Dorothy Ruth

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Dorothy Helen Ruth Pirone (June 7, 1921 – May 18, 1989) was the daughter of Babe Ruth and his mistress Juanita Jennings.[1] Dorothy was born June 7, 1921 in New York City, at St. Vincent's Hospital, and lived with Babe and his first wife Helen. Helen and Babe Ruth separated some time between 1924–1926. Dorothy lived with her adoptive mother Helen after that. Babe and Helen Ruth did not divorce because of their religious beliefs. It is documented that Dorothy was raised to believe Helen was her real mother. It is speculated that Helen did not know that Dorothy was the result of an adulterous relationship between Babe and his girlfriend. It may have been the case that when Babe Ruth learned of his mistress's pregnancy, he convinced Helen, unaware that Babe was the father, to adopt the baby girl. Babe Ruth also somehow convinced Dorothy's biological mother to give up the baby for adoption to a possibly unknowing Helen.

In January 1929, when she was 7 years old, her adoptive mother Helen died in a house fire. After Helen's death, Dorothy lived with her father Babe Ruth and Claire Hodgson Ruth whom he married in April 1929.

Dorothy learned at the age of 59 in 1980 that Juanita Jennings was her real mother. Dorothy had known Juanita growing up as a friend of her father but did not know she was her biological mother.[2]

She married Daniel J. Sullivan, a Brooklyn employee of the Railway Express Agency, on January 7, 1940. She had a son, Daniel J. Sullivan Jr., (Ruth's first grandchild) in October 1940, and later had 5 other children. Dorothy's marriage to Sullivan also produced two daughters, Genevieve and Ellen, before the union ended in 1945. Dorothy later married Dominick Pirone, a New York general contractor in New York City, on December 8, 1948. Three children were born of this second marriage, Donna, Richard, and Linda. She lived in Durham, Connecticut and raised Arabian horses,[1] and wrote My Dad, the Babe.[3][4]

She was a joint plaintiff along with the Babe Ruth League in a trademark dispute with Macmillan Incorporated over use of the Babe Ruth likeness.[5]

She died on May 18, 1989 at the age of 67 in Durham, Connecticut, survived by four daughters, a son and 12 grandchildren.[1]


  1. ^ a b c "Dorothy R. Pirone, 68, Babe Ruth's Daughter" The New York Times, May 20, 1989. Accessed August 7, 2012.
  2. ^ Rogoff, Herb. "Ruth & his women" One More Inning (online magazine) at Accessed August 7, 2012.
  3. ^ Pirone, Dorothy Ruth; Chris Martens (1988). My Dad, the Babe: Growing Up with an American Hero. Boston: Quinlan Press. ISBN 1-55770-031-1. OCLC 17652057. 
  4. ^ My Dad, the Babe entry at the Library of Congress
  5. ^ Dorothy Ruth Pirone, v. Macmillan, Inc., No. 89-7750, U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit, 894 F.2d 579; 1990 U.S. App. LEXIS 1301. February 13, 1990. pdf accessed August 7, 2012.