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Wednesday, February 06, 2008

Baltimore Sun: 96 years later, Katie Ruth’s grave to be marked

Soon the earth began to separate at the Christina Fack Gehrig gravesite, a fleshless hand emerged. Pointing, ever pointing.

Today, Paul Harris will correct a grave injustice. On Babe Ruth’s 113th birthday, it’s the slugger’s mother who’s receiving the gift. Harris and the Babe Ruth Birthplace and Museum are buying a headstone for Katie Ruth, who died in near-anonymity 96 years ago.

“It’s the saddest thing I can imagine. I had never seen or heard of a woman more neglected - and she was the mother to a world-famous man,” says Harris, 81, whose father played with and against the Babe on Baltimore’s fields and sandlots nearly a century ago.

...For Harris, these details were underscored by a 1995 visit to Most Holy Redeemer Cemetery, off Belair Road. When he realized that Babe Ruth’s mother spent all of these years in an unmarked grave, his pursuit suddenly had purpose. He would do what neither Katie Ruth’s husband nor famous son ever did.

“It got to the point where I got nothing to do and I thought ... ‘I’m going to give her a marker,’” says Harris, who eventually compiled his research in a self-published book, Babe Ruth: The Dark Side.

Repoz Posted: February 06, 2008 at 01:15 PM | 14 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
  Tags: history, obituaries, orioles, yankees

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   1. Slapinions Posted: February 06, 2008 at 02:46 PM (#2684688)
I don't remember reading much about Babe's mother, but I'm thinking if she died when he was 17 and he never bothered to put a marker on her grave, then she probably wasn't the Donna Reed type. His childhood was pretty rough by the time she died, wasn't it?
   2. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: February 06, 2008 at 02:53 PM (#2684692)
His childhood was pretty rough by the time she died, wasn't it?

I think his childhood was ALWAYS pretty rough. I seem to recall that he basically spent his early childhood hanging out at his Dad's bar. According to Wiki he was sent to reform school (St. Mary's) at age 7 and rarely saw his parents. Br. Matthias was his father figure and taught him baseball.

I'm not suprised Babe wanted nothing to do with his parents.
   3. Rally Posted: February 06, 2008 at 03:10 PM (#2684706)
Babe Ruth: The Dark Side.


I thought Barry Bonds was the Sith slugger?

Oh, right, there can be two: a master and an apprentice.

Never more, never less.
   4. Bring Me the Head of Alfredo Griffin (Vlad) Posted: February 06, 2008 at 03:28 PM (#2684720)
Even if he wasn't close to his mother, not buying her a gravestone is pretty cold. I wasn't all that fond of my maternal grandmother, but I still took care of that kind of stuff for her because that's what you do for family.
   5. McCoy Posted: February 06, 2008 at 03:32 PM (#2684724)
I always love when people take up causes for other people regardless of whether or not they actually want them to take up the cause or want what it is the activist thinks the "victim" wants.
   6. The Bones McCoy of THT Posted: February 06, 2008 at 05:20 PM (#2684825)
Baltimore Sun: 96 years later, Katie Ruth’s grave to be marked


BAD DOG!!!!

Best Regards

John
   7. Fred C. Dobbs Posted: February 06, 2008 at 05:49 PM (#2684856)
“It’s the saddest thing I can imagine. I had never seen or heard of a woman more neglected - and she was the mother to a world-famous man,”


Really, that's the saddest thing he can imagine? The mother of a famous person not having a headstone? I'm pretty sure she doesn't mind considering she's dead. How about the millions of people and animals being tortured right now?

And I'm sure buying a headstone has nothing at all to do with selling copies of his book.
   8. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: February 06, 2008 at 06:02 PM (#2684867)
Even if he wasn't close to his mother, not buying her a gravestone is pretty cold.

I don't think it "not close". I think it's "completely abandoned at age 7".
   9. phredbird Posted: February 06, 2008 at 06:39 PM (#2684905)
i seem to rememember from creamer's book that the parents essentially gave him to the reform school as an incorrigible, which i guess you could do in those days. but who knows, that could have meant he wouldn't stop hanging around 'bothering' them while they were trying to run a bar, which would be pretty crummy on their part. but there was also some evidence the young ruth was a handful.

there's a picture of him tending bar at the establishment after he became a ballplayer, standing near his father; he doesn't look especially comfortable. i wouldn't be surprised if he didn't really want to do it, but was just doing a favor for them or something.
   10. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: February 06, 2008 at 06:47 PM (#2684910)
George, Jr. did not have a happy childhood. His parents worked long hours in the tavern, leaving their son to take care of himself much of the time. Eventually, when Babe was seven years old, his father took him to St. Mary's Industrial School for Boys, a reformatory and orphanage. There he signed custody over to the Xaverian brothers, Catholic missionaries who ran the school.

During his 12 years at St. Mary's, young George rarely saw his family. They did not come to visit on holidays or on the one Sunday per month when family could visit the boys at the school. Little George was an unruly student, infamously classified as "incorrigible." Much of this was due the young man's inability to adapt to the regimented and structured environment or St. Mary's.


From baberuth.com

He was SEVEN F***** YEARS OLD when they put him in St.Mary's. The incorrigible was later.
   11. everybody's got somethin to hide cept for me and m Posted: February 07, 2008 at 01:59 AM (#2685358)
According to Ken Burns' Baseball DVD collection, Babe Ruth and a sister were the only two survivors of their parents' neglect, out of eight children born to Katie Ruth, and Babe always resented his parents for that.
   12. McCoy Posted: February 07, 2008 at 02:04 AM (#2685360)
Well, to be fair poor families tended to have quite a few deaths in their youngsters.
   13. Lassus Posted: February 07, 2008 at 04:19 AM (#2685419)
To be fair to who? Even poor families didn't have a 75% infant mortality rate.
   14. McCoy Posted: February 07, 2008 at 04:23 AM (#2685425)
I'm betting some did, hell I'm betting a lot did.

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