Joe You Coulda Made Us Proud

I read “Ball Four” before I read “Joe You Coulda Made Us Proud”, and good too because it was obvious the former paved the way for the later. Jim Bouton opened up the baseball world to me. I understood what went on in the dugouts and hotels and heads of baseball players; it was fun. What a fun and revealing book I still remember most of it to this day — I read the book around 1976.

With Jim Bouton having paved the way, Joe Pepitone revealed what went on in his hotel rooms and head. It was an X-rated version of Bouton’s book. Joe was amongst other things, a sex addict. To the point where he was bringing homeless bag ladies into his hotel room at 3 in the morning. And worse. Yes it can get worse. Sex with your stroke-ridden aunt while she lay on her hospital bed bad.  At the end, he hated baseball so much, a ball rolled his way hit by kids in a schoolyard, and he didn’t want to pick it up and throw it back to them.

It was a hard-core book I remember those bits to this day. I read the book in 1977 or so.

In the late seventies, several years later, I remember reading a newspaper story that Joe Pepitone was stopped by the cops who found explosives in his trunk. Maybe it was fireworks or firearms, not really sure. He was linked to the mob.

This past summer at Yankee Stadium I happened into a line to get an autograph from several old-time Yankees. The first guy in the lineup was bigger than life — big, burly, gregarious, funny, really at home with all the fans there — cracking jokes. Nobody on line next to me knew who he was. Could it be.. Joe Pepitone? Nah..

I finally got up to him on the line, and I shook his hand. Big bear hands. I asked him.. “who ARE you?”.

“WHO AM I????” he bellowed. “You don’t know me?.. I’m Joe Pepitone!”

And he cracked a bunch of jokes to all around about no one knowing who Joe Pepitone is anymore. What a great guy. No ego. I said, “I thought it was you but wasn’t sure — I read your book!”. He kind of humphed in a kind of ‘oh that’ reaction.

We took a picture together. And he continued his larger-than-life gregariousness.


  1. Joe Pepitone : Million-dollar talent,ten-cent head.(Oh,and like Jon Lennon,Pepitone was born Oct.9,1940; unlike Mr. Yoko Ono , Joe’s still with us.Happy 81st birthday,Joey P.!!!)

  2. It was probably 1962. My buddy Mike & me we’re 11. We’d go to doubleheaders at the stadium. Leave Brooklyn at around 1030am. The best place to sit was in the upper deck directly behind home plate. If it was the second place team, possibly only the last two rows were general admission for $1.30. If you were in the last row, you could look out onto the street through the 2 inch vertical gaps in the concrete, which were filthy. Anyway, I think it was the White Sox, first game. Tied in the bottom of the ninth. 1st & 2nd. No. 25 Pepitone comes up. I still remember the crack of the bat – like a gun shot. Line shot just to the right of 2nd base, about 2 feet off the ground. Yankees win. Pepitone was considered the best clutch Yankee hitter.

  3. Joe Pepitone was a total asshat and embarrassment as a player and mostly, as a NY Yankee!
    He NEVER lived up to the hype nor his potential, most of his failure was not only due to his sex addiction, but also his drug and alcohol addictions!

    Used to hear the joked about him such as
    “Here comes Joe, you better watch him, he might snort the first base line, thinking it’s coke!”
    He was a joke!
    As a REAL fan and brain of the game who ISN’T blinded by celeb/star status, such as YOU are, I can say that I’ve met him more than once and he DID have a HUGE ego, he ALWAYS had one, you must be ultra clueless to have not noticed it!

    Is IS OBVIOUS that you know NOTHING about baseball!
    But I’m not surprised, since you ARE the dope who thinks Chasen Shrive is a “Terrific lefty set up guy!”
    You think that LOSER is “Terrific”?
    Than you REALLY know NOTHING about baseball!,
    nor a GOOD pitcher from bad,
    I’ve got news for ya,
    Shrive IS BAD!
    REAL BAD! That IS why he is no longer a NY Yankee!

    Some of us Yankee fans are actually GLAD that they finally sent that BUM packing!
    That BUM gives up WAY too many homers, especially to lefties!
    And anyone who fully understands the game knows that when lefty relievers give up dingers to lefty batters, it’s NOT a good day, not a good game and you are NOT a good lefty!!

    HE didn’t have many good days!
    Shrieve has given up 37 homers in only 201 career innings!
    Far, far, far from “terrific”!

    Get a clue, dumbass!

    • Your response is longer than the article! If you’d like to write for Yankees.Blue let us know!

      PS: Shreve did some good things for the Yankees, and pitched well for St. Louis after the trade. Yanks got Luke Voit for him — great trade so far but that is only known with perfect hindsight — you having written the above after the season was over. Pepitone was a terrific guy in person.

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