Bad-boy swagger made Cubs’ Joe Pepitone the talk of the town

Pitcher Ken Holtzman (left) takes a toss from Joe Pepitone during Cubs spring training in 1971.

Sun-Times file photo

Crazy Joe…


          The late Chicago Cubbie Joe “Pepi” Pepitone may have swung into town like a bat out of hell in 1971, but it was his glove, outfield zeal, and New York Yankees allure that sealed the deal.

         It didn’t take long before Pepi became the squawk of the town.

        Thus, he became one afternoon of Sneed’s life in 1972; a close-up summer interview in the Cubs dugout writing as fast on paper with pencil as Pepitone yakked away in New York noise; a fan favorite; a fun guy. 

        It’s funny the things I remember about him, the wonder boy who jumped onto first base with the Cubs in 1971 and was gone in a flamboyant flash in 1973.

          Only a news photo is left of my memory interviewing him; the newspaper article is left to spontaneous combustion. 

      But I remember Pepi’s perch: a Cubs cap sitting high on a massive toupee; mutton chops on his face; a religious medal dangling on a Cubs uniform so immaculate it looked like it was Frank Sinatra tailored; a torn matchbook nestling between fingers on his right hand; a cigarette jutting backwards between right thumb and forefinger. 

     Just like in the bad boy movies. 

    How did this cocky wild man manage to live so long? Who was this raucous renegade who purchased a Chicago bar called “Pepi’s Thing” almost before unpacking his suitcase, which included a blow dryer for his balding mane and bevy of nicknamed toupees?

       So I called Mike Murphy, a radio legend and original “Left Field Bleacher Bum” at Wrigley …read more

Source:: Chicago Sun Times

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.