Ball Four

Ball Four

by Jim Bouton


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Twentieth-anniversary edition of a baseball classic, with a new epilogue by Jim Bouton.

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'tordinarily follow baseball.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781566194594
Publisher: Sterling Publishing
Publication date: 02/15/1994

About the Author

Jim Bouton, former major league pitcher, is now a writer, businessman, motivational speaker and ace pitcher for a semipro baseball team near his home in Teaneck, New Jersey.

Table of Contents

Preface -- 1980, 1990.

Editor's Foreword.



Part 1 They Made Me What I am Today.

Part 2 "My Arm Isn't Sore, It's Just A Little Stiff."

part 3 And Then I Died.

Part 4 I Always Wanted to See Hawaii.

Part 5 The Yanks Are Coming, The Yanks Are Coming.

Part 6 Shut Up.

Part 7 Honey, Meet Me In Houston.

Appendix Tell Your Statistics To Shut Up.

BALL FIVE -- Ten Years Later.

BALL SIX -- Twenty Years Later.


The Boys of Ball Four.

About the Editor.


Customer Reviews

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Ball Four 4.2 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 29 reviews.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Almost 30 years after its publication Ball Four remains unique in its combination of humor, insight and insider information. Anyone with even a small inkling of baseball or the men who play and manage it cannot help but be reduced to chuckles and/or outright laughter on almost each page. The irony, of course, is that Bouton became a pariah for something that would now likely be given a PG-13 rating in an era of R-rated sports books (and movies). Reading it also gives a perspective on the manner in which players were (mis)treated by management decades ago, and given the millions thrown around like confetti these days, the fact that ballplayers and owners once fought over hundreds of dollars in salary negotiations is almost whimsical. Imagine A-Rod going toe to toe about getting a $1,000 raise? You have Bouton describing players who, oh my, actually had to wonder about how'd they make a living once their baseball careers were over (Bouton's Seattle teammate, Gary Bell, made repeated references to having to get a real-estate license). I've read dozens of sports and sports-related books over the years, including season diaries, biographies and the like, and Ball Four still occupies the top spot on the list (as it will in perpetuity).
Suicide_squeeze More than 1 year ago
A great look at what goes on behind the scenes of professional baseball from a professional player. If you love the game of baseball then you will definitely love this book.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Ball Four is a well written book. A funny, yet realistic story about a pitcher and his struggles in the Major Leagues. I would reccomend this book to anyone who enjoys baseball, or plays baseball. This book brought me to life. I really enjoyed it! In fact I may read it again.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Bouton puts you into the life of your average, semipro baseball player. You get to find out what it's like to have to deal with coaches, managers, other players, contracts. It was an awsome read and i plan to read it multiple more times.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I like this book cause Jim bouton tells it like it was back in 1959-1980 when he was playing baseball. He told his managers what he though when they had a argument with his playing, pitching, and with his contacts. I think that other readers would like this book cause Jim Bouton makes you feel like your there with him. He tryies and teach you some things like how to throw some different kinds of pitches. When him and his friends goes out after a ball game, he still saids what is on his mind.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Bouton wrote about his 1969 season with the New York Yankees. Throughout the novel you hear of a behind the scene reality of professional baseball players and the life of an aspiring player that tries to get back in the game with a pitch called the knuckleball. It is a well written novel that must be read.
Guest More than 1 year ago
this book was awesome, bouton tells everything like it is, no matter who cared, great book, couldnt put it down, read it
Guest More than 1 year ago
This accurate depiction of baseball players, their activities, the humorous occurances over the course of a season, the shock of life as a commodity rather than an employee, and battling management is not limited to the sporting world. Bouton really goes all-out to get the point across about the life these players lead. From getting paid to killing time in the bullpen to being sent down to the minors. It's also about people and their eccentricities, from grouchy pitching coach Sal Maglie to insecure manager Joe Schultz, you really get a sense that these are people playing the game, not invincible athletes. Even 25 years after it was published, this book easily withstands the test of time. I could not put it down.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I first read this book twenty years ago and just re-read it after receiving it as a Christmas gift. It was just as good this time! Bouton's insights and hilarious takes on the daily events in the life of a ballplayer never grow old. In light of the indiscretions that today's players consistently get away with, it is hard to believe that this book essentially caused the author to be ostracized from many baseball circles. Bravo Jim Bouton.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Ball Four is a classic, and a must-read for all baseball aficionados. Bouton offers a pleasantly candid narrative on daily life in the major leagues. He shares the closed-door happenings of the locker room with the fan and allows a clearer understanding of the mentality of the professional athlete. Besides that, he has a sincere humor that carries the novel.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Ball Four is a great book whether you are a baseball fan or not. The book is set up like a day by day diary of Jim Bouton while he played with the Seattle Pilots. Bouton is hilarious in the book, having incredible insights and reading people like a book. When reading it seems as if Bouton is a good friend of yours who is telling you his story from the year 1970.
Guest More than 1 year ago
A wonderful, funny read. Puts you in the locker room of a baseball team at a critical time in baseball history, after the Yankee dynasty and just before Marvin Miller. It was also a treat to read about a young Joe Morgan, Lou Pinella, and Joe Torre.
beaurichly on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
