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October 18, 1999

Julia Ruth Stevens


Q. Can you just comment, whenever you hear all these things about "the Curse of the Bambino," just what kind of reaction do you have when people are constantly talking about it?

JULIA RUTH STEVENS: Well, mostly I think it's a myth, but it is a coincidence definitely that there's been many, many, many years since the Red Sox managed to win a World Series. I think they've had a lot of bad luck, and I am certainly hoping from here on in they have nothing but good luck.

Q. Are you more of a Yankee follower or Red Sox follower?

JULIA RUTH STEVENS: I used to be a Yankee follower. After all, my father played for them for 15 seasons, and I went to a lot of Yankee games. But this particular year -- I started leaning towards them last year, and this particular year I really have been a true Red Sox fan. And when I watched that Cleveland series, I thought it was the most dramatic thing that I had ever seen. I was watching in my den, I just stood up and I started cheering, and I was so happy about it. My husband said, "Well, it's just a game." I said, "Yeah, just imagine what they did to Cleveland." I thought it was great. Absolutely wonderful. That's what I want to see them do to the Yankees tonight. I want the Red Sox to beat the Yankees tonight. That's what I'm here for. I came all the way from Arizona just to see the Red Sox beat the Yankees tonight.

Q. What's the reason for your sudden allegiance to the Red Sox?

JULIA RUTH STEVENS: Because I think that they deserve a break. (Laughter.) Well, they do. They've had a lot of tough breaks. And the umpires certainly haven't made it any easier for them, I must say. And I've begun to think about the underdog and when they came through the way that they did and won the wild card, I was watching all the time, every time there was a game on TV and they were playing, I was watching and cheering for them. When I cheer for somebody, I'm whole-heartedly into it. It's no half-way measure. And, believe me, I am 100 percent for the Red Sox.

Q. One of the New York papers took a clairvoyant to your father's grave to get his feeling on this series. She said the Babe is definitely routing for the Yankees to crush the Red Sox. Do you feel like you're betraying your father at all? (Laughter.)

JULIA RUTH STEVENS: No, not really. After all, he did play for the Red Sox and he was mighty proud of his pitching record that he had here, so I think in spite of what the clairvoyant might have said, I have a feeling he probably would be pulling for the Yankees. But I think maybe just a little tiny bit of him might say, "Well, if the Red Sox win, that's okay, too."

Q. Are you concerned at all after your statements here tonight that George Steinbrenner might rearrange Monument Park?

JULIA RUTH STEVENS: I don't think George would do that.

Q. Do you have a favorite memory -- both a baseball memory and off-the-field memory of your father?

JULIA RUTH STEVENS: Well, truthfully, I have more memories off the field, because I never -- I never thought about him quite as much as a baseball player. I do today, but not when I was growing up and living with him. My favorite moments were the ones that we spent together at other sporting events or at home. But I guess probably the best moment -- no, there's two. One was when I was so sick in the hospital and he was coaching the Brooklyn Dodgers. He was in Albany or Schenectady or someplace playing an exhibition game, and he heard -- my grandmother called, mother was with him and called and said I was in the hospital and that I was very, very ill. He came. He came right to the hospital and they told him that I needed a blood transfusion. They didn't have what they have today, plasma, because this was a very long time ago. And he gave me his blood, and I began to get better after that. That's one. The other one was when he walked me down the aisle when I got married.

Q. Do you have any recollection of how he felt after he was sold to the Yankees?

JULIA RUTH STEVENS: Not really. I didn't really know him then. He married my mother when I was 12 years old. Of course I knew him some before he and mother were married, but not enough to ever hear him say anything about having been sold to the Yankees. I think he probably was rather sad about it at first, but I think what really turned it around was the fact that they put him in the outfield so that he could play every day instead of just when he was pitching. He loved baseball so much he wanted to be out there every day.

PHYLLIS MERHIGE: Thank you very much for coming in.


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