What Louisville Slugger did to honor Derek Jeter Wednesday was unprecedented in the 130-year history of the company that is the official bat maker of Major League Baseball. The manufacturers announced that it is retiring Jeter’s model P72.
James Sass, director of professional baseball sales for the company based in Louisville, Ky., said, “Derek has swung one bat model from one bat company his entire career. He has made more than 12,500 plate appearances in his 20 MLB seasons, and every single one of them has been with a Louisville Slugger P72. With Derek’s impending retirement, we thought it was fitting to retire his bat model in recognition of his brilliant career.We are grateful for his enduring and unwavering loyalty. In honor of Derek’s tremendous career and impact, we won’t be making the P72 anymore.”
Company officials surprised the Captain with their decision in a presentation of “The Last P72” before Wednesday’s Yankees-Orioles game at Yankee Stadium.
The P72 has been one of the more popular models with players over the decades. In addition to Jeter, who ranks sixth on the all-time career hits list, it has been swung by Hall of Famers Cal Ripken Jr. and Robin Yount, among others.
The specifications of the P72, with its medium barrel and balanced swing weight, will still exist for players to order, but under a new model name. It will be called the DJ2 in recognition of Jeter’s and his career. There is one potential exception where Louisville Slugger could use the P72 name on bats again;the company says it will invoke a grandfather clause to use P72 for any descendent of the player the bat was originally made: Les Pinkham
In addition to retiring the P72 model number, Louisville Slugger will give the final 72 P72 bats to be produced to Jeter to raise funds for his Turn 2 Foundation, which he founded in his rookie season.
“We know how much Derek’s Turn 2 Foundation means to him, so we wanted to do something significant to help the organization as it works to positively impact young lives,” Sass said. “So we’re giving Derek the last 72 of his P72’s to use for Turn 2. These bats will be amazing collectors’ items and should help raise a lot of money for his foundation.”
Louisville Slugger Museum & Factory will purchase back the first of the final 72 bats to exhibit in its main gallery in Louisville. The museum provided a check for $5,000 to the Turn 2 Foundation.
Jeter ordered 33.5-inch, 31-ounce P72 model bats in 1995 and 1996. He went to a longer and heavier 34-inch, 32-ounce model P72 Louisville Slugger in 1997 and has stayed with it ever since. In his 20-season career, Jeter has ordered more than 2,500 P72 model Louisville Slugger bats.
Previous players who swung the P72 in addition to Ripken and Yount, both former two-time American League Most Valuable Players (Yount in 1982 & ’89, Ripken in 1983 & ’91), include another two-time AL MVP Juan Gonzalez (1996 & ’98), 1999 AL MVP Ivan Rodriguez, 1977 National League MVP George Foster, 1982 World Series MVP Darrell Porter, Yankees bench coach and former catcher Tony Pena, Athletics general manager and former outfielder Billy Beane, as well as Andy Van Slyke, Gary Gaetti, Glenn Hubbard, Jose Cruz, Mike Easler, Sandy Alomar Jr., Von Hayes, Nomar Garciaparra and two of Jeter’s closest friends, Gerald Williams and Harold Reynolds.
Orioles second baseman Kelly Johnson, who was a teammate of Jeter with the Yankees this season until he was traded in July, used a P72 model bat when he homered Tuesday night at the Stadium.
Louisville Slugger created the P72 in 1954 for Leslie Wayne Pinkham, a minor league player from Elizabethtown, Ky., who was playing Triple A baseball in Columbus, Ohio. The “P” denotes the first letter of Pinkham’s last name. “72” means Pinkham was the 72nd pro player whose last name started with “P” for whom Louisville Slugger made a specific model bat, thus the “P72.” His son, Bill Pinkham, also used his father’s bat model when he was a player in the Reds organization.
Louisville Slugger presented Jeter with a special award to commemorate the retiring of the P72 model number. The award features the last P72 ever made for Jeter. These are the words engraved on the award presented to Jeter:
THE LAST P72
Louisville Slugger® created the P72 model in 1954 for Leslie Wayne Pinkham. It became one of professional baseball’s most popular bats.
Derek Jeter swung a Louisville Slugger P72 for every plate appearance he made over his 20-season MLB career.
