On Monday, the New York Yankees officially announced the passing of Joe Pepitone, the flamboyant figure who was as renowned for his larger-than-life persona and unique on-field antics as he was for his accomplished career in baseball. He passed away at 82 years old.

“The Yankees are deeply saddened by the passing of former Yankee Joe Pepitone, whose 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,” the team statement read.

After getting shot by a schoolmate in 1957, Brooklynite Pepitone was signed by the Yankees in 1958 and made his Major League Baseball debut with them four years later.

Upon joining the team as a rookie, Moose Skowron gave way to the young and talented Bill White at first base – who then went on to hit 27 home runs in his sophomore season!

In 1964, the southpaw-hitter bashed 28 home runs and was featured in all seven games of the Yankees’ World Series defeat to the Cardinals.

The Yankees would not return to the World Series until 1976 when it was their last appearance.

Mickey Mantle’s injury in the center field caused alarm and disappointment for Yankees fans, yet Joe Pepitone brought hope to the Bronx when he replaced him. Unfortunately, being one of the symbols of their late 1960s malaise leads to jeers from his own supporters at Yankee Stadium.

Despite all the challenges during his time with The Yankees, he still managed to make three All-Star teams as well as receive three Gold Glove awards. His success earned him a trade to Houston following the 1969 season and later stints with The Cubs and Braves before retiring from Major League Baseball in 1973 after smacking 219 home runs.

In addition, he also had a brief stint in Japan.

Before being traded away from the Yankees, Pepitone was renowned for his larger-than-life personality in New York City.

He proudly wore a hairpiece and was the pioneering player to bring a blow dryer into the clubhouse.

Pepitone had a reputation for leading an extravagant and reckless lifestyle outside of baseball, ultimately resulting in the premature end of his career. The details were captured extensively by Jim Bouton’s notorious book “Ball Four”.

In 1980, he rejoined the Yankees as a minor league hitting coach before briefly joining the major league staff two years later.

“You always knew when Joe walked into a room,’’ the Yankees statement read. “His immense pride in being a Yankee was always on display.’’

Despite misdemeanor drug charges in 1985, Pepitone remained a fan favorite of the Yankees and often made appearances at Old-Timers’ Day.

As mentioned in the hit sitcom “Seinfeld” multiple times, Joe Pepitone’s legacy still pervades pop culture today. For example, Kramer mentioned drilling him during a fantasy camp game due to his close proximity to the plate and George suggested having a Joey Pepitone Day when he worked for the Yankees in The Bronx.

In early 2021, legal proceedings began between Pepitone and the Baseball Hall of Fame. According to Pepitone’s lawsuit, his intention was only for a loan when he gave away Mickey Mantle’s bat from his 500th career homer; however, the museum asserted that it had been gifted with no conditions attached.

Pepitone initially sought a staggering $1 million in damages, but ultimately withdrew his case.