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Tag: grasshoppers

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

missbaberuth

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)

Yogi Berra, the Greensboro Grasshoppers “ball dog,” is put down as cancer worsens

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Master Yogi Berra, the black Labrador retriever who delighted fans between innings at Greensboro Grasshoppers games, died yesterday — the day before his planned retirement party.

The 9-year-old dog served as the minor league baseball team’s “ball dog,” fetching balls from the outfield during between-inning promotions.

He was diagnosed with cancer this summer and, amid declining health, made his last appearance Tuesday in the Hoppers game against the Hickory Crawdads.

“I think he did it only because he wanted to make me happy,” Donald Moore, team president and Yogi’s owner, told the Greensboro News & Record.

“I don’t think he had any desire to do it, and that’s just not Yogi,” Moore added. “I didn’t shoot the ball very far. He went and got it, and he brought it back, and I could tell. The next morning he seemed so much worse than he had just the night before.”

The Hoppers had planned a retirement party for Yogi during tonight’s game. Instead the team will hold a ceremony in his memory.

“I really thought he would make it through the season. I wasn’t worried about losing him for another couple of months. But, oh my gosh, when it started happening, it happened fast,” Moore said. “He was ready to go, and you don’t punish the dog by putting it off. You don’t keep him in pain just to have a party.”

Moore found a lump on Yogi’s neck in June. A specialist at N.C. State’s College of Veterinary Medicine in Raleigh, diagnosed an inoperable malignant tumor that originated in a salivary gland and had spread down the neck and into the chest.

Yogi was one of three dogs the team has featured over the years. His older sister, Miss Babe Ruth, fetched players’ bats and took baseballs to the home plate umpire from 2006 until her retirement at the end of the 2015 season.

Miss Lou Lou Gehrig, a niece of Yogi and Babe, is the current bat dog for the team.

Yogi was a little more free spirited than those two, and never mastered the bat dog job.

Instead, for eight years, he fetched balls shot into centerfield during a between-innings promotion.

Three weeks into his job, Yogi made national news when an umpire kicked him off the field him for leaving a mess in the outfield, becoming the only dog ever ejected from a professional baseball game.

“People love that dog,” Moore said. “A lot of people are going to be just as heartbroken as we are… We knew it was coming. Unfortunately, everything we tried didn’t work. … It’s hard to pinpoint exactly when things changed, but he started slipping last week and every day he was declining more and more.”

Moore made the decision Wednesday to have Yogi put down.

(Photo: By Nelson Kepley / Greensboro News & Record)