), sometimes referred to as Jake Ruppert
, was a National Guard
colonel; a U.S. Representative
from New York
; and brewery
owner, who went on to own the New York Yankees
. Parents Jacob Ruppert and Anna Gillig were of German
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
and Joe McCarthy
. By the time of his 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 inherited the brewing company from his father, Jacob Ruppert, Sr. (1842–1915) and in 1915, upon his father's death and just before Prohibition, he became the company's president. Before that, he had been elected to Congress in 1898. He served in Congress four sequential terms. Other career highlights include serving as president of the Astoria Silk Works.
Ruppert served in the National Guard as colonel only for a short period of time. Despite this, people commonly called him Colonel Ruppert instead of Congressman Ruppert, which may have been a more appropriate title for people to call him.
Ruppert and Tillinghast L’Hommedieu Huston acquired the Yankees in 1915, from the team's first owners, Frank Farrell and William S. Devery. They hired pitcher Carl Mays from the Boston Red Sox in 1918, and purchased Babe Ruth in 1919. In 1922 Ruppert bought out Huston, and he became the sole owner.
The Yankees dominated baseball throughout a good portion of the 1920s and 1930s, including the Murderers' Row team of 1927. During 1923, the year the Colonel unveiled Yankee Stadium, Huston sold his share of the Yankees but remained a director of the club as vice president and treasurer.
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.
He died on January 13, 1939 and was interred in Kensico Cemetery, Valhalla, New York.
- 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 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 introduced in 1912.
- 1867 Born in New York City, Ruppert attended the Columbia Grammar School
- 1887 Engaged in the brewing business with his father in 1887
- 1886 Served as a private in the Seventh Regiment, National Guard of New York until 1889
- 1890 (circa) He was appointed a colonel on the staff of Gov. David B. Hill, serving as aide-de-camp
- 1892 He served as senior aide on the staff of Roswell P. Flower till 1895
- Was elected as a Democrat to the 56th and to the three succeeding Congresses (March 4, 1899 – March 3, 1907). He was not a candidate for renomination in 1906.
- He resumed his activities in the brewing business and became president of his father's company in 1915.
- He served as president of the United States Brewers Association 1911–1914.
- Purchased and became president of the New York Yankees on December 31, 1914, and served in that capacity until his death in New York City, January 13, 1939.
- He was interred in Kensico Cemetery, Valhalla, New York.