Great grandson of Babe Ruth adds to St. Pete museum collection

- The great grandson of baseball legend Babe Ruth is in St. Petersburg. And, he's bringing more than just the spirit of the late Yankees great.

Brent Stevens, Ruth's great grandson spent the afternoon at the St. Petersburg Museum of History. The museum is soon to be the home of a baseball signed by all of Ruth's surviving family members. That's not here yet. In the meantime, Stevens left the museum with a ball signed by him.

The "Schrader's Little Cooperstown" exhibit is the largest collection of autographed baseballs in the world, certified by the Guinness Book of World Records. The newest baseball brings the tally to 4,874.

This addition is extra special because Babe Ruth and the city of St. Petersburg have a long history. He spent plenty of time here in the 20s and 30s, coming as early as January to enjoy some time in the sunshine before spring training.

In fact, Al Lang Stadium is also known as "the other house that Ruth Built." What's now the parking lot is the setting for The Babe's longest home run. He launched it 600-feet to the West Coast Inn which is now the Hilton.

Ruth's great grandson has spent a lifetime learning about his legendary family member. He brought several never-before-seen photos of Ruth which the museum scanned for their collection. Visiting St. Pete and the landmarks that meant so much to Ruth helps strengthen that connection.

"It's just great that just so many years after his passing, he passed away in '48, but the fact that he has such a strong positive influence is something that makes me really proud," Stevens said. "The more I learn about him, the more impressed I am. Not only was he a baseball player but a pretty special individual as well."

Adding much historical context to the day was local author Will Michaels. The historian held a book signing for his newest book "Hidden History of St. Petersburg." The book includes plenty of stories about Ruth and other historic figures in the city .

Stevens is carrying on the family tradition. He is throwing the first pitch at Friday night's Rays/Yankees game at Tropicana Field. Believe it or not, it's the first time he's ever done it. He's just hoping to make great grandpa proud.

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