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Saturday, April 2, 2022

Jericho the Bat Dog got his break from Mike Veeck, became among team's most popular members

Famed baseball promoter Mike Veeck took over the independent high-A Miami Miracle in 1990 and he needed some gimmicks, The Tampa Bay Times wrote that June. 

Among his first was Jericho the dog, who ended up retrieving foul balls and became one of the most popular members of the team, The Times wrote.

"Jericho is startlingly simple and different. He's not like those costumed mascots at big-league games. He's real," Veeck told The Times. "That dog has already gotten us in USA Today, The National, Baseball America and ESPN."

That dog also got himself a baseball card and spawned a line of golden retrievers that continued entertaining baseball fans for at least 25 years.

Jericho's path to the pros began at a local Miami-area convenience store, Farm Store, Veeck recalled to The Palm Beach Post in 1991. 

"I pulled into a Farm Store one night and ordered some ice cream," Veeck recalled to The Post. "This guy goes 'Give the dog the money.' This dog brings the draw sack over in his mouth, gives it to me. I put the fin in his mouth, he turns around and takes it back to the guy at the register. Later, I'm driving around trying to figure out what the signature of the team is going to be, and then it hits me: The dog!"

By May 1990, Veeck told The Times Jericho was receiving the most autograph requests, even more than the team manager, former major league Mike Easler

Jericho continued with the club, then passed away in 1995. Members of his next three generations, including his great-grandson Rutgers, continued with the Miracle club into 2015, according to the site Legends On Deck.

1990 Minor League Tally 
Players/Coaches Featured:3,883
Made the Majors:1,296-33.4%
Never Made Majors:2,587-66.6%-X
5+ Seasons in the Majors:528
10+ Seasons in the Minors:325

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