Joe Pepitone just wants his bat back.
Pepitone, the former Yankee first baseman, is suing the Baseball Hall of Fame for failure to return a bat that he says belonged to him that has been displayed in Cooperstown for over 50 years.
The former Yankee first baseman says in a lawsuit that the bat that Mickey Mantle used on May 14, 1967 — the day that Mantle hit his 500th career home run — was actually loaned to the Baseball Hall of Fame by a Yankee official — not donated, as the Baseball Hall claims it was.
In turn, Pepitone wants the bat back.
The lawsuit reads (via The Athletic):
Pepitone’s Bat is a one-of-a-kind historical baseball artifact with an estimated value of more than $500,000. Pepitone did not gift, sell, assign, or in any way transferred his sole ownership interest in the Bat to any person or entity. Pepitone unequivocally demanded that the Museum return the Bat on Sept. 1, 2020, as promised. The Museum has unreasonably and unlawfully refused Pepitone’s demand to return the Bat and continues to possess the Bat without legal cause or justification over Pepitone’s objection.
Pepitone and the Hall are locked in a he-said-he-said conundrum, with no paperwork involved that landed the bat in Cooperstown, according to The Athletic.
The Hall says the bat was donated by the Yankees, while Pepitone says that Robert Fishel, a former Yankee executive, loaned it to the Hall of Fame after Mantle hit home run No. 500.
“This bat is one of the tens of thousands of artifacts that, over the last 85 years, have been donated to the Hall of Fame by players, teams, leagues, and fans. Artifacts allow us to honor the game and fulfill our not-for-profit mission to Preserve History, Honor Excellence, and Connect Generations,” the Hall said.
Interestingly enough, this isn’t the weirdest story involving Joe Pepitone and Mickey Mantle.