Instead of focusing on who didn’t get into the Professional Baseball Hall of Fame, New York Yankees fans should be happy for two of the men who did get in, because one changed the Yankees forever and the other is a tough guy originally from the state of New York. Jacob Ruppert and Deacon White, each were voted in by the National Baseball Hall of Fame Veterans Committee in December and are headed to Cooperstown. The Veterans Committee was setup to take a second look at the accomplishments of those who were MLB‘s best and brightest stars from the early years of the game.
Ruppert, an early 20th century beer baron who also served in the U.S. House before buying a struggling Yankee team in 1915; and White, a two-time batting champion from New York, who often caught games with no glove, are headed to the Hall of Fame in 2013.
If not for Ruppert, there would be no “House that Ruth Built”, no “Bronx Bombers”, no curse on the Boston Red Sox – Yankee fans, this man needs some love. Without Ruppert who knows where the Yankees would be today; they absolutely would not have 27 World Series Championships.
Ruppert is the man who bought Babe Ruth from Boston in 1920 for $125,000; the move that changed baseball forever, and is the man that turned the Yankees into who they are today. He also nabbed lesser stars like pitcher Carl Mays and third baseman Joe Dugan. Ruppert turned a struggling franchise into baseball’s super team, reaching two World Series’ against the New York Giants in 1921 and 1922, then winning it all in 1923, defeating the Giants in the Yankees new home, Yankee Stadium. From 1915 until his death in 1939, Ruppert won 11 American League pennants and eight World Series titles as the owner of the Yankees. Ruppert moved the Yankees into the league’s most modern and glorious stadium of its time.
With all the attention on the “steroid era”, few realized an innovator like Ruppert was headed to Cooperstown. Ruppert was chosen for this honor in December, but he should still get the attention he so deserves, especially with no players on the 2013 ballot receiving enough votes to get into the Hall of Fame.
Ruppert will always be remembered for bringing the greatest player of all-time to New York, but he also changed the landscape of baseball forever. Where would MLB be today if Ruppert didn’t make the trade? Where or what would the Yankees be; would they have ever gotten out of the dumpster? Would George Steinbrenner have ever bought the team and took the Yankees even further into the record books? Because of Ruppert, fans of the Yankees and haters of the Evil Empire will never know, but they should at least know who to thank for the success, or who to blame for the Yankees being so good for so long.
Although he may not have changed the landscape of MLB, White‘s time in baseball is still a wonderful story. White learned to play baseball from a Union soldier returning home from the Civil War in 1865. White, later nicknamed “Deacon” for his virtuous life, calm demeanor and leadership on the field, was one of baseball’s first superstars. He began his playing career with the Forest City Baseball Club of Cleveland in 1868 while working for McNary, Claflin & Co. He immediately became their best player, spending most of his time behind the plate as the team’s catcher. He would occasionally pitch and once gained notoriety for shutting out the famed Eckfords of Brooklyn with his controversial wind-up motion, but was mostly known as the best catcher of the 1870s.
He caught more games than anyone else during the late 1800s, most of the time without a glove and was one of the game’s most feared hitters. He was a tall, slender ballplayer, had a long reach, soft hands and was referred to as catlike and an energetic man behind the plate. As a batter, White won batting titles in 1875 and 1877 and three RBI crowns.
All of White’s accomplishments are very good, but to think of a catcher who caught games without a glove is a man that deserves to be in Cooperstown.
White was a New Yorker and Ruppert changed New York forever; in a time when baseball needs to focus on positives, look no further than these two men, who not only deserve this honor but also to be remembered when so many in baseball are trying to forget.