‘Joey Bats’ inks 1-day deal, retires with Blue Jays

‘Joey Bats’ inks 1-day deal, retires with Blue Jays

Revisiting Jose Bautista’s epic bat flip (0:53)

On Oct. 14, 2015, Jose Bautista launched an epic bat flip after crushing a three-run home run in the bottom of the seventh inning, helping Toronto win the ALDS. (0:53)

  • ESPN News Services

Aug 11, 2023, 10:14 AM ET

José Bautista, whose playoff home run — and the bat flip that followed — cemented him in Toronto Blue Jays history, has signed a one-day contract to retire as a member of the team with which he played 10 seasons.

Bautista, 42, leaves the game as a six-time All-Star and with a .247 career batting average with 344 home runs, 975 RBIs and 1,022 runs. He played 15 seasons and donned the jersey of eight franchises along the way, but it was his time with Toronto from 2008 to 2017 for which “Joey Bats” will be remembered and why his name is being added to the team’s Level of Excellence at the Rogers Centre on Saturday.

Bautista turned into one of the game’s most feared sluggers with the Blue Jays, swatting 288 homers with Toronto, including a major league-leading 54 in 2010 — a franchise record — and 43 in 2011.

“There aren’t many names as synonymous with Blue Jays baseball as José Bautista, and it is our great honor that he will officially retire in a Blue Jays jersey,” president and CEO Mark Shapiro said. “On behalf of a generation of Blue Jays fans that had the privilege of watching his clutch moments on the field and inspiring work ethic — thank you, José, for a mesmerizing decade representing the Toronto Blue Jays.”

Bautista’s tiebreaking three-run home run in the seventh inning of a deciding Game 5 of the 2015 American League Division Series against the Texas Rangers was capped by a memorable flip of the bat before he started rounding the bases in front of a raucous Toronto crowd.

“I kind of blacked out after the swing, hearing the roar of the crowd and the emotion of the moment,” Bautista told ESPN in 2021. “I don’t really recall anything in particular until I was catching my breath back at the bench.

“It was kind of weird, because I wasn’t a notorious bat-flipper. I might have done it two or three times in my whole career, but now I’m kind of known for that, so that’s kind of weird.”

A Bautista bobblehead, capturing the memorable moment, will be presented to fans entering Rogers Centre on Saturday.

“It’s a great memory,” Bautista said this week. “It’s a great moment, and ultimately, I think that’s why we play the sport, to create great memories through the entertainment that we provide as a form of entertainment.”

Bautista also represented the Baltimore Orioles, Kansas City Royals, Pittsburgh Pirates, Atlanta Braves, New York Mets and Philadelphia Phillies during his career, which spanned 1,798 games.

The Associated Press and Reuters contributed to this report.

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