Babe Ruth's daughter remembers her father's legacy

CONWAY, N.H. -- A hundred years ago, a legend was born as 19-year-old George Herman "Babe" Ruth Jr. made his major-league baseball debut, pitching for the Boston Red Sox.

He is still the answer when a 10-year-old at the Baseball Hall of Fame is asked to name his idol. But it's a 97-year-old who feels his presence more than anyone.

Julia Ruth Stevens is Babe's adopted daughter.

She still calls him "Daddy." She says, "I always did. When I think about Daddy. I think about him just being my father, but he really belonged to the world."

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Julia Ruth Stevens has thrown many opening pitches through the years.
She still loves talking baseball, but she might have lost a little something off her fastball.

"I have thrown out quite a few first pitches. Of course, I don't get it very far anymore," she says laughing.

In the ways that really count, she's as sharp as ever.

She says she loved going to ballpark with her dad. "I loved goin' to the ballpark and watching Daddy play. Everybody almost held their breath when he came up to bat."

To the rest of the world, Babe Ruth was a hall-of-fame carouser who would down three hot dogs and two beers before a game. But she says all that stopped once he married her mother.

"I went off to camp and he made me a bedspread," she says, "to go on my, on my bed at, at the camp."

"I think it would have undercut his image a little bit if people knew that your father sewed you a bedspread to go off to camp with," we point out.

"I don't," she replies laughing.

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Babe Ruth and his daughter Julia Ruth Stevens.
A hundred years after he broke into the game and 66 years after his death, the details of his life are still devoured.

Babe Ruth has one the world's most famous nicknames. We asked her if her mother called him George around the house. "She called him Babe. Everyone did," she replies.

In the late innings of her life, she has a single wish when it comes to her father.

"I hope that his fame lives as long as baseball is played."

Because as a fan once said of her daddy once said, "Heroes get remembered. Legends never die."

  • Jim Axelrod

    Jim Axelrod is the anchor of the Saturday edition of the "CBS Evening News" and a national correspondent for CBS News, reporting for the "CBS Evening News with Scott Pelley" and other CBS News broadcasts.

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