Former New York Yankees first baseman Joe Pepitone has sued the Baseball Hall of Fame for $1 million and claims Mickey Mantle’s 500th home run bat is actually his.
Former New York Yankees Joe Pepitone has sued the National Baseball Hall of Fame for $1 million.
According to Daniel Kaplan of The Athletic, Pepitone’s lawsuit alleges the Hall of some particularly shocking behavior. Per the suit, the Mickey Mantle 500th home run bat on display in Cooperstown is not actually Mantle’s. Rather, it is Pepitone’s and both parties had an agreement that should the former Yankee ever request it back, the Hall of Fame would comply.
Pepitone further asserts that the Hall of Fame knew this all along. Yet, the charade to continue so long as the above agreement was made. Meanwhile, the Hall of Fame was indignant in a released statement:
“The bat that Mickey Mantle used to hit his 500th home run was donated to the Hall of Fame by the New York Yankees in May 1967. The Hall of Fame owns this historical bat and for more than fifty years, the Hall of Fame has preserved it and proudly put it on display for millions of fans to see as they tour the Museum.”
The New York Yankees, of course, have not commented on the matter.
In baseball terms, this is what we call a hot mess. Reading deeper into the story, this is also a case of a timeless tradition. Joe Pepitone loaned Mantle the bat in question because “it had a home run in it,” Mantle took it, and the rest is history. Bucky Dent used one of Mickey Rivers’ bats for his legendary home run in 1978, and the two are practically best friends to this day and laugh about what happened.
Maybe Pepitone wants to make some dough on the booming sports memorabilia market. For all we know, spending eight years in pinstripes and hitting 166 of his 219 career home runs as a Yankee isn’t enough on top of being a cult hero.
Kaplan states the lawsuit doesn’t mention any type of contracts regarding the bat, so chances are this could go nowhere. Stay tuned to ESNY for more updates.