NYC – Beer _ Baseball _ Colonel J. Ruppert _ Yankees
Walking down east 92nd street from 3rd Avenue to York Avenue, I came upon a sign for a beer that I had not heard of in years – Knickerbocker. It reminded me that this area of Yorkville once had several breweries, one of which was familiar to me – Ruppert’s Knickerbocker Brewery. Later, when I researched the area I found another brewery, one I had had never heard of called the Hell Gate Brewery. It was once the largest brewery in the United States and named for a section of the nearby East River.
When the breweries were operating, this area was known for its “streets that smelled like beer”. Today, the area+ is now comprised of a few apartment buildings, parking garages, a small park, a pet store, a Chase bank, and a grocery store.
I probably could do a complete story on the History of Yorkville but I will only focus upon the owner of the Ruppert Brewery – Colonel Jacob Ruppert.
Colonel “Jake” Ruppert while having a popular beer company also was known as the owner of a major league baseball team The New York Yankees.
So, let’s go back to walking down East 92nd Street. To my surprise, I found, in a parking garage, a series of large color photos of the Ruppert brewery and the Yankees.
Also, Colonel Ruppert himself in the twilight of his glory days, pictured with Babe Ruth.
Here are some of the pictures hanging with the garage/
It’s enough to give me hope that the story of the old New York beer and baseball is not totally dead but kept in small out of way places throughout our country.
Some added notes
- Often overlooked was that Lou Gehrig and Joe Dimaggio played during Ruppert’s ownership.
- Made by the Ruppert Brewery, Knickerbocker was the official beer of the New York Giants (Baseball not football), a bit ironic given that Jacob Ruppert, was the owner of the New York Yankees during the heyday of Ruth and Gehrig. He attempted to purchase theNew York Giants on numerous occasions.
- While he was the owner of the Yankees, he built Yankee Stadium. It would be the first ballpark to be referred to as a stadium.
- Ruppert was inducted into the National Baseball Hall of Fame in July 2013.
- In 1912 he was offered an opportunity to purchase the Chicago Cubs, but decided that Chicago was too far away from New York.
- 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.”
- A dubious story says that he 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. In actuality the Boston Red Sox first sported pinstripes for their road uniforms in 1907, five years before the Yankees.
The 92nd street area was also a significant but scattered Irish population that included James Cagney who grew up on East 96th Street.
Colonel Jacob Ruppert lived in New York City and had homes in Garrison (Eagles Nest) and Rhinebeck (Linwood) New York. He was a frequent customer at Foster’s Tavern in Rhinebeck NY.