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Tuesday, May 12, 2015

‘Joe, You Coulda Made Us Proud:’ The Best Baseball Book You’ve Never Read

Unless you’re a longtime Yankees fan (or a baseball fan over the age of fifty), Joe Pepitone probably doesn’t mean that much to you. Larry David name-checked him on a handful of Seinfeld episodes – including the one where Kramer gets kicked out of Yankees fantasy camp after plunking Pepitone with a fastball – and literally invoked his name (“Joe Pepitone up in this ############!”) in a memorable Curb Your Enthusiasm moment. But unlike former Yankees teammates Yogi Berra or Mickey Mantle, Pepitone is hardly a household name these days. And since Joe, You Coulda Made Us Proud has been out of print for several decades, it’s highly probable that you’ve never even heard of it.

Which is a damn shame, because Joe, You Coulda Made Us Proud is quite simply the best baseball book you’ve never read. Written with the help of journalist Berry Stainback (who passed away in 2014), Pepitone’s tale is part candid confessional, part therapy session, part bawdy bar conversation over a beer or twelve; it’s Goodfellas with a touch of Ball Four and a heaping helping of Penthouse Letters. And, lucky for you, it’s just been reissued by Sports Publishing in a new edition that packs the same unexpurgated gut-punch of its original Playboy Press edition….

Pepitone’s an entertaining raconteur, and the book includes uproarious stories about him partying with Frank Sinatra in Palm Springs, taking the stage with Tom Jones at the behest of some mafia heavies, sharing an apartment (and some dynamite weed) with Mickey Mantle and Joe’s unsuccessful attempt to run his own bar in Chicago – the brilliantly named Joe Pepitone’s Thing – during his stint with the Cubs. The first ballplayer to bring his own hair dryer into a major league clubhouse, Joe becomes obsessed with hiding his rapidly receding hairline under a series of ridiculous hairpieces; during one sexual encounter, he becomes so distracted by his slipping toupee that his fed-up date implores him to “take your hat off and #### me right.”

 

RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: May 12, 2015 at 10:20 PM | 19 comment(s)
  Beats: baseball books, frank sinatra, joe pepitone

 

 

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