When Ball Four was first published in 1970, it ignited a firestorm of controversy that raged far beyond the boundaries of baseball. From players and team executives to journalists and broadcasters, everyone had a mostly negative opinion about Jim Bouton's nearly 500- page expose. The former Yankee pitching star was labeled a Judas, a Benedict ...
When Ball Four was first published in 1970, it ignited a firestorm of controversy that raged far beyond the boundaries of baseball. From players and team executives to journalists and broadcasters, everyone had a mostly negative opinion about Jim Bouton's nearly 500- page expose. The former Yankee pitching star was labeled a Judas, a Benedict Arnold and a social leper. Then Commissioner Bowie Kuhn attempted to force Bouton to sign a statement that the stories he told weren't true. The San Diego Padres burned a copy of Ball Four in protest of its release. However, the majority of the fans who bought tickets to watch their diamond heroes loved Ball Four. Even the people who didn't ordinarily follow baseball devoured the hilariously funny and revealing book. In fact, during its 30-year life, Ball Four has sold more than five million copies worldwide. For the millennium edition of this historic book, Bouton has written a highly entertaining epilogue, reflecting upon his life at the age of 60, the traumatic death of his daughter, and the heart-warming invitation from the Yankees to play in his first Old-Timers' Day game since his exile from the club. Says the author about his ground-breaking book, By establishing new boundaries, Ball Four changed sports reporting at least to the extent that, after the book, it was no longer possible to sell the milk and cookies image again ... besides, you can get sick on milk and cookies.Ball Four is a high-and-inside fastball which will forever be a journalistic classic.
At best I would describe it as an egotistical screed laced with obscenities on virtually every page.
Not worth the paper it is printed on.
Jan 28, 2010
Bought for my dad, and I read it when he was done. Very informative.
May 31, 2007
Honest, entertaining, significant
I first discovered "Ball Four" while on student exchange from Australia in the USA. Not knowing much about baseball, it provided me with a lot of very personal, open, and honest insight into the game. It's written like a journal, so if you don't have a lot of time you can easily read very small sections without affecting continuity, but if you have all day there's nothing to stop you reading page after page. "Ball Four" apparently caused quite a stir when it was originally released, because the American public didn't like to have the squeaky clean image of their heroes challenged. To me, it's refreshing to be able to get behind the scenes and see that the elevated superstars are ordinary people.
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