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

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Jose 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 a .247 career batting average with 344 home runs and 975 RBIs. He played 15 seasons and donned the jersey of eight franchises along the way, but it was his time with Toronto 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.

His tiebreaking three-run home run in the seventh inning of a deciding Game 5 of the 2015 American League Divisional 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.”

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