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Ball Four: Twentieth Anniversary Edition Paperback – Jul 1 1990

4.6 out of 5 stars 73 customer reviews

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Paperback, Jul 1 1990
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 504 pages
  • Publisher: Wiley; 1 edition (July 1 1990)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0020306652
  • ISBN-13: 978-0020306658
  • Product Dimensions: 14 x 2.7 x 21 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 227 g
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars 73 customer reviews
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #115,066 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Product Description

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As a player, former hurler Jim Bouton did nothing half-way; he threw so hard he'd lose his cap on almost every pitch. In the early '70s, he tossed off one of the funniest, most revealing, insider's takes on baseball life in Ball Four, his diary of the season he tried to pitch his way back from oblivion on the strength of a knuckler. The real curve, though, is Bouton's honesty. He carves humans out of heroes, and shines a light into the game's corners. A quarter century later, Bouton's unique baseball voice can still bring the heat.


* A book deep in the American vein, so deep in fact it is by no means a sports book"" --David Halberstam

""Ball Four is a people book, not just a baseball book."" --Christopher Lehmann-Haupt, The New York Times

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Customer Reviews

4.6 out of 5 stars
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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
Jim Bouton's Ball Four has rightly been called the best sports book of all times by publications that actually matter, but I figure I'll throw my two cents in, too. In a day before an ol' ballplayer could hire a ghost and slap together some fond memories or pathetic pleas for forgiveness (hiya, Pete Rose), Bouton, making a comeback as a knuckleballer with the expansion Seattle Pilots, toted a tape recorder with him for an entire year in order to write this day-by-day account of life in the bigs.
The humor is at once anecdotal and observational, and, most importantly, consistent. The Seattle Pilots were rather like the Cleveland Indians in the film Major League - a haphazard collection of rookies and cast-offs trying to make it. Of course, Major League had to have the whole underdog thing going on.
The issues that face baseball today - drugs, salaries, lack of interest by hometown fans, the Yankees being the source of all evil - are all present in Ball Four. The only part of the book that hasn't aged perfectly is the scale of the salaries - Bouton and his teammates hold out for an increase of a few thousand dollars, instead of the millions today's players make.
In summation, there is no baseball book you should read before this one, and there are precious few books you should read, period, before this one. Ball Four is in every right an American masterpiece.
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Format: Paperback
In this age of mega free agents with quarter of a million dollar contracts, its easy to hate all players who switch teams like we switch socks. However, Jim tells of a time before free agency and shows us how back then the shoe was on the other foot. I think now more than ever people should read this book to understand how far salaries have come and actually see how free agency might have helped the game.
Like many of you, I hate the Ramirez and AROD deals, but this book talks about what the players had to deal with back then. It shows when salaries were in the other extreme; maybe giving hope that someday we will meet in the middle.
Besides this, this book is a MUST read for all baseball fans. It tells great stories of players some of us where too young to see play, but always hear about. Tells of a time when sports starts greatest sins were adultery and the occasional ball scuff. Not to say adultery is nothing, but it sure beats the coke rush of the 80's.
Simply put, this book will make you laugh so hard at times, at other times it will make you teary eyed with the yearning to have lived in that era if you are too young. Bye this book flat out, I promise you will read it more than once, and will pass it down to your children.
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Format: Paperback
The so-called sports diary book is usually simplistic and misleading. Author clutches tape and begins, "Dear Diary and Friend." I could be wrong, by profession I am a podiatrist, but I think this book was researched by Bouton and written by Schecter, a good but unhappy fellow with very poor and painful feet. Schecter didn't like many players and this work reflects his slant more than Bouton's slant, when Bouton grew up enough to have any slant at all. Bouton was a marginal college student, who never tired talking of an evening with a beautiful classmate, -- no names here -- later a smash hit star in Hollywood,and whose arrogance and self-promoting puffery Mantle and Maris could not stand. Bad feet can make strong men cry. Schecter wept in my office. But this kind of generalized anger -having Bouton say all ball players but I myself, Saint James of Hoboken, are klutzes -- makes for a work that while entertainig is no more than that. Dangerous, really. Frankly, it makes my feet hurt. Roger Angell, Robert Lypsite, who live on the hypothesis that they are smarter and more sensitive than ball players, love this book. Less neurotic people don't agree. Entertaining, but like yesterday's lobster tails, sheer garbage.
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Format: Paperback
Jim Bouton is not a name that comes up when discussing the all time greats of baseball. However, when discussing the all time greatest baseball novels, his name should come up every time. Ball Four is a fantastic day-in-the-life recounting of a single player's (Bouton's) Major League season - more specifically, the season being 1969, and his playing days that year split between the upstart franchise Seattle Pilots, and the beleagured, relatively new Houston Astros. What sets the novel apart is it's absolutely brutal, truthful (but very taboo) telling of the player's and coach's personalities and lifestyles. Not a single vulgarity or shocking sequence is missed in Bouton's daily log he kept which eventually became this famous non-fiction piece. It also created more enemies in the game than he could've imagined. He only played one and a half more seasons after it's publication, and is a testament to a very intelligent, and brave athlete who wrote with a beautifully relaxing, very funny, and down-to-earth tone. A great read for true baseball fans.
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Format: Paperback
Three weeks ago the best sport's radio program of Venezuela "This is Baseball" started a new section called "The Literature in Baseball". This program is directed for the laureated baseball commentator, Mr. Duilio Di Giacomo, one of the truly greats of our country and a former nine years-tenure pro baseball commisioner. He is in company of the young and well informed journalist, Rubén Martín. As a real fan of this radio show I have collaborated with baseball's information to the point than Mr. Di Giacomo asked me to help him in the production of the new segment. We feel very proud in the selecting of Jim Bouton's "Ball Four" as the first best seller taking into account. We have delighted to the radio listeners with this deep, insightful, penetrating, funny and beautiful book which described the American society of that time (1969) through our beloved passtime: baseball.
The next Thursday (september 10) the last analysis of this book is going to be launched and We are very interested in the Jim Bouton's e-mail to express our admiration for this book and, at the same time, to express our condolences for Laurie's . We are going to read for our radio listeners the Baseball America article about Jim Bouton's comeback to Yankees all-timers day and the circumstances around his returning.
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