The last surviving daughter of Babe Ruth has died.
Julia Ruth Stevens passed away on Saturday at her assisted living facility in Nevada. She was 102 years old. Her death was confirmed to the New York Times and Boston Globe by her son Tom.
Born to Claire Hodgson in 1916, Stevens was adopted by Ruth shortly after the slugger and Hodgson married on Opening Day in 1929. Stevens was a Boston Red Sox fan who occasionally threw out the first pitch at Yankee Stadium. A follower of the Great Bambino, who didn’t believe in curses.
When the Red Sox took on the Yankees in the 1999 playoffs, she was on hand at Fenway to cheer them on, regardless of whether her father put a spell on the home team.
“Mostly I think it’s a myth,” Stevens told reporters during that series. “But it is a coincidence definitely that there’s been many, many, many years since the Red Sox managed to win a World Series.”
Her love of the Red Sox didn’t stop her from cherishing her father’s legacy in The Bronx. At the final home game in old Yankee Stadium in 2008, Stevens was there to throw out the first pitch.
When Stevens became ill with strep throat as a child, it was Ruth who proved to be a match for a blood transfusion and quickly stepped in to help, according to her son Tom in the Las Vegas Review-Journal.
“She said as far as she was concerned, between being adopted and the transfusion, ‘I’m his daughter, period,’” Tom said.
Stories of Stevens accompanying Ruth on a trip to Japan with MLB All-Stars in 1934 and recordings of her talking about her childhood with The Babe are available on the Review-Journal’s post.
Stevens is survived by her son, two grandchildren and four great-grandchildren. Plans for her burial are set to take place close to the start of the MLB season.
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