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Famed Ruth bat part of festivities

Famed Ruth bat part of festivities

NEW YORK -- In a symbolic gesture, the bat that Babe Ruth used to christen the original Yankee Stadium on April 18, 1923, was laid across home plate before the bottom of the first inning on Thursday in the inaugural game at the new Yankee Stadium.

Yankees shortstop Derek Jeter was introduced as the first home batter of the game -- by Bob Sheppard, via recording -- before interim public-address announcer Paul Olden requested fans to direct their attention to home plate, where the lumber rested across the dish.

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With the bat, Ruth hit a three-run, third-inning home run off Boston's Howard Ehmke, beginning the legend of "The House that Ruth Built." Grinning, Jeter picked up the bat and pretended as though he would use it in the at-bat before handing it to a batboy.

Ruth's thunder did not carry on to Jeter, who flied out to center field against the Indians' Cliff Lee. Jeter said he had been made aware of the Ruth bat plan in advance.

"It was fun, a nice gesture on the part of the organization to have his bat out there," Jeter said. "It was heavy, I know that."

Could he have used it against Cleveland's ace, batboy trickery notwithstanding?

"No, I could not. Not against Cliff Lee," he said. "Maybe [Tim] Wakefield or someone like that."

The bat is on loan from the collection of Richard Angrist. Following its symbolic use, it was taken directly to the Yankees Museum at Yankee Stadium, where it will remain on display until the All-Star break.

Bryan Hoch is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

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