In honor of the Yankee Captain’s retirement, and in acknowledgement of his unwavering loyalty, Louisville Slugger officially retires the P72 at the conclusion of the 2014 MLB season, 60 years after it was created.
The Derek Jeter signature model bat mounted here is the last P72.
Those in the crowd of 43,201 at Yankee Stadium Tuesday night who waited long enough for what appeared at the time to be Derek Jeter’s possible last at-bat of the game were rewarded when the Captain beat out a slow roller to third base for a single with two out.
An even greater award came two pitches later as Brian McCann belted a 94-mph fastball from lefthander Andrew Miller, one of the hardest-throwing relief pitchers in the game, for a two-run home run that cut the Yankees’ deficit to 5-4. McCann, who had singled and scored in the sixth inning, had eight home runs in September, his most in a calendar month since July 2012 when he had nine.
It was not that long ago that the Yankees were down by four runs on scores of 4-0 and 5-1 to the Orioles, who used the long ball to build the large leads against Brandon McCarthy. His pitches were up for much of his 5 1/3 innings and he paid the price for that.
Kelly Johnson, Nick Markakis and Nelson Cruz all took McCarthy deep. Johnson, who started the season with the Yankees and was dealt to Boston for Stephen Drew in July, got his first home run since joining the Orioles Aug. 30 leading off the second inning. Markakis added a two-run shot in the fourth. Cruz led off the next inning with his 40th home run, the most in the majors.
So instead of a sizable portion of the crowd heading for the exits after getting one last glance at Jeter the house remained full with the improved prospects of a Yankees comeback and a hope that the Captain might get one more time at the plate.
Someone needed to get on base in the ninth for that to happen because Jeter was the fourth scheduled batter that inning. Brett Gardner provided the opportunity for DJ with a two-out single over the mound against lefthander Zach Britton, the Baltimore closer.
With the crowd chanting “Der-ek Je-ter,” the Captain had his chance to be a hero, but this would not be a Hollywood ending. Britton struck Jeter out on three pitches.
One night after scratching out only one hit against the Yankees, the Orioles banged out 17 hits, including four by Markakis and three apiece by Cruz, Johnson and Nick Hundley. Yet only one of their hits came with a runner in scoring position in seven at-bats as Baltimore stranded 11 base runners.
The Yankees did not do well in that category, either, with eight hitless at-bats in the clutch. Yankees pitchers combined for 11 strikeouts (eight by McCarthy, two by Dellin Betances and one by David Robertson) to set a season franchise record of 1,319, one more than the previous mark of 2012.
With the Royals winning in Cleveland, the Yankees remained five games back in the wild card hunt and failed to take advantage of the Mariners losing at Toronto. Only five games remain in the regular season for the Yankees, and they are down to this: they must win every game and hope clubs ahead of them stumble.
The accolades keep coming Derek Jeter’s way in his final week of regular-season play. Despite all these goodbyes, there is the possibility however remote that the Yankees could get to play in October since they have not yet been mathematically eliminated from the post-season.
Commissioner Bud Selig, himself at the end of his career, made his farewell-tour stop at Yankee Stadium Tuesday and presented Jeter with the Commissioner’s Historic Achievement Award, an honor created in 1998 to take note of special accomplishments in the game. Mariano Rivera received the award last year in his last season. Earlier this month, legendary Dodgers broadcaster Vin Scully also received the award. Jeter is the 15th recipient of the award.
Speaking at a news conference before Tuesday night’s Yankees-Orioles game, Selig said, “When I was kid, as I reminisced the other day, my favorite player was Joe DiMaggio. What Joe D meant to my generation, Derek has meant to his. I’ve been overjoyed to see Derek join the heroes of my youth — Babe Ruth, Lou Gehrig, Mickey Mantle and all the other greats. He is a great champion in every way.”
“It means a lot for the commissioner to take the time and present me with this award,” Jeter said. “I’ve always had the utmost respect for him throughout my career. As he said, our careers have paralleled. He is the only commissioner that I played under. We had a great relationship throughout the years. For him to take the time to present me with this award that hasn’t been handed out too much, it is something that I will definitely cherish.”
