Today in Tribe History: June 5, 2009

Former Cleveland Indians owner Richard “Dick” Jacobs passes away. He was eleven days short of his 84th birthday.

The reign of Jacobs ushered in a new era of Indians baseball. A real estate developer, Jacobs purchased the team in 1986 from the estate of Steve O’Neill. During his ownership, the team blossomed into one of the more dominant, recognizable, and feared teams of the 1990s, developing highly productive players (including Albert Belle, Charles Nagy, Manny Ramirez, and Jim Thome) from within while adding other quality young prospects (such as Sandy Alomar, Carlos Baerga, and Kenny Lofton) in trades. Two of the Indians’ five World Series trips in their long history occurred during his tenure, and his name will forever be associated with the gem of a ballpark at the corner of Carnegie and Ontario which once bore his name.

After graduating from Buchtel High School, he served with the U.S. Army during World War II, becoming a first lieutenant prior to his discharge. Upon his return, he helped develop some of northeast Ohio’s first strip malls before expanding to hotels, skyscrapers, Wendy’s restaurants, and The Galleria in downtown Cleveland. He and his brother bought the team for $35 million plus $10 million in debts. He sold the team to the Dolan family in 2000 for a then-record $323 million.

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