|A Mint Pros Exclusive Event - Joe Pepitone Book Signing
April 2, 2011
Book Ends, 211 East Ridgewood Ave.
April 8, 2011
5:00 - 7:00 PM
18 West 33rd Street
New York, NY 10001-3300
Joseph (Joe) Anthony Pepitone (born October 9, 1940, in Brooklyn, New York)
is a former Major League Baseball first baseman and outfielder for the New York Yankees (1962-1969), Houston Astros (1970), Chicago Cubs (1970-1973) and Atlanta Braves (1973).
In 1958, Pepitone was signed by the New York Yankees as an amateur free agent. After playing four seasons in the minor leagues, he broke in with the Yankees in 1962, playing behind Moose Skowron at first base. A much-discussed legend was that while on his way to 1962 spring training in Florida, Pepitone spent his entire $25,000 signing bonus. He bought a Ford Thunderbird, a boat which he towed with the Thunderbird, and a dog. He arrived at Yankees spring training in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, with a new car, a new boat, a new dog, and was wearing a new shark-skin suit.
Pepitone had a powerful swing and an excellent glove, and some of Pepitone's tougher friends thought he should be the regular first baseman ahead of Skowron. They offered to help Joe out by breaking Skowron's legs; Pepitone declined. The Yankee brass believed he could handle the job, and before the 1963 season traded Skowron to the Dodgers. Pepitone responded admirably, hitting .271 with 27 HR and 89 RBI. He went on to win three Gold Gloves, but in the 1963 World Series he made an infamous error. With the score tied 1-1 in the seventh inning of Game Four, he lost a routine Clete Boyer throw in the white shirtsleeves of the Los Angeles crowd, and the batter, Jim Gilliam, went all the way to third base and scored the Series-winning run on a sacrifice fly. He redeemed himself somewhat in the 1964 Series against the Cardinals with a Game 6 grand slam.
The ever-popular Pepitone remained a fixture throughout the decade, even playing center field after bad knees reduced Mickey Mantle's mobility. After the 1969 season he was traded to the Astros for Curt Blefary. Later he played for the Cubs and finished his major-league career with the Braves.
In June 1973, Pepitone accepted an offer of $70,000 a year to play for the Yakult Atoms, a professional baseball team in Japan's Central League. While in Japan, he hit .163 with one home run and two RBIs in 14 games played. According to an edition of Total Baseball, Pepitone spent his days in Japan skipping games for claimed injuries only to be at night in discos, behavior which led the Japanese to adopt his name into their vernacular--as a word meaning "goof off".
Pepitone was a member of the 1963, 1964 and 1965 American League All Star Team. He won the Gold Glove award for first basemen in 1965, 1966 and 1969.
Publishes memoir, life after baseball
Jim Bouton talks extensively about Pepitone in his book "Ball Four." Pepitone is described as being extremely vain. Bouton said that Pepitone went nowhere without a bag containing hair products for his rapidly balding head. Pepitone even had two toupees, one for general wear and one for under his baseball cap, which he called his "game piece." Bouton told a humorous story about how the game piece came loose one day when Pepitone took off his cap for the national anthem.
In 1975, Pepitone published his own tell-all baseball memoir, titled Joe, You Coulda Made Us Proud. The book received substantial attention for its many revelations.
In 1975 he posed nude for Foxy Lady magazine, featuring full frontal nudity. In the late 70's, Pepitone played for the New Jersey Statesmen in the American Professional Slow Pitch League (APSPL), one of three professional softball leagues active during this period. Pepitone would also serve the front office of the North American Softball League (NASL) for their only season in 1980.
In June 1982, Pepitone was hired as a batting coach with the Yankees, but was replaced by Lou Piniella later in the season.
In the late 1990s, Pepitone was given a job in the Yankees' front office. Recently divorced from his third wife, Pepitone currently resides in Farmingdale, New York.
He currently spends his time signing autographs and baseball memorabilia at autograph shows, and owns a Downers Grove, Illinois real estate agency.
Joe Pepitone was first mentioned in the 1987 Golden Girls episode titled Whose Face is this, Anyway. In this episode, Blanche tells Dorothy that she cannot possibly begin to comprehend the trauma a gorgeous woman goes through when she realizes her beauty is about to fade. Dorothy yells out, "And who do you see when you look at me Blanche, Joe Pepitone?!".
Joe Pepitone was mentioned in the 1993 Seinfeld episode titled The Visa. In the episode, Cosmo Kramer reluctantly describes his experience at a recent baseball fantasy camp, wherein Pepitone was crowding home plate while Kramer was pitching, leading to Kramer's beanball that resulted in a subsequent camp-ending brawl, in which Kramer punched Mickey Mantle.
Pepitone was mentioned in the 1994 Seinfeld episode titled The Mom and Pop Store. In the episode, George Costanza buys John Voight's car, thinking it belonged to Jon Voight the actor. George tells Mr. Morgan, "Well, I think we need more special days at the stadium, you know? Like, uh...Joe Pepitone Day. Or, uh...Jon Voight Day."
Cosmo Kramer also refers to Joe Pepitone in the 1996 episode titled The Rye as the designer of New York City's Central Park, while driving a hansom cab through Central Park.
Pepitone is also mentioned in the sixth season of the HBO series Curb Your Enthusiasm episode titled "The Anonymous Donor", where Larry David's Pepitone jersey gets lost at the dry cleaners. Larry and Leon Black then go out trying to find who is wearing it.
Joe Pepitone is also mentioned in Season 1, episode 7, of The Sopranos, episode entitled "Down Neck". Tony is having a flashback to his childhood during a therapy session with Dr.Melfi and he recalls walking out of his house when he was around 8 or 9 years old and his Uncle June yelling "Anthony, you watch the game last night?", "no my mom made me go to bed" tony says and then Uncle June replies "Joey Pepitone, three RBIs"...
In the 1996 Mystery Science Theater 3000 episode "Zombie Nightmare", Mike Nelson refers to Joe Pepitone.