The commissioner also presented on behalf of Major League Baseball a check for $222,222.22 to Jeter’s Turn2 Foundation, which brings the total of donations to the Captain’s charity on his farewell tour across the majors to more than $575,000. MLB’s donation equaled that of the Yankees’ gift of $222,222.22, which they presented on Derek Jeter day at the Stadium Sept. 7.
On nights like Monday, you wonder where the Yankees could be this year if they had Michael Pineda the whole season. The righthander, who missed 86 games because of a shoulder injury, was close to perfect for 7 1/3 innings Monday night as the Yankees got their final home series off to a good start with a 5-0 victory over the Orioles.
Pineda gave up only one hit, a one-out single in the fifth inning to J.J. Hardy, and allowed only one other base runner on a walk with one out in the eighth to his last batter. Shawn Kelley, Rich Hill and David Phelps finished up the one-hitter for Pineda, who earned his first victory since Aug. 25 at Kansas City. He was 0-3 with a no-decision over his past four starts despite pitching to a 2.49 ERA. His ERA for the season is 1.93.
Derek Jeter continued his hot final home stand with a double and three runs batted in that raised his career total to 1,307, which tied him with Hall of Famer Paul Molitor for 109th place on the all-time list. The Captain is 9-for-20 (.450) on the home stand with three doubles, one home run and six RBI.
Also climbing up a career list was Ichiro Suzuki, whose infield single in the seventh was his 2,840th hit in the major leagues, which tied him with Hall of Famer Charlie Gehringer for 47th place on the all-time list.
The Yankees set a franchise mark for players used with rookie Jose Pirela serving as the designated hitter batting ninth. He tripled in his first major-league at-bat and got his first RBI in the big leagues as well in the third and scored on a groundout by Jeter. Pirela singled in the fifth and scored on Jeter’s two-run double. Pirela was the 57th player the Yankees have had on their 25-man roster this year, the most in club history. They used 56 players in 2013.
They could add to the total since they claimed outfielder Eury Perez off waivers from the Nationals. In 67 games combined with Triple-A Syracuse, Class A Potomac and the Class A Gulf Coast League Nationals, the right-handed batter hit .310 with 36 runs, 14 doubles, two home runs and 15 RBI in 242 at-bats. Perez has appeared in 22 career major-league games with the Nationals (2012-13) and batted .154 with four runs and four stolen bases in 13 at-bats.
Chase Headley added to the scoring with a home run in the seventh, his 12th of the season and fifth since joining the Yankees.
Masahiro Tanaka did not walk off the mound Sunday grabbing his right elbow, which was the best development of the day for him and the Yankees. Making his first start in 10 weeks after being treated for a partially-torn ligament in his elbow, Tanaka showed no ill effects of the injury and gave the Yankees encouragement about his status for next season.
The only negative aspect of the Japanese righthander’s outing was that he failed to go at least six innings for the first time in 19 starts. Manager Joe Girardi made the move to the bullpen after 5 1/3 innings. Tanaka was on a tight pitch count considering the circumstances, so when Edwin Encarnacion hit a ground single to right field against the shift on Tanaka’s 70th pitch the skipper felt he had seen enough, most of which was good.
“Pretty darn good,” Girardi said, then referring to catcher Brian McCann added, “Mac said his stuff was the same [as before he got hurt]. Now we’ve got to get him ready to start Saturday [at Boston]. His first pitch was 92 [mph]. I don’t think I was prepared for that. We haven’t had a lot of good news lately, so this was welcomed.”
Tanaka got off to a shaky start as he allowed hits to the first two Toronto hitters, but the run that scored on a double play proved the only one he would allow. He was touched for five hits and again displayed superb control by not walking a batter (he did hit one) and had four strikeouts. His splitter was on target as eight of the 16 outs he recorded came on ground balls.
“Overall, I was satisfied,” Tanaka said through a translator. “I wanted to check how well the elbow responded. I was able to go pretty strong. I was relieved. Gradually, as the game went on I stopped worrying about it.”
