NEW YORK — Joe Pepitone, an All-Star and Gold Glove first baseman on the 1960s New York Yankees who gained renown for his flamboyant personality, hairpieces and penchant for nightlife, has died at age 82.

Pepitone was living with his daughter, Cara Pepitone ,at her house in Kansas City, Missouri, and was found dead Monday morning, according to BJ Pepitone, a son of the former player. The cause of death was not immediately clear, but BJ Pepitone said a heart attack was suspected.

The Yankees said in a statement Pepitone’s “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.”

Born in Brooklyn, Pepitone went to Manual Training High School, signed with the Yankees in 1958 and made his big league debut in 1962. He helped the Yankees to their second straight World Series title, a team led by Mickey Mantle, Roger Maris and Elston Howard.

Pepitone drew attention for his off-the-field conduct. In a time when most players were staid and conformist, Pepitone was thought to be the first to bring a hair dryer into the clubhouse, an artifact later given to the Baseball Reliquary and displayed at the Burbank Central Library in California during a 2004 exhibition: “The Times They Were A-Changin’: Baseball in the Age of Aquarius.”

He posed nude for a January 1975 edition of Foxylady magazine.


“Things were a little different back then, sure,” Pepitone told Rolling Stone in 2015. “When I brought the hair dryer into the clubhouse, they thought I was a hairdresser or something; they didn’t know what the hell was going on, you know? I’d walk in with a black Nehru jacket on, beads, my hair slicked back; it was ridiculous. I think about it now, and I laugh.”

Jim Bouton, in his groundbreaking 1970 book “Ball Four” that revealed the inner working of baseball teams, recounted how “Pepitone took to wearing the hairpieces when his hair started to get thin on top. … He carries around all kinds of equipment in a little Blue Pan Am bag.”

Pepitone’s 1975 autobiography, “Joe, You Coulda Made Us Proud,” detailed nightlife with Frank Sinatra, smoking marijuana with Mantle and Whitey Ford and Pepitone’s jailing at Rikers Island.

Yankees owner George Steinbrenner brought Pepitone back as a minor league hitting instructor in 1980 and promoted him to the big league team two years later. Pepitone said he would even trim his wigs to comply with the Yankees grooming policy.

“This one,” he told The New York Times, holding one wig, “is my gamer. It’s got gray in it. The longer one is my going-outer.”

Pepitone was jailed at Rikers Island for about four months in 1988 following two misdemeanor drug convictions, then was rehired by the Yankees to work with minor leaguers. He was arrested in 1992 at a Catskills resort for a brawl that started when a man called him a “washed up nobody” and pleaded guilty in 1995 to driving while intoxicated.


He joined the Yankees at a high point in the team’s history. After winning the 1962 title, New York went on to take American League pennants the following two years only to lose in the Series, and Pepitone became an All-Star in three consecutive years starting in 1963.

He stayed with the Yankees through their decline and was traded to Houston after the 1969 season for Curt Blefary.

Pepitone went on the play for the Chicago Cubs from 1970-73 and finished his career with Atlanta and the Yakult Atoms of Japan’s Central League in 1973. He hit .258 with 219 homers and 721 RBI.

BJ Pepitone and Cara are children from Pepitone’s third marriage, to Stephanie, who died in 2021. BJ Pepitone said the family had not yet decided on funeral plans.

JAPAN: Trevor Bauer, effectively exiled from Major League Baseball after his suspension for violating the league’s sexual assault policy expired, has reportedly agreed to play in Japan.

The Yokohama Bay Stars have reached agreement on a one-year, $3 million contract with Bauer, Sanspo Sports reported. .


The Dodgers released Bauer rather than reinstate him to their roster. They remain liable for his $22.5 million salary this season. Had Bauer signed with another major league team, that team would have paid Bauer the MLB minimum of $720,000 and the Dodgers would have paid the balance.

RANGERS: Two-time National League Cy Young Award winner Jacob deGrom finally pitched in a game for the Texas Rangers, though it was on a back field against minor leaguers.

The Rangers have been cautious with their prized addition since he reported tightness in his left side before the first spring training workout just less than a month ago. His first spring start came in the more-controlled environment for Triple-A Round Rock on Monday, when he struck out five of the eight batters he faced while throwing 20 of 24 pitches for strikes over two innings against Kansas City minor leaguers at the complex the big league franchises share in Surprise, Arizona.

