Jim Bouton, former pitcher, "Ball Four" author, 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.

Jim Bouton, author of "Ball Four", was 80.

Pitcher Jim Bouton #56 of the New York Yankees pitches against the Washington Senators during an Major League Baseball game circa 1964 at D.C. Stadium in Washington, D.C. Bouton played for the Yankees from 1962-68.

Mr. Bouton, across his pro career, posted a mediocre record of 62-63, with an ERA of 3.57.

In his 1969 season with the Pilots - the team's only one before moving to Milwaukee and renaming itself the Brewers - Mr. Bouton began consciously collecting old and new anecdotes that became the best-selling book.

"You see, you spend a good piece of your life gripping a baseball, and in the end it turns out that it was the other way around all the time", Bouton wrote at the end of his book.

According to the Daily News, the controversial smash hit was the "only sports book cited when the New York Public Library drew up its list of the best books of the 20th century".

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A New Jersey native, Bouton had been suffering from dementia in recent years. He pitched at Western Michigan University before signing with the Yankees in 1958. The Yankees lost the World Series both years, with Bouton losing his lone start in 1963 in New York's loss to the Los Angeles Dodgers and winning twice the following year in the Yankees' loss to the St. Louis Cardinals.

By 1965, Bouton developed a sore arm, and he would go 4-15 with a 4.82 that season and 16-36 with a 4.18 ERA for the remainder of his career.

The pitcher was essentially black-listed from Yankees alumni events until 1998, when the team invited him to participate in their annual Old-Timers Day game following the death of his daughter.

Mr. Bouton's career ended after the 1970 season with the Astros, though he returned for a five-game cameo with the Braves in 1978, going 1-3 at age 39.

"Everybody thought I was writing a regular sports book, "Bouton told the L.A. Times in 1990".

Information from the Associated Press was used in this report.

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