Miss Babe Ruth’s bucket is going to the National Baseball Hall Of Fame!
Greensboro Grasshoppers’ beloved bat-dog is retiring at the end of this season.
On Monday, the 9-year-old black Labrador attended her 638th consecutive home game – fetching bats and taking balls to the home plate referee.
The bucket she carries the baseballs in will be donated to the National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum.
“This bucket is the same bucket she’s used since the day she started as a 9-month-old pup,” said Donald Moore, Babe’s owner and the Hoppers’ president and general manager. “This is her last year, and I thought, ‘You know there’s some history in that thing. It would be kind of cool if Cooperstown would want it.’ So I wrote ’em a letter.”
Brad Horn, VP of communications and education at the Hall of Fame, said the museum’s eight-member acquisitions committee was eager to add the bucket to a 40,000-plus collection of “three-dimensional artifacts.”
“We look for the ways that baseball and American culture intersect,” Horn said. “The committee really loved this piece because it obviously shows the fan involvement with baseball. … We look at stories of baseball being preserved in communities all around the world. We thought this would be a unique artifact to represent something that has become such a beloved tradition in Greensboro.”
Like any other bucket, Babe Ruth’s bucket was bought from a store. In fact, it was bought off the rack at Lowes. Now, it’s going to be displayed in the Hall of Fame. Each piece in the Hall of Fame has a story to tell.
When the bucket was bought, the handle was wrapped in padding to protect the soft-mouthed dog. The custom paintjob was added by a Hoppers intern in 2006.
“It’s had a lot of wear and tear over the years, but it’s the same bucket,” Moore said. “We’ve had to replace the handle a couple of times. … It’s the first thing from the Hoppers organization to go to the Hall of Fame.”
The Hall of Fame changes its exhibits often, and since there are thousands of items in there, Horn said some items aren’t displayed until years after they are donated.
“All pieces are reviewed once we have them in-house,” Horn said. “… We have historically spotlighted recent additions to the museum’s collection. We felt this was an important piece for us to have within the collection to show baseball’s intersection between fans and the game.”