Baby RuthJulia Ruth Stevens is excited about Spring Training, the Diamondbacks and the upcoming baseball season. The sport is in her blood. After all, her father was the Bronx Bomber.
By James B. Goldsmith
Sun City At 93, Julia Ruth Stevens has been around life's bases a few times, and as the last direct descendant of baseball icon George Herman "Babe" Ruth Jr., she's no stranger to baseball analogies.
Stevens has lived in her Conway, New Hampshire, home for 45 years, but she and her late husband, Brenton, became inveterate Sun City snowbirds after their Florida getaway was wiped out by a hurricane in 1992. This soft-spoken lady loves baseball, the Diamondbacks and Arizona — and her reasons are simple.
"I'd say definitely the weather. I love the difference between the southern and northern parts, and the scenery and the mountains," she says. "It's just a beautiful place to live. I've always loved the West; as a girl, I read Western novels. I have a lovely home and backyard near a manmade lake."
Although Stevens hasn't traveled much throughout the state, she has been drawn like a magnet to Chase Field, a far cry from the old Yankee Stadium, where she threw out the first pitch on September 22, 2008, to open the last game played there. "I like [Chase Field]," she says. "That swimming pool near center field ... it's quite the place." And so are the walls of her East Coast living room, which are filled with candid photographs of Babe Ruth and his many friends. In addition, as the Great One's daughter and an avid baseball fan, Stevens has attended inductions at the National Baseball Hall of Fame and museum in Cooperstown, New York, since 1969.
Today, she keeps busy signing her own autograph at public functions and by playing bridge. She's excited for the start of the Diamondbacks' season and for Spring Training, and she's floored by the changes she's seen in the Valley of the Sun over the years.
"I'm amazed by how Sun City has changed," she says. "Flying into Phoenix over what used to be open fields and farmland and what has been turned into buildings and commercial development is amazing. I say to myself, 'What would the cowboys think?' "