What is a Jasper?
The unique nickname of Manhattan College’s athletic teams, the Jaspers, comes from one of the College’s most memorable figures, Brother Jasper of Mary, F.S.C., who served at the College in the late 19th century.
A native of Ireland, Brother Jasper came to Manhattan College in 1861 as the head of resident students. During years at Manhattan, he founded the school's first band, orchestra, glee club, various literary clubs, and became the school's first athletic director.
One of the greatest achievements of Brother Jasper was that he brought the then little-known sport of baseball to Manhattan College and became the team’s first coach. Since Brother Jasper was also the Prefect of Discipline, he supervised the student fans at Manhattan College baseball games while also directing the team itself.
During one particularly warm and humid day when Manhattan College was playing a semi-pro baseball team called the Metropolitans, Brother Jasper noticed the Manhattan students were becoming restless and edgy as Manhattan came to bat in the seventh inning of a close game. To relieve the tension, Brother Jasper called time-out and told the students to stand up and stretch for a few minutes until the game resumed.
Since the College annually played the New York Giants in the late 1880s and into the 1890s at the old Polo Grounds, the Manhattan College practice of the "seventh inning stretch" spread into the major leagues, where it has now become a time-honored custom practiced by millions of fans.