When my son turned 11, I re-read to remember back to my first reading of this book at age 12. After dozens of "baseball hero" books, this one was a coming of age and the end of hero worship. I later met Bouton in Portland, when he was knuckle balling for the single A Mavericks and had him sign my book. It's sitting on my office shelf today.
BooksForDinner on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
My copy of this is a mass market with a missing cover and brittle, yellowed pages. The original sports tell-all book. seems tame now, but in 1970 writing that players on the Seattle Pilots bus were running around and kissing each other on the mouth was a really big deal. Bouton was blackballed from the game for probably 20 years after this book was published.
Othemts on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
This is the classic baseball "behind-the-scenes" book. Bouton is a thoughtful, insightful writer and incredibly funny. Plus this diary is an artifact of the gone and almost forgotten Seattle Pilots. I read the most recent edition which is almost twice as long with Bouton's updates on his career and life. But it's all the more fun, because Bouton is a character I want to know more about and the further you read into the book the more you feel, as Bouton puts it, like family.
hildr8 on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Good book and a classic, Enjoyable read. Bouton immediately makes you sympathetic. His liberal politics and easy going manner were even more of an attraction for me. This book has everthing you'll want to know about baseball players and their habits, extracurricular activities, work ethics and attitude etc. Lots of odd balls playing and managing in baseball. This is 1969-70 so the material is not quite as raunchy as say The Bad Guys Won by Jeff Pearlman.
mjgrogan on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
With an understanding that this supposedly represents the first of a, now, endless stream of MLB ¿tell-alls¿ ¿ a genre I¿m not necessarily interested in ¿ I thought I¿d give it a shot. I immediately found it a dull, piecemeal collage of day-to-day anecdotes that didn¿t really come off as anything approaching scandalous. Ballplayers drink beer? Some have ¿Baseball Annies¿ (viz. groupies)? Greenies? Certainly these things are bad ¿ except beer¿and girls if you¿re single ¿and what the hell with the amphetamines if it equalizes the playing field in relation to all the asterisk guys these days? Whatever. Obviously the reader (at least one born roughly as the book went to press) must understand that this was penned ¿ or dictated ¿ within a previous, clean/buzz cut era on the heels of Opie Taylor gone fishing:It was an idyllic time. All fans of baseball were of the awe-shucks typology. The Babe had been a tribute to pure athleticism. Mickey Mantle wasn¿t really doing shots at that hotel bar. Baseball owners weren¿t really in violation of the Sherman Act. No one who was exposed to Vietnam, fire-hosed children, riots, assassinations, and potential nuclear proliferation on a day-to-day basis could possibly believe that ball players would use the F-bomb and scratch! Nobody could be prepared for this exposé! - M. GroganAlright, barring my typical BS digressions, as I hesitantly worked through about 100 pages of this thing, I realized I began to enjoy this guy¿s story, or notes, or what have you. In a strange way it all comes together despite the lack of discernable thesis ¿ just some dude and his diary (and patient editor). In fact he seems to deftly disperse occasional extra-baseball societal items here and there as a kind of contextual grounding tool that positions the relative silliness of a professionally structured game within the more turbulent context of the era. The big baseball ¿exposé¿ is really just telling locker room stories where casual tales about unsophisticated management, the machinations of (more than) occasional meathead teammates, and player rights exploitation pre-free agency cautiously express the reality about the highest echelon of the sport. This likely deconstructed the idealized views of the Topps card-wielding youth who was forbidden from reading it by mom. For the adults, Bouton proved/proves fairly comical and clever. Additionally, like any good baseball book, it ends with the Astros predictably blowing another playoff bid in the last week or so... It¿s a pretty good read if you¿re into the sport and certainly I can imagine the consternation of some embarrassed players, owners, etc. that resulted in Bouton¿s subsequent Black-listing.I read the version including the Fifth Ball ¿ essentially the ten-year revisitation ¿ that, while more coherent and thankfully brief, seemed an undesired appendage. The best part was the ¿where are they now¿ portion listing former managers and players washing cars, coaching in the minors, or vanished. Obviously this is a ¿Where is Jim now?¿ addition, with the post-book network news career, amazing baseball comeback, and invention of Big League Chew Bubble Gum. I understand that he¿s written another book or two so I¿m not sure if those cover the post 1970 years, but they seem to want a book of their own for readers more interested than myself.
drewfull on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Should be read by all baseball fans, Ball Four is an inside look at a baseball life and the characters that comprise it. Bouton tells his stories with glee, and true baseballers will enjoy his tales of Mickey Mantle, Lou Pinella and Whitey Ford, but everyone can enjoy his trip riding the successes and failures with the the finicky knuckleball. You may start the book looking for cheap laughs, but I ended it with a genuine appreciation for the half-mental (as Yogi Berra once said) side of the game.
sdave001 on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
I loved the first edition and this updated edition is even better. Bouton takes you on a very entertaining journey behind the closed doors of the baseball world. Bouton is certainly pretty full of himself and I'm sure has embellished a little but I still love his stories.Certainly a departure from your normal high brow baseball books but that, in itself, is refreshing.
bravesfan16 on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
This is the tell all sports book that started it all. I'm not big on tell-alls, but this one brings you inside what it's like in the locker room, on the team bus/plane, etc. An inside look men playing a boys game.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I was very disappointed in this book. I am a big baseball fan but the author provides few if any interesting insights into professional baseball or the players. He has daily entries but the topics and the things that he describes are banal at best. I am sorry that I bought it and it will be trashed now that I have finished it.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I would love to see a Nook version.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago