Yankees baseball great Joe Pepitone dies at 82

Joe Pepitone, a three-time all-star baseball player for the New York Yankees known for his flamboyant style and partying habits, died Monday at age 82. 

Pepitone was found dead by his daughter Cara, according to son BJ who reported his death to the press. The cause of death is not known, but a heart attack is suspected.

Yankees’ statement on Pepitone’s death

The Yankees organization released a statement on Pepitone’s death.

“The Yankees are deeply saddened by the passing of former Yankee Joe Pepitone, whose playful and charismatic personality and on-field contributions made him a favorite of generations of Yankees fans even beyond his years with the team in the 1960s. As a native New Yorker, he embraced everything about being a Yankee during both his playing career – which included three All-Star appearances and three Gold Gloves – and in the decades thereafter,” the statement read.

“You always knew when Joe walked into a room – his immense pride in being a Yankee was always on display,” the statement continued. “He will be missed by our entire organization, and we offer our deepest condolences to his family, friends and all who knew him.”

Pepitone’s career

Pepitone was born and raised in Brooklyn. He joined the Yankees in 1962 at age 21. He hit .263 in his first season, in which the Yankees won the World Series, and went on to be an all-star for the next three seasons.

He helped get the Yankees to the World Series again in 1963 and 1964, but they did not win either of those times. He also got a Golden Gloves award in 1965 and 66 for his work at first base.

After eight seasons with the Yankees, Pepitone went on to play for the Houston Astros, Chicago Cubs, and Atlanta Braves before retiring in 1973.

After retirement, Pepitone went back to work on the Yankees coaching staff.

A fan favorite

Pepitone was a fan favorite at the Yankees, both for his on-field performance and his off-field antics.

Pepitone went bald early, and he wore long wigs to cover the problem. He also hung out in bars and clubs, and posed nude in Foxylady magazine in 1975.

After he came back to work for the Yankees in the 1980s, his antics continued. He spent a few months in Rikers Island in 1988 for drugs, and he was also arrested after a brawl in 1992 and a DUI in 1995.

Even so, fans loved to see him at alumni events like the old-timer games and other fan events.

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