Derek Jeter's P72 To Become First Bat Model Retired By Louisville Slugger In 133 Years
The Yankees will retire Derek Jeter's No. 2 this weekend, but it is not the only retirement connected to the former player. The Louisville Slugger P72, the only bat used by Jeter in his pro career, will become the only model number that the bat maker has ever retired in its 133-year existence. After using the model during his first two years in the minors, a 19-year-old Jeter placed his first official order for 12 black, flame tempered, ash bats in March '94, when he was about to begin playing for the Single-A Florida State League Tampa Yankees. The MLB club placed the order on his behalf until June '99, when he signed his first "Bat Contract" directly with Louisville Slugger. The nearly quarter-century relationship has included 234 separate orders for a total of 4,375 bats. Louisville Slugger VP/Corporate Communications Rick Redman said, "Jeter is the most loyal customer in Louisville Slugger's storied history." Other than two orders for a total of six maple bats in '04, all of Jeter's orders were for a full black or half black. There were also a total of 40 pink Mother's Day P72s ordered from '06-14. Jeter ordered the most bats during '01, when he ordered 556 bats. The next closest total was in '09, when he ordered 422.
THE SWING OF THINGS: While Jeter is unlikely to again swing a bat in an MLB game, he is still a Louisville Slugger client, and his bat's "retirement" comes with a couple quirky footnotes. Louisville Slugger originally created the P72 model in '54 for minor leaguer Leslie Wayne Pinkham, and although production of the P72 will now been discontinued, the bat maker has said that any descendant of Pinkham can invoke a grandfather clause to order it, and that includes Pinkham's grandson Zeke, who is a redshirt sophomore catcher at the Univ. of Louisville. Additionally, the specifications of the P72, with its medium barrel and balanced swing weight, will still exist for players to order, but it is now called the DJ2 in recognition of Jeter. Seven MLBers and more than a dozen minor leaguers ordered the DJ2 this spring.