Ball Four

Ball Four Summary

The 50th Anniversary edition of “the book that changed baseball” (NPR), chosen by Time magazine as one of the “100 Greatest Non-Fiction” books.
When Ball Four was published in 1970, it created a firestorm. Bouton was called a Judas, a Benedict Arnold, and a “social leper” for having violated the “sanctity of the clubhouse.” Baseball commissioner Bowie Kuhn tried to force Bouton to sign a statement saying the book wasn’t true. Ballplayers, most of whom hadn’t read it, denounced the book. It was even banned by a few libraries.
Almost everyone else, however, loved Ball Four. Fans liked discovering that athletes were real people—often wildly funny people. David Halberstam, who won a Pulitzer for his reporting on Vietnam, wrote a piece in Harper’s that said of Bouton: “He has written . . . a book deep in the American vein, so deep in fact that it is by no means a sports book.”
Today Ball Four has taken on another role—as a time capsule of life in the sixties. “It is not just a diary of Bouton’s 1969 season with the Seattle Pilots and Houston Astros,” says sportswriter Jim Caple. “It’s a vibrant, funny, telling history of an era that seems even further away than four decades. To call it simply a ‘tell all book’ is like describing The Grapes of Wrath as a book about harvesting peaches in California.”
  Includes a new foreword by Jim Bouton's wife, Paula Kurman  
“An irreverent, best-selling book that angered baseball’s hierarchy and changed the way journalists and fans viewed the sports world.” —The Washington Post

Book Reviews


Ball Four5 star

I liked this book. High lites of a checkered career, filled with opinions and a real inside look at baseball.55

Former Islander 2

Ball Four5 star

If you loved baseball as a teen during the sixties and collected baseball cards, you will fall in love again reading this. The personnel names bring the feelings of the time back to you again.55

Eric N. S.

An American classic!5 star

A classic - you can see baseball’s warts but it makes the ga e more human and one to love all the more!55


Very poor1 star

Very disappointed with a juvenile reflection of a shallow baseball player.15

Other Books by Jim Bouton

Foul Ball


Foul Ball

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