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09/21/08 9:30 PM ET

Babe's daughter tosses out first pitch

Ruth Stevens opens final game at house her father built

NEW YORK -- Julia Ruth Stevens set up close to home plate on Sunday at Yankee Stadium and tossed a dribbler toward home plate, falling well short of Jorge Posada's glove in a moving ceremonial first pitch.

While it was fitting for the daughter of the greatest player in franchise history, Babe Ruth, to open the final game in the house her father "built," Ruth Stevens knew the Babe would have been amused by the sight.

"He knew I didn't throw very well," Ruth Stevens said with a laugh. "But I taught him how to bowl."

Taking the field, out of her wheelchair for a brief moment, Ruth Stevens felt a tremble throughout her body. She accepted the invitation to throw out the first pitch only a day before, and when the moment arrived, it brought upon her three predominant responses.

"Thrilling, exciting and scared to death," Ruth said.

Ruth Stevens still has memories of her father slamming long home runs, starting with 1927 in Yankee Stadium. And even though it's terrible to think the ballpark has reached its final days, she understands that this moment had to come at some point.

"I am very sad that Yankee Stadium is not going to be in existence any longer," Ruth Stevens said. "I wish it could have remained as a New York landmark, but I guess, like all things, it has come to its final days and it has to go. But I'll always have the memories of my father hitting those home runs out into the bleachers. And I have a lot of his pictures, and I'll just remember those, and the glory days of the old Yankee Stadium. And I hope the new Yankee Stadium brings good luck to the Yankees."

Jon Blau is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.