One of the most popular members of the Eastern League Trenton Thunder officially retired on Friday night.
Golden retriever bat dog Chase has been fetching bats for the Thunder since the 2002 season. Chase is now 13 and is battling cancer.
Trenton Thunder executive Eric Lipsman owns Chase. Examiner reported that during the second inning of Friday’s game, Lipsman announced that the golden retriever had been fighting lymphoma since February and it was not certain as to how much time Chase had left.
During the Thunder’s game at Arm & Hammer Park on Friday, NJ.com reported that he first 2,000 fans over age 14 received a Chase bobblehead doll. Lipsman said, “When I saw so many people in line tonight I said, ‘You came out in the heat?’ And they said, ‘Yeah, we’re big fans of Chase!’ And that just meant the world to me.”
The Trentonian noted that Chase always greeted fans as they entered the stadium or visited them while they were watching the game. A four-minute video dedicated to Chase played as part of his retirement ceremony.
Ballpark Digest reports that over the past ten years, Chase has been seen on CNN and Japanese Television, ESPN, FOX, the YES Network and local networks FOX-29, KYW-3, and News 12 NJ. Chase’s picture has also been in Sports Illustrated, and in a number of U.S. newspapers.
On June 4, 2013 Chase was invited to the Yankee Stadium field by New York Yankees General Manager Brian Cashman.
Chase was the first dog that retrieved bats exclusively for a minor league baseball team. His five-year old son Derby will take over Chase’s job. In 2013 Derby also takes water out to the umpires during the game.