When Tanaka did walk off the mound, he did so with a 2-1 lead. The Yankees tied the score in the bottom of the first on the first of two McCann home runs in the game and went ahead in the fifth on a homer by Brett Gardner, his 17th this season and No. 15,000 in franchise history. Both bombs were off Toronto’s hard-throwing starter, Drew Hutchison, who could not get through the fifth inning.
The Yankees attacked the Blue Jays’ bullpen in the seventh. Back-to-back doubles by Gardner and Derek Jeter off Todd Redmond accounted for one run, and McCann knocked in two more by greeting lefthander Daniel Morris with his second homer of the game and 22nd of the season.
Jeter kept up his torrid home stand with his fourth straight two-hit game, the first Yankees player 40 or older to do that and the first in the majors since the Braves’ Chipper Jones in 2012. DJ is 8-for-17 (.471) with three runs, two doubles, one home run, three RBI and a stolen base on the home stand.
A strong candidate for both Cy Young Award and Jackie Robinson Rookie of the Year Award consideration in the American League before he got hurt, Tanaka improved his record to 13-4 with a 2.47 ERA and to 6-1 with a 1.69 ERA in seven day-game starts. According to the Elias Sports Bureau, Tanaka is one of four pitchers to have made his first post All-Star Game appearance in September after being named to an All-Star squad that season, joining the Indians’ Ray Narleski in 1956, the Astros’ Joaquin Andujar in 1977 and the Red Sox’ Clay Buchholz in 2013.
Ordinarily you might think Brett Gardner would be one of the last players on the Yankees who would have hit an historic home run. Gardner was known primarily as a singles hitter with occasional pop, but this year the outfielder has displayed much more muscle at the plate.
Gardner, who has had his struggles lately while coming back from an abdominal injury, swung his way into the franchise record book in the fifth inning Sunday when he connected on a 3-2 fastball from Blue Jays righthander Drew Hutchison for a home run to right field that unlocked a 1-1 score.
It was the 17th home run of the year for Gardner, whose previous career high for homers in a season was eight in 2013. Even more importantly, Gardner’s blow off 94-mph heat was the Yankees’ 15,000th home run, the most in major-league history. The Yanks had gotten to 14,999 in the first inning on a solo homer to right by Brian McCann.
Gardner joins the list of Yankees with milestone homers:
1,000: Bob Muesel, off Boston’s Paul Zahniser in a 4-2 victory Sept. 2, 1925 at Yankee Stadium.
5,000: Mickey Mantle, off the Tigers’ Billy Hoeft in a 10-8 loss Aug. 8, 1954 at Detroit.
10,000: Claudell Washington, off Minnesota’s Jeff Reardon in a 7-6 victory April 20, 1988 at Minneapolis.
The Elias Sports Bureau reports that the Yankees are the only team in major-league history with more than 14,000 home runs. The Giants are second, more than 1,000 homers behind.
The Yankees hit their first bump in Derek Jeter’s final home stand Saturday with a disappointing, 6-3 loss to Toronto that further destroyed their already very slim hopes for a playoff berth. The Yankees failed to take advantage of another Royals loss and remained 4 ½ games behind for the second wild-card slot with eight games remaining, a steeply uphill climb.
After five solid innings, Chris Capuano came apart in the sixth and lost a 2-1 lead as the Blue Jays filled the bases with none out and struck for three runs on a two-run double by Danny Valencia and a sacrifice fly by John Mayberry Jr. Chase Whitley finished that inning with no further damage but gave up an opposite-field home run to Jose Bautista (No. 34) leading off the seventh.
The Yankees banged out 11 hits, but only two were for extra bases and they stranded 11 runners, five of them in scoring position. Brian McCann and Francisco Cervelli had RBI singles, and Jeter knocked in the third run with a double in the ninth. The Captain scored on McCann’s hit in the third, which pushed him into eighth place on the career runs list with 1,920, one more than former teammate Alex Rodriguez.
Jeter also played in his 2,671st game at shortstop. He already held the record for games at that position, but Saturday’s game meant he had played more games at any single position in major league history. Jeter is having a strong home stand with six hits in 13 at-bats (.462) with two runs, one double, one home run and two RBI.
