Bouton, Jim (1939—)

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Bouton, Jim (1939—)

Right-handed pitcher Jim Bouton concluded his unspectacular major league career in 1978 with a record of 62-63. But it was the impact he made off the field, with his bestselling clubhouse memoir Ball Four, that earned him a place in baseball history. As a New York Yankee between 1962 and 1968, the urbane Bouton was an uneasy presence on one of the hardest-living 25-man squads in the majors. Apparently he was taking notes. Ball Four, published in 1970, pulled no punches in describing the drinking and carousing of some of the game's most idealized figures, including Mickey Mantle. The tight-knit ballplayer's fraternity, enraged over Bouton's betrayal of confidence, ostracized the pitcher for decades. Scandalous at the time, Ball Four is considered tame in comparison to subsequent tell-all accounts. Nevertheless, the book was selected by the New York Public Library as one of the "Books of the Century."

—Robert E. Schnakenberg

Further Reading:

Bouton, Jim. Ball Four (20th Anniversary Edition). New York, Macmillan, 1990.