Babe Ruth was part of the Baseball Hall of Fame's first class of inductees.
And now, Miss Babe Ruth will join him in Cooperstown.
Well, at least her bucket will.
Miss Babe, the beloved bat-dog for the Greensboro Grasshoppers, will retire at the end of this season. The 9-year-old black Labrador retriever worked her 638th consecutive home game Monday night, fetching bats and taking balls to the home plate umpire.
The bucket she carried those baseballs in will be donated to the National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum by Donald Moore, Babe's owner and the Hoppers president and general manager.
"This bucket is the same bucket she's used since the day she started as a 9-month-old pup," Moore said. "This is her last year, and I thought, 'You know there's some history in that thing. It would be kind of cool if Cooperstown would want it.' So I wrote 'em a letter."
Brad Horn, vice president of communications and education at the Hall of Fame, said the museum's eight-member acquisitions committee was eager to add the bucket to a 40,000-plus collection of "three-dimensional artifacts."
"We look for the ways that baseball and American culture intersect," Horn said. "The committee really loved this piece because it obviously shows the fan involvement with baseball. … We look at stories of baseball being preserved in communities all around the world. We thought this would be a unique artifact to represent something that has become such a beloved tradition in Greensboro."
Every item in the Hall of Fame is donated. And each piece has a story to tell.
Babe's bucket was bought off the rack at Lowe's. The handle was wrapped in padding to protect the soft-mouthed dog.
The custom paintjob was added by a Hoppers intern in 2006.
"It's had a lot of wear and tear over the years, but it's the same bucket," Moore said. "We've had to replace the handle a couple of times. … It's the first thing from the Hoppers organization to go to the Hall of Fame."
The Hall of Fame changes its exhibits often, and Horn said some items aren't displayed until years after they are donated.
"All pieces are reviewed once we have them in-house," Horn said. "… We have historically spotlighted recent additions to the museum's collection. We felt this was an important piece for us to have within the collection to show baseball's intersection between fans and the game."
This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.