Jim Bouton

Easton Press Jim Bouton books

Ball Four: The Final Pitch - Signed Limited Edition - 2001


Baseball Player Jim Bouton

James Alan Bouton, born on March 8, 1939, in Newark, New Jersey, was an American professional baseball player, author, and entrepreneur. His life and career were marked by his achievements as a pitcher in Major League Baseball (MLB), as well as his groundbreaking book that provided an insider's perspective on the sport. Jim Bouton began his professional baseball career in 1962 with the New York Yankees, where he quickly gained recognition for his pitching prowess. He played a key role in the Yankees' 1962 World Series victory, contributing significantly to the team's success. Bouton continued his successful career with the Yankees until 1968, earning two All-Star selections.

However, it was Bouton's post-baseball career that brought him widespread fame and notoriety. In 1970, he published the groundbreaking memoir Ball Four, co-written with journalist Leonard Shecter. The book provided a candid and often controversial look behind the scenes of professional baseball, offering readers a glimpse into the lives of players, the dynamics of the locker room, and the challenges faced by those in the sport. Ball Four was revolutionary in its honesty and transparency, breaking the unwritten code of silence that had shrouded the personal lives of athletes. The book, while initially met with resistance from the baseball establishment, became a bestseller and is regarded as one of the most influential sports books ever written. Bouton's decision to share the unvarnished truth about the sport earned him both praise and criticism. Some hailed him as a trailblazer who humanized athletes, while others viewed him as a disruptor of baseball's traditional norms. Despite the controversy, Bouton's impact on sports journalism and literature was undeniable.

After his baseball career, Bouton played a role in the development of Big League Chew, a brand of chewing gum designed to resemble chewing tobacco, providing a safer alternative for baseball players and fans. Jim Bouton passed away on July 10, 2019, in Great Barrington, Massachusetts. His legacy extends beyond the baseball diamond, as he is remembered for his contributions to the transparency and understanding of the human side of professional sports through Ball Four. His willingness to challenge conventions has left an enduring mark on both the sports world and the literary landscape.


Ball Four The Final Pitch

When first published in 1970, Ball Four stunned the sports world. The commissioner, executives, and players were shocked. Sportswriters called author Jim Bouton a traitor and "social leper." Baseball commissioner Bowie Kuhn tried to force him to declare the book untrue. Fans, however, loved the book. And serious critics called it an important social document. Today, Jim Bouton is still not invited to Oldtimer's Days at Yankee Stadium. But his landmark book is still being read by people who don't ordinarily follow baseball.

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