Former New York Yankees star Joe Pepitone filed a lawsuit against the National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum seeking the return of the Louisville Slugger bat that Mickey Mantle used to hit his 500th career homer more ago. five decades.
In an 11-page lawsuit filed this week in federal court in upstate New York, Pepitone is also seeking compensatory damages of at least $ 1 million. The bat is currently valued at more than $ 500,000, according to the lawsuit.
The suit claims that Pepitone agreed to lend the bat to the Hall of Fame “with the understanding and on the condition that it be returned to him at any time at his request.” Pepitone claims that he has visited the Hall of Fame many times since then and was always assured by museum staff that the bat would be returned whenever he wanted.
The Hall of Fame says the bat was donated and he has owned it for more than 50 years.
“The Hall of Fame has preserved and proudly displayed it for millions of fans to see,” the museum said in a statement. “This bat is where it belongs, on display in Cooperstown for fans around the world to see.”
Mantle was nearing the end of his Hall of Fame career when he hit a Baltimore Orioles’ Stu Miller pitching into the right-field bleachers at old Yankee Stadium in May 1967. The lawsuit says Mantle wanted to use a bat. lighter than his signature model at generating bat speed, and Pepitone agreed to lend it to him after hitting a home run the previous inning.
Pepitone claims the bat was removed from his locker after the game without his knowledge or consent before he agreed to lend it to the museum, which he took possession a few days later.
The lawsuit also says that Pepitone asked for the bat last September and the Hall of Fame rejected that request.