Jim Bouton, 'Ball Four' author and former Yankees pitcher, dies at 80

Keri Appreciating the irreverent sharp-witted legacy of Jim Bouton who tore down the clubhouse’s fourth wall

Keri Appreciating the irreverent sharp-witted legacy of Jim Bouton who tore down the clubhouse’s fourth wall

Jim Bouton, the former New York Yankees pitcher who shocked and angered the conservative baseball world with the tell-all book "Ball Four", has died.

His favorite baseball team as a kid was the New York Giants. He was a part of their World Series winning team in his rookie season of 1962. In early part of his career, Bouton was a hard-throwing force for the Yankees - becoming an All-Star, a 20-game victor and a World Series starter for NY in 1963.

But his book Ball Four (written with New York Post sportswriter Leonard Shecter) broke some of the sporting world's biggest taboos, revealing behind-the-scenes carousing by legends like Mickey Mantle, Roger Maris and Whitey Ford, and the widespread use of amphetamines by ballplayers. Due to his arm problems, Bouton threw a knuckleball in the second half of his career, much of it as a reliever.

Bouton followed up his first book with I'm Glad You Didn't Take It Personally, another tell-all.

Jim Bouton has died at the age of 80.

"Ball Four" earned critical acclaim and is frequently noted as one of the best and most influential pieces of sports literature since its release.

Following his career, Bouton did a little acting, he was a NY sportscaster for a time, he was the inventor of "Big League Chew" - a shredded bubble gum that resembled chewing tobacco - plus he co-authored baseball novel "Strike Zone" and he wrote a fictional baseball ball that was titled "Foul Ball".

Bouton also attended the Old-Timers Day game in 2018 and was given a standing ovation in front of 54 guests, including six of his grandchildren who had never before seen their grandfather in his Yankees pinstripes. He joined the Braves in 1978, at the age of 39 after developing a knuckle ball and after having been out of the majors since 1970. That year, he started out in Double-A and this time he pitched his way back to the big leagues only to go 1-3 with a 4.97 ERA over five seasons.

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