While deGrom was pitching in his minor league game, another of the Rangers’ offseason additions was doing the same at the Surprise complex. Nathan Eovaldi, who has also dealt with tightness in his side, allowed two hits in two scoreless innings pitching for Double-A Frisco. The right-hander threw 22 of his 29 pitches for strikes.

METS:  Max Scherzer made his scheduled start in a minor league game.

The right-hander allowed five runs (three earned) over parts of five innings. Three of the innings were cut short because of his pitch count.


Tylor Megill, who could get a shot in the starting rotation due to lefty José Quintana’s fractured rib, struck out three in four scoreless innings in the main game for the Mets against the Miami Marlins.

The New York Mets expect to have an update this week on the status of left-hander Quintana,.

Mets GM Billy Eppler said the team was still getting more information from doctors after the pitcher went from Florida to New York for further evaluation.

YANKEES: Anthony Rizzo said he felt fine after taking some batting practice a day after being scratched from the lineup because of his back.

While Rizzo didn’t play again Monday, the team has said it didn’t believe the problem was serious. The 33-year-old first baseman who is going into his 13th season acknowledged early in spring training that he would be crazy to say he wouldn’t have a back issue this year. He received an epidural injection last season.

ORIOLES: Luis Ortiz, a minor league pitcher who was in the Baltimore Orioles’ organization, has died after battling cancer. He was 20.


Born Sept. 17, 2002, in Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic, Ortiz was signed by the Orioles as a free agent in 2019. The left-hander pitched at the rookie league level in 2021.


PUERTO RICO 10, ISRAEL 0: José De León and three relievers combined to pitch a perfect game in Miami as Puerto Rico routed Israel in a game called after eight innings because of the tournament’s 10-run mercy rule.

De León tied a WBC record with 10 strikeouts in 5 2/3 innings. The right-hander was lifted after he fanned Spencer Horwitz on his 64th pitch, one under the tournament limit for starting pitchers in the first round. He exited to a huge ovation from the prohibitive Puerto Rico crowd of 27,813.

Javier Báez doubled twice and Francisco Lindor tripled and singled for Puerto Rico, which finished with 11 hits and improved to 2-1.

Puerto Rico struck quickly against Israel starter Colton Gordon with a three-run first. Báez hit a two-run double and scored on Eddie Rosario’s double.


The extra-base hits continued for Puerto Rico in the second, resulting in another three runs. Kiké Hernández made it 5-0 with a two-run double and raced home on Emmanuel Rivera’s triple.

Lindor’s two-run triple keyed a three-run fifth, and Hernández’s run-scoring single in the eighth ended the game.

BRITAIN 7, COLOMBIA 5: Jaden Rudd hit a go-ahead two-run double in the fifth inning, Harry Ford added a solo homer and Britain won its first game of the WBC, at Phoenix.

DOMINICAN REPUBLIC 6, NICARAGUA 1: San Diego Padres stars Juan Soto and Manny Machado homered, and the Dominican Republic picked up its first win of WBC pool play, at Miami.

Rafael Devers hit a two-out RBI double in the first against Nicaragua starter JC Ramirez, driving in Soto for a 1-0 lead.

• Duque Hebbert turned just one inning of work in the World Baseball Classic into a contract.


The 21-year-old pitcher for Nicaragua entered Monday’s game against the Dominican Republic in the ninth inning and struck out Soto, Julio Rodríguez and Devers.

That feat impressed the Detroit Tigers enough to offer Hebbert a minor league contract after the game.

SOUTH KOREA 22, CHINA 2: Kunwoo Park and Ha-Seong Kim hit grand slams in consecutive innings, and South Korea set a World Baseball Classic scoring record by routing China in a game between already eliminated teams at Tokyo.

South Korea broke the runs record that had stood since Japan beat China 18-2 in the first round of the initial WBC in 2006.

AUSTRALIA 8, CZECH REPUBLIC 3: Milwaukee Brewers prospect Alex Hall had four RBI as Australia (3-1) advanced past the first round for the first time in five WBC appearances.


MEXICO 11, UNITED STATES 5: Joey Meneses hit two homers, including a crucial three-run shot in the fourth inning, to lead Mexico over the United States at Phoenix.


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