Louisville Slugger® retires P72 bat model in honor of Derek Jeter
Firsts 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 today that it's never done in its 130 years in the game - it retired a bat model in honor of a player.To show its respect and admiration for Derek Jeter, Louisville Slugger announced it is retiring his famous P72.
"Derek has swung one bat model from one bat company his entire career," said James Sass, Director of Professional Baseball Sales for the Louisville, Kentucky-based company. "Derek has made over 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 Jeter with their decision in a pre-game presentation of "The Last P72" in Yankee Stadium.
RE-NAMING THE P72 FOR DEREK JETER
The P72 has been one of the more popular models with MLB players over the decades. In addition to Jeter, who now 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 and his incredible 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bats again;the company says it will invoke a grandfather clause to use P72 for any descendent of the player the bat was originally made: Les Pinkham
RETIRING P72 WILL BENEFIT JETER'S TURN2 FOUNDATION
In addition to retiring the P72 model number, Louisville Slugger also 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 exhibitin its main gallery in Louisville. The museum provided a check for $5,000 to the Turn 2 Foundation for the bat, to set the bar for these rare and collectible Derek Jeter P72s. For more information on the Turn 2 Foundation, please visit www.turn2foundation.org.
FAST FACTS ABOUT DEREK JETER'S P72 MODEL LOUISVILLE SLUGGER BAT
• Derek Jeter ordered 33.5-inch, 31 ounce P72 model bats in 1995 and 1996.
• Derek went to a longer and heavier 34-inch, 32 ounce model P72 Louisville Slugger starting in the 1997 season. He's stayed with the 34-inch, 32 ounce model ever since.
• In 20 MLB seasons, Jeter has ordered more than 2,500 P72 model Louisville Slugger bats.
• The P72 model has a medium size barrel, thin handle and balanced weight that make it good for getting the bat quickly through the hitting zone.
• Other players currently in MLB who swing the Louisville Slugger P72 model are Lyle Overbay and Kelly Johnson.
• Previous players who swung the P72 include Cal Ripken, Jr., Robin Yount, Andy Van Slyke, Ivan Rodriguez, Bill Spiers, Billy Beane, Chico Walker, Chris James, Dale Berra, Dann Bilardelli, Darrell Porter, George Foster, Garth Iorg, Gary Gaetti, Glenn Hubbard, Ivan Calderon, Jose Cruz, Junior Ortiz, Mel Hall, Mike Easler, Orlando Mercado, Rich Renteria, Sandy Alomar, Jr., Tom Foley, Tony Pena, Von Hayes, Willie Aikens, Willie Upshaw, Gerald Williams, Harold Reynolds, Juan Gonzalez, Nelson Liriano and Nomar Garciaparra.
• Louisville Slugger created the P72 in 1954 for Leslie Wayne Pinkham, a minor league player from Elizabethtown, Kentucky who was playing AAA 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."
• Les Pinkham's son Bill also became a pro player in the Cincinnati Reds organization. Bill Pinkham also used his father's P72 bat model.
• Louisville Slugger presented Derek Jeter with a special award to commemorate the retiring of the P72 model number. The award features the last P72 ever made for Jeter.
• Following 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.
• The plaque with the above inscription bears the signature of Hillerich & Bradsby Co./Louisville Slugger fifth generation CEO John A. Hillerich IV, great, great grandson of the company's founder and great grandson of the creator of the Louisville Slugger bat.