When first published in 1970, Ball Four stunned the sports world. The commissioner, executives, and players were shocked. Sportswriters called author Jim Bouton a traitor and "social leper." Baseball commissioner Bowie Kuhn tried to force him to declare the book untrue. Fans, however, lo...more
Now, on its own with all of these things common knowledge, the book still reads well. There's as much in there about illegal acti...more
What the book does talk about, which is fascinating, are all the ways that the sport gets politicized. It's not the meritocracy that it seems - it's not the best players on the best teams getting rewarded for their talent.
It's about sometimes worthless managers...more
Bouton was considered an outsider, non conformist, free thinker - who questioned decisions. He simply did not fit i...more
When I was a kid I read a number of baseball stories, but they were all very gosh-wow about the players. Which is a good thing: it's what I needed as a young boy. On the other hand, it turns out that baseball players are real people, and have their good points and bad.
This book is a great look at the game from the inside. Some of the revelations were shocking when it was released, but seem pretty tame now. ("News flash! Professional baseball players often want to fool arou...more
Ball Four is an insider’s look at the world of baseball through the eyes of former New York Yankee phenom Jim Bouton. It is written in the first person style and tells the story of Bouton’s 1969 season with the Seattle Pilots and Houston Astros.
I wouldn’t say that it is the most well-written book I’ve ever read, but I’m giving it five stars because of both the ground-breaking nature of the volume and the honest portrayal of major league life that many fans still deny. In the book Bouton details...more
The meat of the book is fantastic. I was underwhelmed with the shocking revelations, of course. This might have something to do with the fact that I am reading the book in 2012, and not 1970. And, the revelations are no worse than what we would see in an average sitco...more
I hadn't read Jim Bouton's Ball Four since I was a teenager in the 1980s, when a lot of the cultural references from 1969 went over my head but I had found it really funny. Reading it years later, it's even funnier. Bouton was once a Yankees ace, but arm trouble led him to take up the knuckle ball and by 1969 he ended up on the original Seattle Pilots team, and then the Astros after a trade. The book is his account of that season, by turns thoughtful...more
As I read on "Ball Four" became more an more of an unforgettable character study...more
However, rarely does the book live up to the hype. I fully expected a gripping story full of mystery and wonder, wit and grace, evocative prose reliving the highs and lows of a season on the road. And in the course of...more
I try to refrain from using profanity in things like book reviews, but in this case, it is the only way to categorize it.
Apparently, when this book was first released, it cause a big stir in the baseball community and in the fandom of America. Mostly, I can see why: it is boring, and Bouton takes all 400+ pages to whine about money, coaches, his knuckleball, wanting to start/pitch, and he relishes every opportu...more
What we do know, though, is that the face he showed in the clubhouse, as opposed to the one he reserved for the outside world, was often one of great merriment.
I remember one time he'd been injured and didn't expect to play...more
Bouton is a very good writer, and gives enough game highlights to appeal to the sports fan, and fleshes out the pers...more