On a day where no players met the minimum 75 percent required to be elected to the National Baseball Hall of Fame, a process that took place early in December has a notable member of Yankees history heading for his rightful place in Cooperstown. "The Boss before the Boss," if you will, Colonel Jacob Ruppert was elected to the Hall of Fame by the Veterans Committee on a ballot that was first released on November 1, 2012. Joining Ruppert in election are legendary umpire Hank O'Day and catcher Deacon White, one of the sport's first stars in the initial decades of professional baseball.
The president of the Jacob Ruppert Brewing Company and native of New York City, Ruppert purchased the New York Yankees from co-owners Frank J. Farrell and William S. Devery in 1915. In his 24 years of ownership, Ruppert oversaw a regime that captured seven World Series titles, 10 American League championships, and successfully constructed the first Yankee Stadium after years of "splitting the rent" with the New York Giants at the Polo Grounds. While these are remarkable accolades that are etched in Yankees immortality, it was a certain transaction for a player from the Boston Red Sox that make Yankees faithful most synonymous with the Colonel.
In 1919, Ruppert and the Yankees purchased the contract of an outfielder/pitcher named Babe Ruth, a move that to this day is looked at as the transcending moment in the Yankees/Red Sox rivalry. Not only would Ruth go on to win multiple championships and set the mark for all Yankees hitters to strive for, the Red Sox never received a player in return and would not win a World Series title from 1918 until 2004, a tumultuous 86 years affectionately known as the "Curse of the Bambino."
Ruppert passed away on January 13, 1939. Along with O'Day and White, he will be enshrined in Cooperstown on Sunday, July 28. To learn more about the Colonel, check out this link of Yankees historian/author Marty Appel discussing the importance of Ruppert to Yankees history.
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