Former Yankees Pitcher and 'Ball Four' Author Jim Bouton Dies at 80

Carrie Guzman
July 14, 2019

Jim Bouton, the former New York Yankees pitcher who shocked and angered the conservative baseball world with the tell-all book "Ball Four", has died.

Mr. Bouton spent that season collecting quotes, notes and anecdotes about life in the big leagues for his acclaimed book Ball Four. He fought a brain disease linked to dementia and was in hospice care.

In the early part of his career, Bouton was a hard-throwing force for the Yankees - becoming an All-Star, a 20-game victor and a World Series starter for NY in 1963.

According to the Daily News, the controversial smash hit was the "only sports book cited when the New York Public Library drew up its list of the best books of the 20th century".

Mr. Bouton also had two strokes in 2012.

Bouton had another good season in '64 when he was 18-13 working a career-high 271 1/3 innings over 38 games, 37 as a starter, for a Yankees club that again lost the World Series, this time to the St. Louis Cardinals in seven games. He was a part of their World Series winning team in his rookie season of 1962.

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"Everybody thought I was writing a regular sports book, "Bouton told the L.A. Times in 1990".

Bouton injured his right arm in 1965, going 4-15 that season, and saw limited action the next three seasons with NY.

"Ball Four" eventually led to Bouton being blacklisted by Major League clubs from 1970 until he was signed by the Chicago White Sox in April 1977, but he didn't get back to the big leagues that season, as he was released in May of that season after going 0-6 with a 5.26 ERA over 10 Double-A outings.

The pitcher was essentially black-listed from Yankees alumni events until 1998, when the team invited him to participate in their annual Old-Timers Day game following the death of his daughter.

Mr. Bouton also was a television sportscaster in New York City; wrote other books; appeared in the 1973 movie The Long Goodbye, directed by Robert Altman, and starred in a 1976 CBS sitcom based on Ball Four that lasted only five episodes.

Information from the Associated Press was used in this report.

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