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Must-click link: Jay Jaffe on the 40th anniversary of Ball Four

Sep 15, 2010, 3:48 PM EDT

Ball Four is without question my favorite book, baseball or otherwise (although in fairness, I was only recently alerted to the fact that non-baseball books are published). I’ve read it no fewer than a half-dozen times and it never ceases to be wildly entertaining, which is pretty remarkable for something that was written four decades ago.
On the 40th anniversary of Jim Bouton’s masterpiece Jay Jaffe of Baseball Prospectus and YES Network delves into what makes Ball Four so amazing:
Jay Jaffe: Ball Four at Forty

  1. Professor Longnose - Sep 15, 2010 at 4:13 PM

    I’m sure I’ve read it more than a half a dozen times, and it’s a classic. It’s also definitely the high point of the Bouton oeuvre that I’ve read. In I’m Glad You Didn’t Take It Personally, Ball Five, and I Managed Good But Boy Did They Play Bad he comes across as defensive, prickly, self-righteous, and desperately trying to settle old scores. Those are all from the 70s, though. I haven’t read anything more recent.

  2. Simon DelMonte - Sep 15, 2010 at 4:26 PM

    I have never read it, strangely.
    I do remember, however, the very short lived sitcom based on it. That starred Bouton. I think I was one of six people who watched some of it, but being I was a kid this didn’t count in the ratings.

  3. Mark Armour - Sep 15, 2010 at 4:46 PM

    For the full story of the book and its immedate aftermath, you could do worse than this:
    http://bioproj.sabr.org/bioproj.cfm?a=v&v=l&bid=3363&pid=19741

  4. Old Gator - Sep 15, 2010 at 5:50 PM

    Did I mention that I met Jim Bouton at a Cowboy Junkies concert in Great Barrington, Mass. this past May 15 or so? I thought he looked familiar and probably would have recognized him if I were willing to admit that his being as old as he was meant I was as old as I was. The mind plays some dumb tricks on you, you know? Blew a chance to tell him that he was the author of my second favorite baseball book of all time (sorry guys, but The Boys of Summer still carries out the trophy). He wouldn’t have minded. He was the number two starter behind Whitey Ford too, and he got all the piss and vinegar out of his system playing the snide sports anchor brilliantly opposite Roger Grimsby, Bill Beutel and the immortal (albeit also dead) Tex Antoine on Eyewitness News in New York for howevergoddamnedmany years that was. But, yeah, a great book. Too bad nobody ever mentions it with its subtitle intact, though.

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