One night, Pepitone reports, "He came to my room, him and Whitey [Ford], and they could smell the shit in the room. They said, 'We heard you do that shit. What's it like?' 'Well, try it!' 'Oh, no no no!' 'C'mon, take a hit!' They each took a hit. Next thing I know, they're talking to me about all kinds of shit, and they're laughing at anything I said.
"Later on in my career when I would go back to New York," he continues, "I would see some other ballplayers doing that shit in clubs or whatever, but they weren't people I really knew well. But on my team, at that time, I think I was probably the only one that was doing shit. I wish some other guys on the team were doing it, because then maybe I could have got that shit for nothing! Maybe they'd give me some! But when you'd come into the clubhouse with glassy eyes, they all thought you'd been out drinking, because most of the guys on the club drank pretty good, you know?"
Pepitone originally told these stories in his 1975 autobiography written with Berry Stainback, Joe, You Could Have Made Us Proud, which was optioned last year for a film adaptation. An updated version of the book was released in May.
Pepitone on Mantle and Ford: 'They each took a hit. Next thing I know, they're talking to me about all kinds of shit, and they're laughing at anything I said.'
In the book, Pepitone, who played first base for the Yankees from 1962-1969, says he and Mantle got stoned once before a spring training game. In the game, the Yankee centerfielder struck out four times. Afterwards, he told Pepitone, “I don’t know what that shit is, but keep it away from me.”
During his 16-year career, which included stints with the Astros, Cubs and Braves, Pepitone hit 219 home runs. He also homered in the 1964 World Series against the Cards.
Hall of Famer Mantle is considered one of the greatest baseball players ever. During his 18-year career with the Yankees (1951-1968), he totaled 536 home runs and batted .298. The original Mr. October had 18 World Series dingers. Mantle died in 1995.