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Ray Kelly, 83; Mascot for Babe Ruth During Slugger's Yankee Years

November 17, 2001|From Times Staff and Wire Reports

Ray Kelly, 83, a mascot for Babe Ruth with the New York Yankees throughout the 1920s, died Sunday of a heart attack at his home in Valley Cottage, N.Y.

Ruth took a liking to the boy, who lived around the corner from the slugger's home in Manhattan, and the youngster quickly became a good luck charm for the Yankee slugger. Kelly, known to the team as Little Ray, became a fixture around Yankee Stadium in Ruth's years with the club. He sat on the bench with many of the great Yankees of the era, including Lou Gehrig, Bill Dickey, Tony Lazzeri and Waite Hoyt.

After leaving the Yankees in the early 1930s, Kelly graduated from high school, then served as a sergeant in the Army Air Force during World War II. After the war, Kelly graduated from Pace University and worked as an accountant for Mobil Oil.

Of Ruth, Kelly once said: "He was like a second father to me. He treated me like the son he never had."

Kelly was a keynote speaker at Hofstra University's 1995 Babe Ruth Conference.

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