A former New York Yankee is suing the National Baseball Hall of Fame over a special bat he claims belongs to him, and the suit will be argued just down the road from Cooperstown.
Joe Pepitone filed suit on July 7th in a U.S. Federal Court in the city of Utica, NY where he asked for the return of the historic bat, once used by his pal Mickey Mantle to hit his 500th home run back in May of 1967. Pepitone says the bat was his and Mantle borrowed it to smack the historic home run out of Yankee Stadium. Afterwards, he says Mantle left it in his locker for Pepitone to reclaim, but when he went to get it, it was gone. He says he was told Yankees management gave the bat to the Hall of Fame, and it's been there ever since.
According to the suit, "Pepitone’s Bat was a natural stain wooden bat, at 35 inches and 29 ounces. The Bat was emblazoned with a facsimile of Pepitone’s signature on the barrel between the words “GENUINE” and “LOUISVILLE SLUGGER.” Stamped further down on the barrel of the Bat was a stylized “POWERIZED” followed by an oblong circle containing “LOUISVILLE SLUGGER 125 HILLERICH & BRADSBY Co MADE IN U.S.A. LOUISVILE, KY."
Pepitone claims he willingly let the Hall of Fame take the bat, but only on the condition that it would be returned when and if he asked for it back. The former Yankee says he's now asked for it back and the Hall of Fame in Cooperstown is claiming it now belongs to them.
Why does Pepitone want the bat back now? It might be due to the fact that this famous bat is now worth more than $500,000.
The suit claims that 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 and contrary to Pepitone’s legal and equitable right to possession." He says he is the sole owner of the bat and he should be able to get it back. Pepitone is asking for the bat back, or be awarded the bat's monetary value along with damages, which would be no less than $1 million.
Click here to read the court petition.
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