Pepitone quickly grabbed the attention of Yankees’ fans. He was a charismatic player, someone who the fans could quickly gravitate towards. His stature amongst the fans continued after his playing days as his personality made him someone that could connect with almost anyone.
What could have been for former New York Yankees All Star Joe Pepitone
That personality would have only gone so far if Pepitone failed to produce. He was a solid power threat in the Yankees’ lineup, a three time All Star who surpassed the 20 homer plateau five times in his career. He was a solid defensive presence at first as well, winning three Gold Glove awards. Overall, Pepitone produced a .258/.301/.432 batting line with 219 homers in his dozen years in the majors.
But he could have been more than just a solid player and a fan favourite. He had a reputation as a playboy during his time in New York, someone who loved the nightlife and the attention. Pepitone found himself in significant debt during his playing days, admitting he never fulfilled his potential in his autobiography. Those issues also contributed to his being out of the majors at just 32 years old and his status as one of the biggest busts in Nippon Professional Baseball during his brief stint with Yakult.
Pepitone stayed around the game after his playing days. He was a professional softball player for a time before returning to baseball. He was a coach for the Yankees in 1982 and spent time in their front office. Afterwards, he had several run-ins with the law, being arrested for assault, drunk driving, and drug charges. Nonetheless, he remained a fan favourite, playing up his free spirited nature in his later years.
New York Yankees fan favourite Joe Pepitone has passed away at 82 years old. Our thoughts go out to his friends and family at this time.