The Colonel and Hug


The Colonel and Hug

The Partnership that Transformed the New York Yankees

Steve Steinberg and Lyle Spatz
Foreword by Marty Appel

582 pages
45 photographs, index


April 2020


$27.95 Add to Cart

May 2015


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eBook (EPUB)

May 2015


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eBook (PDF)

May 2015


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About the Book

From the team’s inception in 1903, the New York Yankees were a floundering group that played as second-class citizens to the New York Giants. The team was purchased in 1915 by Jacob Ruppert and his partner, Til Huston. Three years later, when Ruppert hired Miller Huggins as manager, the unlikely partnership of the two figures began, one that set into motion the Yankees’ run as the dominant baseball franchise of the 1920s and the rest of the twentieth century, capturing six American League pennants with Huggins at the helm and four more during Ruppert’s lifetime.

The Yankees’ success was driven by Ruppert’s executive style and enduring financial commitment, combined with Huggins’s philosophy of continual improvement and personnel development. The Colonel and Hug tells the story of how these two men transformed the Yankees in their rise to dominance. It also tells the larger story of America’s gradual move from neutrality to entry into World War I and the emergence and impact of Prohibition on American society. This story tells of the end of the Deadball Era and the rise of the Lively Ball Era, a gambling scandal, and the collapse of baseball’s governing structure—and the significant role the Yankees played in it all. While the hitting of Babe Ruth and Lou Gehrig won many games for New York, Ruppert and Huggins institutionalized winning for the Yankees.


Author Bio

Steve Steinberg is the coauthor (with Lyle Spatz) of 1921: The Yankees, the Giants, and the Battle for Baseball Supremacy in New York (Nebraska, 2010), winner of the 2011 Seymour Medal, and the author of Urban Shocker: Silent Hero of Baseball’s Golden Age (Nebraska, 2017), winner of the SABR Baseball Research Award. Lyle Spatz is the author of Dixie Walker: A Life in Baseball. Marty Appel is the former director of public relations for the New York Yankees and author of Pinstripe Empire: The New York Yankees from before the Babe to after the Boss.



"A top-notch sports biography."—Kirkus starred review

"The Colonel and Hug explores that remarkably fruitful relationship in a meticulous account brimming with quotes from the period."—Edward Achorn, Weekly Standard

"The Colonel and Hug explains admirably how the Yankees became the Yankees. Steinberg and Spatz draw heavily on their research to provide a readable, lively narrative."—Bob D'Angelo, Tampa Tribune

"A strong dual biography."—Brett L. Abrams, Sport in American History

"This book provides a valuable service in helping its readers better understand the genesis of the greatest dynasty in American sports history."—David Shiner, Inside Game

“Miller Huggins and Jacob Ruppert are two of baseball’s all-time great characters, and they finally get the treatment they deserve in this highly entertaining, meticulously researched book. You don’t have to be a Yankees fan to enjoy this wonderful story from baseball’s golden age.”—Jonathan Eig, New York Times best-selling author of Luckiest Man: The Life and Death of Lou Gehrig

“The foundation of the legendary New York Yankees that we know today was arguably built on the shoulders of three men: Ruth, Ruppert, and Huggins. While Babe Ruth’s exploits have been well documented over the years, we now finally have the definitive story of Yankees owner Colonel Jacob Ruppert and his diminutive giant of a manager, Miller Huggins. . . . A ‘must-read’ for any fan of the history of this great game.”—Vince Gennaro, president of the Society for Baseball Research and professor of sports business management at Columbia University

“Everyone thinks that it was Babe Ruth who turned the suffering Yankees of New York into the Crusaders of Baseball. The Babe helped, surely, but it was two invisible characters—the team’s owner, Jacob Ruppert, and the manager, Miller Huggins—who played major roles in the Yankees' everlasting turnaround. Our blessings to Steve Steinberg and Lyle Spatz for finally bringing Ruppert and Huggins to new generations of fans.”—Al Silverman, former editor of Sport Magazine and editor and publisher at Viking/Penguin

Table of Contents

List of Photographs
Foreword by Marty Appel
Prologue: A Collaboration Is Born

Part 1. The Early Years
1. Everything He Touched Won First Prize
2. The Colonel Makes a Name for Himself
3. Nothing at All but Ambition and Pluck and Brains
4. No Smarter Man in Baseball

Part 2. Ruppert Buys the Yankees
5. How about the Yankees?
6. The Rocky Road to Ownership
7. The New Owners Get to Work
8. Fritz Maisel Follies
9. Anti-German Hysteria and Two Disappointing Seasons

Part 3. Huggins Arrives
10. An Impatient City with an Unforgiving Press
11. The Nation in Upheaval
12. A Season of Transition
13. A Battle Leads to a War
14. A Home Is No Longer a Home

Part 4. Ruth and Barrow Arrive
15. Buying the Babe
16. The Risks of Ruth
17. Ruth Roars into the Twenties
18. Squabbling Owners and Scandal Lead to Landis Coronation
19. Huggins Stays

Part 5. The Yankees Rise to the Top
20. One of the Fiercest Pennant Battles Ever
21. The Struggles and Troubles of Huggins
22. Huggins Is My Manager
23. This Is the Happiest Day of My Life

Part 6. The Yankees and the Babe Stumble
24. It’s Tougher to Manage a Pennant Winner
25. New Homes for Single Men and Their Team
26. Huggins Waited One Year Too Long

Part 7. The Yankees Rise Again
27. Florida’s Boom to Bust and the Yankees’ Bust to Boom
28. Huggins Silences His Critics, for Good
29. Winning Pennants Is the Business of the Yankees
30. Knowing How to Buy and Knowing How to Build

Part 8. Huggins Exits
31. The Law of Averages Catches Up with the Yankees
32. No Man Ever Struggled Harder
33. Succeeding an Immortal

Part 9. The Thirties
34. McCarthy Is My Manager
35. Repeal, Real Estate, and the Third Reich
36. The DiMaggio Years
37. It Took Time for Success to Become a Tradition
38. The Mystery Lady

Epilogue: A Legacy of Champions

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