Babe Ruth's body to lie in state in stadium that is his memorial

By United Press  |  August 17 1948
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NEW YORK (UP) -- Babe Ruth goes home today to Yankee Stadium.

There thousands of his fans will get a chance to walk past the open casket of the famous home run hitter who died last night of cancer and pay a last silent farewell.

Those in charge of his funeral arrangements expected the fans -- young and old -- to take most of tonight and tomorrow to pass the casket. It was announced that Ruth's body would lie in state from 5 p.m. until 10 p.m. EDT, today and from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m.

Tomorrow in the rotunda of the stadium -- "The House that Ruth Built."

Ruth's body was taken from Memorial Hospital for Cancer and Allied Diseases to the universal funeral chapel in midtown Manhattan. It will be returned to the funeral home tonight after the last fan has passed and returned again to the stadium tomorrow.

Members of his family said that a requiem mass would be said for Ruth at 11 a.m. Thursday at St. Patrick's Cathedral.

Burial will follow at the Gates of Heaven Cemetery just outside the village of Vanhalla in suburban Westchester County.

The funeral services were announced after an hour-long conference of J. Paul Carey, life-long friends and treasurer of the Babe Ruth Foundation for Underprivileged Children; Melvin Lowenstein, Ruth's attorney, and Mrs. Richard Flanders of North Conway, N.H., one of Ruth's adopted daughters.

The family asked that flowers be omitted.

"Babe had frequently expressed the feeling," Carey explained, "that making some 'kid' happy was the best method of honoring a friend. If he were here today, that would be his wish; and therefore, the family respectfully requests that flowers be omitted."

The 53-year-old home run king, who became Mr. Baseball in the 1920s when every crack of his mighty bat brought cheering fans to their feet, died quietly in his sleep at 8:01 p.m.

Ruth's body was taken to the Universal Funeral Chapel (Lexington Ave. and 52nd St.). His family requested that the chapel be opened to the public after 3 p.m. today so his admirers would have one more opportunity to pay homage to the Sultan of Swat. Police prepared to handle an expected crowd of thousands.

A special mass will be said for Ruth at St. Patrick's Cathedral at 11 a.m. Thursday. Complete funeral arrangements were to be announced later.

The end came for Ruth while a crowd of several hundred youngsters waited outside the hospital. They came when the hospital announced that the man who held the record of 60 homers in a single season was "sinking rapidly."

A priest went outside and told them the Babe was dead.

One 12-year-old blond boy John Kriban, sat down on the hospital steps and cried.

The big guy, who had an unbeaten record of 714 home runs in 22 years with the major leagues, had been ill for two years. He entered Memorial Hospital June 24 -- just 11 days after he made his last appearance at Yankee Stadium where 62,000 fans celebrated "Babe Ruth Day."

Only his doctors were at Ruth's bedside when he died. A few minutes before the end, his wife, two adopted daughters, Mrs. Daniel Sullivan and Mrs. Richard Flanders, his sister, Mrs. Wilbur Moberly, his lawyer and a few close friends left the room and waiting in the hall outside.

For months, doctors had despaired of saving Ruth's life. Although he was never told that he had cancer, he was aware that he could not long survive the illness.

Ruth was permitted to leave the hospital for a few special occasions up until a week ago, when his condition became critical. He appeared at the opening of a motion picture of his life, but fans were shocked at his emaciated appearance. He spoke briefly over a radio program and his voice was so weak he could hardly be understood.

Last week, the hospital bulletins on Ruth's condition reported daily that he was "still critical.:" Then over the weekend he seemed to rally, his temperature dropped and he was permitted to rise from his bed and sit in a chair for 20 minutes.

The first bulletin yesterday at 10:20 a.m. said that Ruth spent a comfortable night, that he was "holding his own." But early in the afternoon his condition became worse. At 2:20 p.m. pulmonary complications were reported. A special bulletin at 5 o'clock said his condition was considered "more critical." At 6:25 p.m. hospital authorities said he was "sinking rapidly."

The last bulletin issued shortly after eight o'clock said:

"Babe Ruth died at 8:01 p.m. tonight. Death was due to cancer."

Ruth left organized baseball in 1935 after a disastrous 28 games with the Boston Braves. But his name never lots its magic appeal to the nation's children. The children of the 1920s put him on a pedestal when he became the Sultan of Swat, and the children of succeeding decades never let him step down from it.

A tribute to his popularity with children was recalled by ex-President Herbert Hoover last night. Mr. Hoover said that during a visit to Los Angeles, while he was President of the United States, a small boy asked him for three autographs. Asked why he wanted three, the boy explained he wanted to keep one. The other two he would trade for one of Babe Ruth's.

"He was a great sportsman in the very best sense of the term," Mr. Hoover said.

Ruth spent the major portion of his career with the New York Yankees where he was paid the all-time high salary of $80,000 a year. His greatest monument in the baseball world is Yankee Stadium, "the House that Ruth built."

He left the Yankees in 1934 and except for a brief period with the Braves the following year. It was his last season in organized baseball.

A year ago he took a job promoting American Legion junior baseball but his activities were limited because of his illness.

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