Jim Bouton's Ball Four, recently selected by the New York Public Library as one of the "Books Of The Century," is being reissued in hardcover with a new, 50-page epilogue by the author. In Ball Four: The Final Pitch, Bouton writes about the tragic ...
n writes about the tragic death of his daughter, his reconciliation with Mickey Mantle, his son's Father's Day letter to the New York Times, his heartwarming return to Old Timers Day at Yankee Stadium, his views on Major League Baseball, and his life today. In addition to the new epilogue, this beautiful collector's edition includes the original text, plus Bouton's 1980 and 1990 epilogues and a new Rogues Gallery of 124 player photos.
Ball Four was first published in 1970 amid a storm of controversy. Bouton was called a Judas and a Benedict Arnold 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. Almost everyone else, however, loved the book and serious critics called it an important document. Besides being hilariously funny, Ball Four changed the image of athletes and played a role in the economic revolution in sports. In 1975 for example, Ball Four was accepted as legal evidence against the owners at the arbitration hearing that led to free agency in baseball and, by extension, other sports.
Today Ball Four has taken on another role - as a time capsule of life in the sixties.