Joseph A. Ruddy, Sr. was a
two time Olympic Champion (1904, St. Louis) in water polo and swimming, and a
1986 NYAC Hall of Fame Inductee.
Ruddy was born September
28th, 1878 in New York City. From an early age, he was recognized as one of the
country’s best athletes, excelling in both swimming and water polo. He was once described by a sportswriter as
“the Babe Ruth, the Jack Dempsey and the Jim Thorpe,” of water polo.
At the 1904 Olympic Games
in St Louis, Ruddy was a member of the NYAC’s gold medal winning water polo
team that dominated the tournament. Additionally, he won another gold medal in
the 4x50 yards freestyle relay. However, it is worth noting that the legitimacy
of these medals is often debated, as the competition was between clubs rather
As the coach of the Club’s
water polo team in the 1930s, Ruddy led the NYAC to ten consecutive undefeated
Ruddy passed away November
11th, 1962. He will be remembered as one of the greatest players in
the NYAC’s illustrious water polo history.