The Yankees remain a battered bunch physically. Center fielder Jacoby Ellsbury has a mild right hamstring strain that kept him out of Saturday’s game and likely a few more, although he expressed hope that he could return before season’s end. First baseman Mark Teixeira came out of the game for a pinch hitter (Brendan Ryan) in the fifth inning because of soreness in his surgical right wrist.
One player apparently getting healthier is pitcher Masahiro Tanaka, who will start Sunday’s series finale and test his right elbow that has been treated for a partial ligament tear and has kept him on the disabled list since July 9.
The Yankees will open the gates at Yankee Stadium one hour earlier for the final three 7:05 p.m. regular season home games. Gates will open at 4 p.m. to all ticketed fans Monday, Sept. 22; Tuesday, Sept. 23; and Thursday, Sept. 25, against the Orioles.
The early gate openings will give ticketed fans the chance to watch Yankees batting practice during the team’s final home series of the regular season. Gates will open at 11 a.m. for the Orioles-Yankees day game Wednesday, Sept. 24, because the Yanks are not scheduled to take batting practice prior to the game.
Fans who choose to watch BP and infield workouts from a seat other than their own may remain until 45 minutes after the gates open or until the fans with tickets for those seats arrive. At that time, fans will be asked to return to their seats.
Only fans with Yankees Premium tickets may access their respective Yankees Premium areas (i.e., tickets for the Legends Suite, Champions Suite, Field MVP Outdoor Suite Boxes, Delta SKY360° Suite, SAP Suite Level suites or Jim Beam Suite). On certain game days, the Yankees may elect not to take batting practice, infield workouts or both.
Derek Jeter’s final homestand is off to a promising start for the Yankees, who beat the Blue Jays for the second straight night and capitalized on their usual spanking of Mark Buehrle. The Yanks’ dominance over the workhorse lefthander has covered a decade and shows no sign of letting up.
The Yankees stung Buehrle for five runs and eight hits and two walks in six innings to post their 12th consecutive winning decision against him. Buehrle has not defeated the Yankees since April 10, 2004 with the White Sox. His overall record against the Bombers is 1-14 with a 6.21 ERA in 120 1/3 innings, including 1-8 with a 5.94 ERA at Yankee Stadium.
This has been a see-saw season for Buehrle. Remember, his record was 10-1 in early June. Friday night’s loss dropped his record for the season to 12-10. Four of those losses have been to the Yankees. Hiroki Kuroda continued his strong second half with 6 2/3 sturdy innings and ran his record to 11-9.
Jeter delighted the Stadium crowd of 40,059 with two singles and had fans on their feet with a flyout to the warning track in left field in the seventh inning.
There was a downside to the game, however, as Jacoby Ellsbury was forced out of the game and may be sidelined for an indefinite period because of a strained right hamstring.
The Blue Jays had given Buehrle a 2-0 lead by the time he took the mound, thanks to Edwin Encarnacion’s two-run home run off the left field foul pole in the top of the first inning. The Yanks cut the margin in half in the bottom half on a double by Ellsbury and singles by Jeter and Brian McCann, but a bigger rally was snuffed when Mark Teixeira grounded into a double play.
Ellsbury thrust Kuroda and the Yankees into the lead in the third inning by following a leadoff single by Ichiro Suzuki with his 16th home run. Ellsbury got his third RBI of the game in the Yankees’ two-run fourth. Batting with the bases loaded and one out, the center fielder beat the play at first base to avoid being doubled up as a run scored. A second run immediately followed on an errant throw to first base by Jose Reyes.
Ellsbury remained on the bases the rest of the inning but did not come onto the field for the fifth inning. He was to undergo a magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) exam later in the evening.
Kuroda overcame the first-inning homer by Encarnacion and pitched well for the most part into the seventh. The Blue Jays got an unearned run in the fifth. Reyes singled, stole second and continued to third on a throwing error by McCann. Jose Bautista notched his 100th RBI of the season on a grounder to third base.
Bautista had another RBI situation in the seventh when he came up with two out and runners on second and third. Kuroda, who gave up a single to Anthony Gose and a double by Reyes with two down, was replaced by lefthander Josh Outman, who got ahead 0-2 in the count against Bautista before walking him to fill the bases.
