He and his brother David resurrected the moribund franchise that was too often the laughingstocks of MLB. RIP.
Richard E. Jacobs stepped up along with his brother in the 1980s to rescue Cleveland’s baseball franchise, which was struggling under weak financial backing and poor fan attendance at an outdated, mammoth stadium.
Under his leadership, the Cleveland Indians twice reached the World Series and sold out 455 consecutive games at a new ballpark.
Jacobs, who had been in ill health, died peacefully at the age of 83 on Friday, his real estate company confirmed. Other details were not immediately released.
Jacobs and his brother David bought the Indians from the Steve O’Neill estate in 1986 for $40 million. David Jacobs died in 1992.
Richard “Dick” Jacobs focused on restoring the struggling American League franchise’s profitability and making it competitive on the field.
The team’s new ballpark in downtown Cleveland became Jacobs Field when it opened in 1994, and the Indians made it to the World Series in 1995 and 1997, losing to the Atlanta Braves and Florida Marlins. Jacobs owned the club until 2001.
The park was renamed Progressive Field last year after Jacobs’ naming rights deal ended and Progressive Corp. signed a new agreement.
Jacobs was a low-key owner who preferred to let his baseball executives and manager be the face of the team. But Jacobs attended most of Cleveland’s home games while he owned the team, sitting in the loge behind home plate.
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