A baseball bat-retrieving dog who entertained Trenton Thunder fans for more than a decade has died.
Chase, an ailing 13-year-old golden retriever, lived just long enough to be thrown a retirement party by the Thunder at Friday's game against the Reading Fightin Phils at Arm & Hammer Park in Trenton. The team, a double-A affiliate of the New York Yankees, said Chase died Monday.
"Chase was such a tremendous part of the Trenton Thunder identity for more than 10 years," said Will Smith, general manager of the Thunder. "Our ball players, staff, season ticket holders and all the men, women and children who he entertained and interacted with over the past decade will miss him dearly."
The dog, who made his debut with the Thunder in 2002, was diagnosed in February with a form of lymphoma, suffered from arthritis and struggled during his last appearance.
At Friday's celebration, fans were encouraged to bring their dogs to the game, and Chase bobblehead dolls were given out.
Last month, Chase became the first dog to be honored on the field at Yankee Stadium, following a special invitation by General Manager Brian Cashman. He's also featured in the July 2013 issue of Yankees Magazine.
His bat-retrieving legacy will live on with his son Derby, who continues to be part of the Thunder's home game entertainment. Another son, Ollie, performs with the New Hampshire Fisher Cats, an Eastern League affiliate of the Toronto Blue Jays.