Saturday, June 6, 2009
Dick Jacobs, Rest in Peace
83-year old Dick Jacobs passed away Friday, and Indians fans have lost a significant figure in Cleveland baseball history. He is the reason the field was called "Jacob's Field" before the whole Progressive thing. He's the reason the Indians stayed in Cleveland at all. He's the reason many Indians fans will always fondly refer to the current field as "The Jake."
I learned of his passing from Baseball Dad's post on his blog. I've been watching ESPN all morning, and never once had they mentioned it. That's unfortunate, and perhaps they will put together something for later today.
The simple fact is that the Tribe sucked and Jacobs became the reason the Indians remained in town. When things looked bad for the team and their staying power in Cleveland, Jacobs was courted to come in and save the team. A new attitude, a new team, a new field (eventually) and the Indians became a force to be reckoned with. In the early days of his ownership (late 80's - early 90's), he took the full brunt of the blame while building the minor league system up to par. Luckily for the Tribe, Jacobs was more than able to handle the cost himself (having been worth an estimated $500 million in 1986!). There are always growing pains when a new owner comes in, and this was no different. But, like most things in life: where there is pain, there is growth.
The Indians got the players they needed, the branding they needed, and managed to find themselves in multiple post-season (including a couple World Series) appearances - a long stretch from the Tribe of the 80's.
Even though the Indians are struggling this season, as far as I'm concerned, the principles, ideas, and heart that Jacobs put into effect to turn the Tribe around makes all the headache and heartache worth it.
I can only imagine Jacobs was met at the pearly gates by former Tribers tipping their hats to the man who brought back that Indians pride.