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Babe Ruth Stamp Unveiled

May 20, 1998

NEW YORK (AP) _ Babe Ruth, who delivered many times for the New York Yankees, is now helping deliver the mail.

With the House that Ruth Built as a backdrop, the U.S. Postal Service unveiled a ``Decade-of-the-Twenties″ stamp commemorating Ruth on Tuesday night before the Yankees played the Baltimore Orioles.

Ruth’s daughter, Julia Ruth Stevens, was escorted onto the field by perfect game pitcher David Wells, who once wore an original Babe hat in a game.

``It is truly to honor to be involved,″ Wells said before the pregame ceremonies.

On Stevens’ cue, a covering was dropped revealing a 25-foot-high, 29-foot-wide likeness of the stamp next to the center-field scoreboard. The 32-cent stamp depicts Ruth admiring one of his home runs in Yankee Stadium.

The Ruth stamp is one of 15 in a 1920s collection that will be issued May 28. Stamps showing the 1900s and 1910s era already are available.

As part of the presentation, Paul Hopkins, who gave up Ruth’s 59th home run in 1927, threw out the ceremonial first pitch.

Hopkins, 93, of Chester, Conn., made his major league debut on Sept. 29, 1927, for the Washington Senators at Yankee Stadium.

He entered the game in the fifth inning and loaded the bases, and Ruth followed with a grand slam. The next day, Ruth hit No. 60 off Tom Zachary.

Hopkins slowly walked onto the field and shook hands with Yankees starter David Cone. Hopkins took a full windup and bounced his pitch to catcher Joe Girardi.

``I kind of one-hopped it in there,″ Hopkins said.

``The reason why I’m here is that I let him have a home run,″ he said. ``No one would have ever heard of me if I struck him out.″

Hopkins was surprised that he faced Ruth in his first outing.

``When they called on me to come in, I didn’t realize I was going to pitch to Ruth. I thought, `Geez, this guy is up. What do I do?′ I gave him a home run.″

After the game, Hopkins went over to the Yankees’ clubhouse to have Ruth sign a ball. Hopkins recalled that manager Miller Huggins stopped him, and that a clubhouse attendant did the job.

A few years later, Hopkins, who was 2-2 in 11 career games, said the 10-year-old son of an acquaintance kept asking him for the ball.

``Like a dope, I gave it to him,″ Hopkins said.

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