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Miss Babe Ruth, the Greensboro Grasshoppers beloved bat dog, dies of cancer

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Miss Babe Ruth, the popular black Lab who served as the Greensboro Grasshoppers bat dog for nearly 10 years, died Friday night of cancer.

“Our hearts are broken,” said Donald Moore, Grasshoppers president and general manager. “She had an incredible life. She was all you could want from a dog and more. She loved people, loved kids. She was very loyal. That dog knew she was putting on a show, and she did it with such dignity. There will never be another Babe.”

The Moore family owned Babe, as they did her brother, Master Yogi Berra, who died last year, also of cancer, at age 9.

Miss Babe Ruth retired in 2015, taking a final lap around the bases even though she was having difficulty walking by then.

The two dogs were fixtures at Hoppers games. The dogs delivered buckets of baseballs to the umpire, retrieved Grasshopper bats and ran the bases when the game is over.

Babe was diagnosed with inoperable cancer but to the surprise of everyone, veterinarians included, lived another two years.

Babe came out of retirement late in the 2016 season and worked eight final games while her niece, current Hoppers batdog Miss Lou Lou Gehrig, recovered from an illness. The team estimates Babe delivered more than 3,500 baseballs and fetched more than 4,600 bats.

“She fought an incredible fight,” Moore said. “We didn’t think she would see opening day, but we had her for four more months. You try to prepare for this. But as hard as you try to prepare, no matter what you do, when it comes it devastates you.”

Babe’s health deteriorated rapidly in the last two days, the Greensboro News & Record reported.

“Up until (Thursday) night, she seemed to be OK,” Moore said. “She was taking her medicine, eating well, barking and talking junk like she always did. She was happy. But all of a sudden, it was like a switch flipped. She told us in her own way, ‘I can’t do it anymore.’ She stopped eating. She didn’t want to drink anything. It was clear she was ready to go.”

Memorial contributions can be made to either the Babe and Yogi Scholarship Endowment at N.C. State’s College of Veterinary Medicine, 1060 William Moore Drive, Raleigh, N.C. 27607 or to Greensboro Grasshoppers Charities, c/o the Community Foundation of Greater Greensboro, 330 S. Greene St., Suite 100, Greensboro, N.C. 27401.

The scholarship at N.C. State is earmarked for Guilford County residents who are veterinary students at the university.

Funds from the Grasshoppers Charities donations will go to establishing permanent memorials of Babe and Yogi at First National Bank Field.

(Photo by Jack Horan / Charlotte Observer)

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