Julia Ruth Stevens, who was adopted by Babe Ruth in 1930, has died
Julia Ruth Stevens, the last surviving daughter of baseball legend Babe Ruth, has died. She was 102.
Julia’s son Tom told the New York Times that his mother, who was adopted by Ruth in 1930, died on Saturday in an assisted living facility in Henderson, Nevada.
“She lived a full life and tried to do her very best … to perpetuate the legacy of the Babe in a positive way,” her son told CNN, describing his late mother as “Babe’s biggest fan.”
Stevens was born in 1916, to Claire Hodgson and her husband Frank, although the couple separated when Stevens was a baby, according to the Times. Hodgson then moved to New York, and met Ruth in 1923, three years after the slugger — who was married to his first wife Helen Woodford at the time, with whom he shared daughter Dorothy — was sold to the New York Yankees by the Boston Red Sox.
Following the 1919 sale of Ruth, nicknamed the Great Bambino, the so-called “Curse of the Bambino” plagued the Red Sox for decades, and the franchise didn’t win another World Series until 2004.
Recalling her early memories of Ruth, the Times reported that Stevens told the Arizona Republic in 2001, “I have this vague image of this huge man, who was really nice, coming to visit Mother, and he’d pick me up and set me on his lap and ask me little questions about how I was. If mother and I went out with him, people just crowded around.”
Ruth and Woodford separated in 1925, and the late baseball player went on to marry Hodgson in 1929, the Times reported. The following year, after Woodford died in a house fire in Boston, Ruth adopted Stevens and Hodgson adopted Dorothy, with the whole family living together in New York City, according to the outlet.
Ruth died in 1948 at the age of 53, two years after being diagnosed with esophageal cancer.
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Stevens was also on hand to commemorate her father on numerous historical occasions in the later years of her life.
In honor of the 50th anniversary of her father’s death, Stevens threw the first pitch at Fenway Park in August 1998, and she was also on hand on September 21, 2008, for the last game at the original Yankee Stadium, which was demolished at the end of that season.
Stevens also threw out the ceremonial first pitch in 1999, at the start of Game 5 of the American League Championship Series at Fenway Park, as the Red Sox lost to the Yankees, who would go on to win their 25th World Series that year, according to the outlet.
Although Stevens grew up in New York, watching her father play for the Yankees, she became a Red Sox fan later in life and remarked at the time, “I went to see the Red Sox beat the Yankees tonight,” according to the Times.
Stevens will be buried in New Hampshire, where she used to live, CNN reported. In addition to her son Tom, Stevens is survived by two grandchildren and four great-grandchildren.