Esmil Rogers then came in against the dangerous Encarnacion and retired him on a grounder to shortstop. The Yanks’ bullpen came through again in the eighth. Adam Lind led off with a single and was balked to second.
Dioner Navarro put a scare into the crowd with a fly ball to right field that Suzuki caught on the warning track. Lind crossed to third but was stranded as Adam Warren took over and struck out Danny Valencia and Munenori Kawasaki. Warren followed that with a 1-2-3 ninth for his third save.
Meanwhile, the Royals were losing, which meant the Yankees might have cut the deficit in the wild-card standings to four games with nine to play.
CC Sabathia was honored before Friday night’s game against the Blue Jays at Yankee Stadium as the Yankees’ nominee among the 30 finalists for the 2014 Roberto Clemente Award presented by Chevrolet. The award has been presented since 1971 to a player who represents the game of baseball through positive contributions on and off the field, including sportsmanship and community involvement.
Each major league club nominates one player to be considered for the Clemente Award in an effort to pay tribute to the Hall of Famer’s achievements and character by recognizing current players who understand the value of helping others. Wednesday marked the 13th annual Roberto Clemente Day, which was established by Major League Baseball to honor Clemente’s legacy and to officially recognize officially award nominees and to honor his legacy. The 15-time All-Star right fielder died in a plane crash New Year’s Eve 1972 while attempting to deliver supplies to earthquake victims in Nicaragua. The award was known as the Commissioner’s Award in 1971 and ’72.
Earning his second nomination for the Clemente Award, Sabathia, a 2011 nominee as well, along with his wife, Amber, established the “PitCCh In” Foundation in 2009. The foundation is committed to the care and needs of inner-city children, while helping to raise self-esteem through sports activities and education. Since 2009, “PitCCh In” has given more than 15,500 youngsters new backpacks filled with back-to-school essentials in Sabathia’s hometown of Vallejo, Calif.
Each December since 2011, Sabathia has hosted an annual party for 52 members of the Madison Square Boys & Girls Columbus Clubhouse at the MLB Fan Cave. This past January, Sabathia hosted a “PitCCh In” Foundation ProCamps event for more than 200 children, held on CC Sabathia Field at Vallejo High School.
Last off-season, Sabathia also hosted low-income Vallejo teens for a day of bowling and a shopping spree at Nike Town; took part in the 25th Tampa Holiday Concert, where he and his wife read to more than 1,000 children; and held at Central Park the third annual CC Challenge fundraising event, an adventurous three-hour scavenger hunt modeled after The Amazing Race. Most recently, CC helped local children ease back into the school year by visiting P.S. 73 in the Bronx Sept. 5, handing out new backpacks, participating in a question-and-answer session and signing autographs.
Fans are encouraged to participate in the process of selecting the national Roberto Clemente Award recipient by visiting ChevyBaseball.com, which is powered by MLB Advanced Media, to vote for one of the 30 club nominees. Voting ends Sunday, Oct. 6, and participating fans will be automatically registered for a chance to win a trip to the 2014 World Series where the national winner of the award will be announced.
The winner of the fan vote will receive one vote among those cast by the selection panel of dignitaries, which includes commissioner Bud Selig; MLB chief operating officer Rob Manfred; MLB Goodwill Ambassador Vera Clemente, Roberto’s widow; and representatives from Chevrolet, MLB Network, MLB.com, ESPN, FOX Sports and TBS, among others.
Yankees players who have received the Clemente Award were Ron Guidry in 1984, Don Baylor in 1985 and Derek Jeter in 2009. Others who played for the Yankees but won the award while with other clubs were Phil Niekro with the Braves in 1980, Dave Winfield with the Twins in 1994, Al Leiter with the Mets in 2000 and Carlos Beltran with the Cardinals last year. Leiter’s broadcast partner in the YES Network booth, Ken Singleton, won the award in 1982 with the Orioles.
Among the other winners are Hall of Famers Willie Mays, Brooks Robinson, Al Kaline, Willie Stargell, Lou Brock, Rod Carew, Gary Carter, Cal Ripken Jr., Barry Larkin, Ozzie Smith, Kirby Puckett and Tony Gwynn.