Ball Four

  • by Jim Bouton
  • Narrated by Jim Bouton
  • 18 hrs and 32 mins
  • Unabridged Audiobook

Publisher's Summary

Ball Four: The Final Pitch is the original book plus all the updates, unlike the 20th Anniversary Edition paperback.
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. Many readers said it gave them strength to get through a difficult period in their lives. Serious critics called it an important document.
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.”
In 1999 Ball Four was selected by the New York Public Library as one of the “Books of the Century.” And Time magazine chose it as one of the "100 Greatest Non-Fiction" books.
Besides changing the image of athletes, the book played a role in the economic revolution in pro sports. In 1975, Ball Four was accepted as legal evidence against the owners at the arbitration hearing, which lead to free agency in baseball and, by extension, to other sports.
Today Ball Four has taken on another role--as a time capsule of life in the 60s. "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."

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What the Critics Say

"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." (The New York Times)
"Ball Four is out in a new e-book edition, available on Kindle. It also is available as an audio book, read by Bouton himself, through audible.com. The only thing better than reading Ball Four again might be listening to Bouton read it to you." (R. A. Dickey, columnist and senior writer for ESPN.com.)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful

Funny, persuasive and often moving

I am no baseball expert, being a Brit and having little interest in the sport until recently (mistakenly viewing it as a brash simplified version of cricket). In the last couple of years I have been trying to absorb - through reading and podcasts and TV - all I can about the sport. This has, thus far, been the highlight. An excellently written (and read) book with arguments a plenty, numerous laugh out loud moments and, particularly in the updated sections some very moving passages that were clearly, and understandably, very difficult for the author to read.

Basically I can't recommend this enough. Thank you.
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- ivewalmer

Best sports book I have read

No idea who most of the characters are...
No idea who most of the teams are....
No idea about most things baseball related...
(I'm Irish)
Yet I finished the book & wanted to learn everything there is to know about the sport & the man Jim Bouton.

So well written & delivered

Can recommend highly enough
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- Jack Murph

Book Details

  • Release Date: 07-04-2012
  • Publisher: Audible Studios