“Derby was one of the biggest parts of our identity in the nine years of his life and it breaks my heart to share this news with our fans ahead of our 25th season,” Thunder GM Jeff Hurley said in a statement.
“His presence at our games and in the community was massive and every person and dog that interacted with him will miss him dearly,” Hurley said.
The team will celebrate the mascot’s life with Derby Day on January 26th, which would have been his 10th birthday.
Born in 2008 to then bat dog Chase, Derby made his debut in April of that year and trained for the next few seasons alongside his father on bat duties. He retrieved his first bat on April 8, 2010.
Derby became a father of his own in 2013 with the birth of son Rookie and daughter, Mickie. Rookie took up his father’s mantle full-time in 2016.
Off the field, he was a regular part of the Thunder fan outreach, appearing at schools, and community events, as well as other Minor League baseball games.
In lieu of sending the team flowers or material objects, they are asking fans for donations in Derby’s name to Trenton Thunder Charities at One Thunder Road, Trenton, NJ 08611 or to Delaware Valley Golden Retriever Rescue at 60 Vera Cruz Road, Reinholds, Pa. 17569.