(L to R) Lawrence Writer, James Sass, Holly Clark, Rick Redman, John Hillerich and Lisa Hillerich all with Louisville Slugger make the presentations to Derek Jeter (photo courtesy New York Yankees)
by Rick Redman
First times are rare when you’ve been in baseball as long as Louisville Slugger®, the Official Bat of Major League Baseball®. But the storied company did something at the end of the 2014 season that it’s never done in 130 years in the game. It retired a bat model in honor of a player.
In an unprecedented display of respect and admiration from a sporting goods manufacturer, Louisville Slugger announced it was retiring Derek Jeter’s famous P72. The company surprised Jeter with the announcement in a private pre-game ceremony in Yankee Stadium on September 24.
“We didn’t do this for Babe Ruth, Ted Williams, Hank Aaron or any of the other great players we’ve been associated with dating back to 1884,”said James Sass, Director of Professional Baseball Sales for the Louisville, Kentucky-based company. “Derek has swung one bat model from one bat company his entire career. He made over 12,500 plate appearances in his 20 seasons in MLB, and every single one of them was with a Louisville Slugger P72. With Derek’s 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. Louisville Slugger won’t be making the P72 anymore – in honor of Derek.”
Louisville Slugger officials gave Jeter an award to commemorate the retirement of his bat model. A P72 Jeter model bat was mounted on a three-foot base inscribed with “The Last P72” to commemorate the company’s decision.
“I signed out of high school and I was looking for a wooden bat,” Jeter said. “Louisville Slugger, it goes without saying, how reputable they are, how long they’ve been around, how much success people have had with it. In terms of the model, I just picked the bat that was shaped like my aluminum bat. It was the P72, and, in my entire career, I’ve never swung another bat.” Continue reading