Ruth's granddaughter pays final visit
Descendant of baseball legend moved by sight of monument
NEW YORK -- When Linda Ruth Tosetti walked through the tunnels and up the stairs of the Yankees' dugout on Saturday to the field where her grandfather stood and changed the game of baseball, she felt chills.
During her final visit to Yankee Stadium, she got the same goosebumps she has every time she comes to the house her grandfather built.
But on Saturday morning, Tosetti got the chance to walk to her grandfather's plaque in Monument Park. Over it, she laid a wreath of blue carnations in the shape of the NY logo with a No. 3 on it as fans watched.
"It's the last time we'll see Monument Park in his house, so it's kind of bittersweet," Tosetti said. "But the fans honor him every day, and they keep him in their hearts every day."
Tosetti took in a ceremony to honor Yankees captain Derek Jeter prior to Saturday's game against the Orioles. She said she was glad to be able to give Jeter an award for passing Ruth's Yankees hits total because she believes the New York captain represents everything that her grandfather believed in on and off the field.
"He's an outstanding player, he's great with his fans and works with the kids, and he's a great role model," Tosetti said of Jeter. "Like my grandfather said, you can't have one without the other. You can't say, 'I'm going to be famous and I'm going to be this, but I'm not going to be a role model.' It goes hand in hand."
In February, Tosetti came to the Stadium for a tour and got to stand at home plate. She brought along Ruth's 10-year-old great-great grandson, whom Tosetti said shows the same talent and fearlessness as her grandfather.
"That was the secret of my grandfather," she said. "My grandfather said there was no failure, and he was fearless. If he didn't hit a home run, he'll get it the next time. So did he point? Yeah, because if he didn't do it, he would do it next time. That was his outlook."
The most well-known player in the history of the game, Ruth made an impact that changed the sport, allowing it to gain the pastime status it holds today. Tosetti said she remembers that other teams would cheer for Ruth to hit a home run in their stadium just to see him slug one out of the park.
Ruth's No. 3 is already retired in the Bronx, but his memory has motivated Tosetti to campaign for his number to be retired in every club around the country.
"It's not so much to keep it off the backs of guys," she said. "I love to see 3 on the field. I just want it hanging in every stadium because I think it's an honor. The guys wouldn't be playing if it wasn't for Babe -- at least the caliber they're playing now -- if it wasn't for Babe saving it. He made it an international game."
Tosetti can see the incredible effect her grandfather had on a daily basis when people ask to shake her hand or get her autograph. But standing on the field at Yankee Stadium on Saturday morning, she recalled her first trip to the ballpark in the early 1970s, when she truly learned what he meant to people.
During an Old-Timers' Day, Tosetti sat behind home plate as her mother, Dorothy Ruth Pirone, stepped out of the dugout. It was the first time she had heard her mother introduced, and the roar of the crowd standing on its feet was overwhelming. And then Tosetti understood the words of her mother.
"The name's magic."
Samantha Newman is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.