The name “Ruth” carries weight around the game of baseball. At Monday’s Gwinnett Braves game, things were no different.
Fans lined up to meet Linda Ruth, the youngest granddaughter of baseball great Babe Ruth. She was in town with the Pray For (P4) Foundation started by 18-year-old Gino Vizzi, a graduate of Gwinnett County's Mill Creek High School.
P4 is in its second year as a foundation. Vizzi is the founder and started the non-profit in 2014 after finding out he had chronic myelogenous leukemia. It is a rare condition but not one that limits him from achieving his goals.
One of his goals is to play baseball. So, he took a trip to Miami for a baseball showcase and that is how his friendship with Ruth began.
“We stayed at the same hotel and she walks out and we started to talk for about four hours about baseball and Babe Ruth,” Vizzi said. “That is how we built our friendship.”
After the initial meeting, Ruth heard more about his story battling leukemia and wanted to help out.
“She was all onboard right afterwards,” Vizzi said. “When we first started and I explained my situation, she was all supportive of it. She was like I want to help out more and that is when my dad contacted her to come talk to all the kids and players.”
For Ruth, the decision was an easy. She has been helping others since she was in the eighth grade with the help of her mother. So, she jumped at the chance to help him in his fight.
“My mother said that it is your responsibility to find out what you can do for good in his name,” Ruth said. “That is why I am here for the P4 Foundation. I think it is really Ruthian and I want to help.”
So Ruth came to Atlanta to help encourage those in need. She was a speaker at an event on June 18 and threw out the first pitch on Monday.
Her desire comes from wanting to give back to the community that has given so much to her family. She does this by signing autographs of Babe and donating any proceeds to foundations like P4.
“It makes good will and that is where I am now,” Ruth said. “Hopefully, I can help make with the dollars and I am trying to figure out how to do that now.”
People have been receptive. They have taken to her message and have gained a deeper understanding of the foundation and her family’s purpose.
Now 62 years old, Ruth continues to travel across the country from her home in Connecticut for several speaking events. She has traveled from Arizona to Florida, all to educate the younger generation.
“I am kind of going where I am led,” Ruth said. “I’m not sure what I will be doing next year and it is wonderful. As long as people are willing, I’ll keep talking about the legacy. That’s what I want to do.”
While next year is still to be determined, she does have one thing planned. She will return to Georgia to help the P4 Foundation again.
“I am going to be here next year to raise funds and sign pictures for people to come see me next year for the home run derby,” Ruth said.