The Trenton Thunder will be without a key member of their team during the 2018 season. The club announced Monday that their beloved bat dog Derby died over the weekend after a battle with cancer. Derby was nine.
Derby served as the team’s bat dog for quite some time. His job included retrieving the bat from the field after a hit, bringing water to the umps, spending time with the Thunder battery before each game and making appearances with fans around Trenton.
Baseball fans should be plenty familiar with Derby. He even had his own ESPN feature:
In that feature, it’s mentioned that the job of bat dog is a family thing. Derby took over from his dad, Chase, a few years back. In 2016, Derby’s son Rookie took over responsibilities as the bat dog for the Thunder.
Derby interacted with a number of Yankee greats over the years. He entertained the heck out of Alex Rodriguez in 2016.
— Eric Lipsman (@E_Lipsman) May 26, 2016
Derby also had his own bobblehead with Yankees great Reggie Jackson.
The Thunder — the Double-A affiliate of the New York Yankees — are asking fans to celebrate Derby’s life on Jan. 26. That would have been his 10th birthday. The team will release a tribute video to Derby, and is asking fans to put their best memories, photos or videos of Derby on social media that day.
For fans looking to do more, the team is asking fans to refrain from sending flowers. Instead, the team would like fans to “make a monetary donation in his name to Trenton Thunder Charities or to Delaware Valley Golden Retriever Rescue.”
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Chris Cwik is a writer for Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email him at email@example.com or follow him on Twitter! Follow @Chris_Cwik