Bouton: The Life of a Baseball Original

BOUTON                                                    MITCHELL NATHANSON

From the day he first stepped into the Yankee clubhouse, Jim Bouton (1939–2019) was the sports world’s deceptive revolutionary. Underneath the crew cut and behind the all-American boy-next-door good looks lurked a maverick with a signature style. Whether it was his frank talk about player salaries and mistreatment by management, his passionate advocacy of progressive politics, or his efforts to convince the United States to boycott the 1968 Olympics, Bouton confronted the conservative sports world and compelled it to catch up with a rapidly changing American society.
Bouton defied tremendous odds to make the majors, won two games for the Yankees in the 1964 World Series, and staged an improbable comeback with the Braves as a thirty-nine-year-old. But it was his fateful 1969 season with the Seattle Pilots and his resulting insider’s account, Ball Four, that did nothing less than reintroduce America to its national pastime in a lasting, profound way.

In Bouton: The Life of a Baseball Original, Mitchell Nathanson gives readers a look at Bouton’s remarkable life. He tells the unlikely story of how Bouton’s Ball Four, perhaps the greatest baseball book of all time, came into being, how it was received, and how it forever changed the way we view not only sports books but professional sports as a whole. Based on wide-ranging interviews Nathanson conducted with Bouton, family, friends, and others, he provides an intimate, inside account of Bouton’s life. Nathanson provides insight as to why Bouton saw the world the way he did, why he was so different than the thousands of players who came before him, and how, in the cliquey, cold, bottom‑line world of professional baseball, Bouton managed to be both an insider and an outsider all at once.


Jim Bouton is remembered mostly for the book titled “Ball Four” a tell-all book about the goings-on with the life of baseball players away from fans. Mostly he broke the unwritten rule of not speaking out and telling what goes on in the planes, clubhouse, locker room, etc... By the time I read the book, it was years after it was published and he was long gone out of baseball.
Here in this book, you get a good look at the man and his drive, his competitiveness in his childhood that would lead him to a career with the Yankees. It is they’re and the few years that as a starting pitcher that he would shine in the regular season winning twenty-one games in 63 and 18 in 64. Just in those two years, he would throw 520 innings not counting World Series. He pitched in three World Series games and was 2-1 24 innings pitched with an era of 1.48. they would call him the bulldog and he was known for his cap to fly off after every pitch. By the end of 65, you can really say his pitching career was over, his arm was gone and he was going back to working on his knuckleball. From 63 to 65 he pitched 804 innings and then another 24 in the World Series. That would be an average of 268 innings per season. For him I guess it was worth it for when his arm started to bother him, he still continued to pitch, wherein today's game he would have been shut down and they would have found out the issue as soon as the speed of his fastball dropped. I did like the stories he talked about with the old Yankees when he first came up with them and with his first pitching coach Johnny Sain those conversations, I thought were very different than other coaches.
When you get to the part of him writing the book, he had already written some articles for a few magazines and he had a friendship with a few reporters that some other ballplayers did not have. It is a toss-up as to you knew he was writing a book and who did not know but to say the majority of players were mad would be an understatement. He would also be called into the commissioner’s office which did not go well for the commissioner.
The last quarter of the book deals with his later life and his divorce from his first wife and I got the impression that he actually did some of the things he wrote about in his book saying other ballplayers had done on their wives. Which for me was just sad. Overall, I liked this book and was really glad that I read it. I received this book from I gave it 5 stars. Follow us at

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