02 Aug 1900 1
01 Jul 1992 1

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Personal Details

Full Name:
Mary Margaret Ruth Moberly 2
Also known as:
Mamie 2
Full Name:
Mary M Moberly 1
Female 2
02 Aug 1900 1
01 Jul 1992 1
Burial Place: Woodlawn Cemetery 2
Last Residence: Hagerstown, MD 1
Mother: Katherine (Schamberger) Ruth 2
Father: George Herman Ruth 2
Wilbur Moberly 2
Spouse Death Date: 1964 2
Social Security:
Social Security Number: ***-**-7790 1

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Mamie Moberly, the Babe's sister, dies


She was born as Mary Margaret Ruth, but everyone knew her as "Mamie" -- the name, she would say, her brother George would use to annoy her.

On Wednesday, Mamie Ruth Moberly -- the little sister of baseball immortal Babe Ruth -- died of cancer at the Colton Villa Nursing Center in Hagerstown. She was 91.

A native of Baltimore, Mamie Ruth lived during her childhood in the apartments above various family taverns -- including, from about 1906 to 1912, Ruth's Saloon, located roughly in what is now center field at the city's new baseball palace, Oriole Park at Camden Yards.

She was one of eight children, but only she and her brother, George Herman Ruth, who was 5 1/2 years older, survived to adulthood.

She married Wilbur Marion Moberly, a clothing cutter, and lived for many years at 2712 Winchester St. in Baltimore. Mrs. Moberly, a homemaker, moved to Hagerstown to be with her daughter and son-in-law after her husband's death about 1964.

As the sister of baseball's biggest legend, Mrs. Moberly was called on often since his death in 1948 for memories of his rough childhood.

True to her character of never saying anything negative about people, she would take exception to anyone's calling her brother bad. He was sent away to St. Mary's Industrial School, she said, because he cut

classes and wouldn't go to school -- not because he was bad.

She was an occasional visitor to Baltimore in recent years, attending ceremonies for the groundbreaking and opening of the Babe Ruth Museum at his birthplace -- the Emory Street home of their grandparents -- along with special occasions there.

"As the years have gone by," said museum executive director Michael Gibbons, "we have gotten a lot of calls about Babe Ruth, and Mamie was always willing to talk. I never hesitated to pass the calls on to Mamie. She loved to talk about her


"If Babe Ruth was anything like his sister, then he was a sweetheart of a guy."

"She was very positive about the new ballpark, and felt it was an honor they had built a ballpark on the spot where her brother had played stickball when he came home," Mr. Gibbons said.

Mrs. Moberly received a warm reception from crowds lining the route of the 1988 Preakness Parade, waving from a convertible. In April, she made her first trip to a movie theater in many years to see "The Babe," starring John Goodman.

She said the Babe was not as wild as the movie made him out to be. "He wasn't, but he was always so full of mischief," she said. "He really could smoke cigars."

Mrs. Moberly is survived by her daughter, Florence Margaret Binau, and two grandchildren, Janice McNamee and Robert Binau, all of Hagerstown; and a great-granddaughter, April Zang of Salisbury. Two sons died in infancy.

Services will be held at 11 a.m. Monday at the Minnich Funeral Home, 415 E. Wilson Blvd. in Hagerstown, followed by a graveside service about 1 p.m. at Woodlawn Cemetery, 2130 Woodlawn Drive.

The family suggested memorial donations to the Babe Ruth Birthplace Foundation, 216 Emory St., Baltimore 21230


Moberly, a petite and classy lady, always let Yankee slugger take bows

They buried the Babe's little sister yesterday. Mary Ruth Moberly, a quiet, petite woman who lived to be 91, and the only close remaining family link to the greatest baseball player of them all, was laid to rest in the Woodlawn Cemetery under a canopy of blue skies and fond remembrances of a life that made her a celebrity because of who her brother was.

She had carried herself well. Gentle, gregarious and accommodating with those who got to know her. Never one to brag or take bows, yet readily available to talk about George Herman "Babe" Ruth, six years her senior, who became the most notable American sports hero in history.

It was Mrs. Moberly's expressed hope the new downtown park where the Baltimore Orioles play would be named after the Babe because not only was he discovered by the Orioles but for part of his young life was raised in short centerfield, where his parents, during the early 1900s, owned a saloon and the family resided on the second floor.

Mrs. Moberly, who was known to sometimes sign autographs, "Babe Ruth"s sister," told us in a visit two years ago to her Hagerstown apartment, where she lived with a married daughter, Florence Binau, why it was necessary for her brother George to be enrolled at St. Mary's Industrial School under the disciplined care of the Xaverian Brothers.

"It seemed he was always getting into fights with other boys in the neighborhood," she said. "They would tease him, hollering he had a 'sissy name,' Ruth. Being an all-around boy, he would often punch them in retaliation. Then their mothers, in a matter of minutes, would be knocking on our back door to complain to my mother and father about what George had done to their 'Little Johnny.' "

The Babe found mischief as a child and, as recalled by his sister, particularly reveled in kicking over the baskets of fruits and vegetables in Lexington Market and then racing out of the place with the stall proprietors in anguished pursuit. Mrs. Moberly's daughter said it would have meant much to her mother and to baseball itself if the Babe Ruth name had been used on the downtown park as the first major-league stadium honoring a player.

"What they did made no sense [meaning the governor and the owner of the Orioles], but mother didn't let it get her down. That wasn't her personality. She could have been upset but wasn't. I, too, believe it would have been a wonderful thing for baseball and Baltimore."

Family and friends numbered, by actual count, at the graveside service, a modest 22, which offered a stark contrast to when her illustrious brother was buried from St. Patrick's Cathedral in New York in 1948. On that occasion, at the funeral of the Babe, there were more than 6,600 mourners in the church and police estimated 75,000 waited outside (blanketing a 15-block area) in the rain to offer final respects.

In the vestibule of St. Patrick's, the venerable Connie Mack was talking to a group of seminarians and said, "If baseball tried for the next 100 years, it could never repay or thank Babe for what he was able to do for the game."

From 1948 until the present, first Claire Ruth, the Babe's second wife, and then Mrs. Moberly provided grand sources for personal stories about the most illustrious personality sports in this country has yet produced. That only 22 were there for the final goodbye to Mary Ruth Moberly tells all of us about the basic truths that deal with life and death.

Mrs. Moberly, called Mamie by the Babe, lived to an age, 91, where she outlived most all her friends. There were eight children in the Ruth family but only two, the Babe and Mrs. Moberly, reached adulthood. It was then, the late 1890s and early 1900s, when the survival rate of babies and children severely diminished because of numerous childhood diseases hospitals and medical science were at that time unable to control.

The Moberly family, elated over the fact that Mayor Thomas D'Alesandro III, and the late Paul Welsh had led the original restoration of the Ruth birthplace on Emory Street, requested memorial donations be sent to the Babe Ruth Museum. The museum was represented at Mrs. Moberly's services in Hagerstown by curator Greg Schwallenberg, Kelly Gunther, Judith Morgan and in the cemetery by Ray Weinstein, president of the museum foundation.

"America has never come close to producing another Babe Ruth," said Weinstein. "He was one of a kind -- as a player and a celebrity the public absolutely adored."

His little sister would have agreed.

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