Lou Lou, Yogi and Babe! pic.twitter.com/ZuPyUhn9X3
— Josh Norris (@jnorris427) May 21, 2016
The Greensboro Grasshoppers lost a member of their family on Thursday. Master Yogi Berra, the middle of the team’s trio of lovable, enthusiastic bat dogs, died after a six-week battle with malignant cancer.
"Unfortunately, Yogi has gotten progressively worse in the last few weeks and we didn't want to see him suffer any longer," Grasshoppers president and general manager Donald Moore said. "He was an incredible member of our team and we are deeply saddened by his death."
Yogi was born April 11, 2008 and made his debut that season. On April 22, 2009, he became the first and only dog to be formally ejected from a baseball game for an incident that got national media coverage. Yogi’s signature moment came during the third inning of every game, when a team employee would launch a baseball deep into center field for Yogi to retrieve. His job was to return the ball to one two waiting contestants. Whoever got the ball won a prize. But Yogi almost never brought the ball to anyone. Instead, he just kept running as happily as, well, a dog with a ball.
That was part of Yogi’s charm. He didn’t always get the job done, but he put a smile on fans’ faces. Yogi is survived by his sister Miss Babe Ruth—whose iconic bucket is on display in the Hall of Fame in Cooperstown, N.Y.—and his feisty niece Miss Lou Lou Gehrig.
"I want to thank all the people who have kept Yogi in their thoughts and prayers since he has been ill,” Moore said. “It is incredibly difficult to lose a member of your family, but I know he is now in a great game of fetch in heaven.”
The Grasshoppers will celebrate Yogi’s life on Friday night during their series with the Hickory Crawdads. The team will recount of some of his best moments during each inning, and in the third inning will launch one final ball into center field as a way to say goodbye to one of the team’s best friends.
There are plenty of bat dogs throughout the minor leagues, but there was only one Yogi.