The Trenton Thunder, a minor league baseball affiliate of the NY Yankees, has an unusual way of getting through the dog days of summer. If you attend their home games, you will find Golden Retrievers serving as the "bat dogs" and mascots for the minor league baseball team.
Unfortunately, their long-time Bat Dog, Derby, has died of cancer just shy of his tenth birthday. But HooplaHa was fortune enough to have spent and day with Derby and Rookie not long ago!
Home Run Derby was born on January 26, 2008 as part of a litter of four boys and two girls from legendary Thunder Bat Dog, Chase That Golden Thunder. Derby was a beloved member of the Thunder, and he began his retrieving apprenticeship in 2008 under his father Chase. In his time with the Thunder, Derby has retrieved bats for Yankees players like Alex Rodriguez and Aaron Judge.
Baseball runs in the family, as one of Derby's brothers, Ollie, served as a Bat Dog for the New Hampshire Fisher Cats (Toronto Blue Jays) until his retirement in 2016.
Derby became the full-time Bat Dog in 2010, and spent last season working alongside his son Rookie, who was also featured in our video. The Thunder announced that January 26, which would have been Derby's 10th birthday, will now be Derby Day.
Thunder GM Jeff Hurley announced Derby's death Monday:
"Derby was one of the biggest parts of our identity in the nine years of his life and it breaks my heart to share this news with our fans ahead of our 25th season. His presence at our games and in the community was massive and every person and dog that interacted with him will miss him dearly."
In case you want to know more about this amazing Golden Retriever, you can find Derby as the subject in "Derby-My Bodacious Life in Baseball," a book written by author Staton Rabin in October 2015.
R.I.P. Home Run Derby. You will be dearly missed by your fans!
This HooplaHa Original was produced and edited by Mitch Goldstein and shot by Aaron Davis. For more HooplaHa Originals, check out our YouTube page!
Story Credit: MSN