Jim Bouton

22 Jul 19
The Reporter
When Jim Bouton passed away earlier this month at age 80 from a brain disease linked to dementia, it prompted me to reread “Ball Four,” the iconic diary of the pitcher’s 1969 season with the Seattle Pilots and the Houston Astros. If you are of the same generation as modern-day major leaguers, it’s possible you’ve never heard of Bouton or “Ball Four.” That’s what sportswriter Thom Loverro of the Washington Times discovered last year when he queried some of the Washington Nationals. The book, first published in 1970, has now sold five million copies, In 1995 the New York Public Library selected “Ball Four” as one of about 150 Books of the Century, alongside such works as Anne Frank’s “Diary of a Young Girl” and F. Scott Fitzgerald’s “The Great Gatsby.” It is the only sports book on the list. Is it a great book? It terms of impact, yes. As John Feinstein, author of “A Season on the Brink,” his journal of the 1987 season he spent with Bobby Knight and the Indiana University basketball team, said in a tribute to Bouton in The Washington Post, “Bouton proved the importance of firsthand reporting, of truly getting inside a subject. No book — other than ‘All the President’s Men’ — influenced me more as a reporter.” The library editors noted that Bouton’s book “was the first ripple of a tidal wave of ‘tell-all’ books that have become commonplace not only in sports, but also in politics, entertainment, and other realms of contemporary life.” Is it great writing? Bouton was no Steinbeck or Kafka. But he wrote well and many of his stories are hilarious. Even though sportswriter Leonard Shecter, who died in 1974, edited “Ball Four,” you can see in the three epilogues — “Ball Five,” “Ball Six,” and “Ball Seven” — that Bouton added to the book every ten years that he could turn a phrase. But there is one way in which the book is not so great — virtually nobody on the team knew that Bouton was writing it. As Joe Morgan, Bouton’s teammate on the Astros, told Mark Armour of the Society for American Baseball Research, “I always thought he was a teammate, not an author. I told him some things I would never tell a sportswriter.” Similarly, according to Bouton’s “Ball Six,” Rich Rollins, Bouton’s teammate on the 1969 Pilots, told a Seattle newspaper, “What offended me more than anything was that no one was aware what he was writing.” When Feinstein wrote his book about Knight, the coach had given him unprecedented access to the locker room and team for that season. Nothing Feinstein wrote should have surprised Knight, although, characteristically, Knight still found things to be upset about when the book was published. Bouton revealed a lot of salacious and personal details. For example, he wrote about his teammates beaver-shooting (trying to look up the skirts or into the hotel windows of attractive women) and popping greenies (amphetamines). And he didn’t stick to that 1969 season. He went back to his years with the New York Yankees and revealed that Mickey Mantle was the ringleader of the Peeping Tom unit and had a major problem with alcohol. Years before Bouton, Cincinnati Reds pitcher Jim Brosnan had chronicled two seasons, 1959 and 1961, in his books, “The Long Season” and “Pennant Race.” But, as Mike Durell wrote in his review of those books, “There are still numerous moments of candor regarding drinking and, somewhat more discreetly, skirt-chasing. For readers accustomed to every sordid detail of an athlete’s sordid acts being disseminated worldwide seconds after they occur, “The Long Season” and “Pennant Race” may seem somewhat tame, but to older readers they will seem refreshingly discreet. There is something to be said for discretion and implication. More is not always better.” Bouton read “The Long Season” when he was a 21-year-old pitcher for the Yankees’ Greensboro, N.C., farm club. He loved the book, which apparently served as inspiration for writing “Ball Four.” But in my opinion, he went too far. As Connie Ray Godwin wrote in his review for Sports Rapport of “Instant Replay,” the diary of the 1967 Green Bay Packers season by Jerry Kramer, “Kramer definitely violates the ‘what happens in the locker room stays in the locker room’ ethos but not to a flagrant or irresponsible degree… Kramer exercises discretion and deftly straddles the boundary between being candid and destroying the reputations of his teammates, coaches, and opponents.” In “Ball Six” Bouton wrote: “I must admit that it pains me to hear that some former teammates are still angry about ‘Ball Four.’ But I’m not surprised. They see the book as an invasion of their privacy. And maybe they’re embarrassed by something they said or did. What those players don’t realize is that nobody thinks badly of them, no matter what they said or did, especially after twenty years. But they just don’t have that perspective.” I think the person who needed perspective was Bouton. The players saw it as an invasion of privacy because it was one. And how could Bouton know what other people thought of the players? His revelations did lower my opinion of Mantle, my first childhood baseball hero. Bouton did regret that his book spawned a host of sports tell-all books, each vying to be more revealing than the last. For example, Jose Canseco became baseball’s public enemy number one after he wrote “Juiced” and named ballplayers using steroids. As Paul Sullivan of The Chicago Tribune wrote of Canseco’s book and others like it, “It proves that the adage ‘What’s said here stays here’ no longer applies when someone feels the urge to cash in on old stories for a memoir.” And that’s a shame.
22 Jul 19
Archy news nety

We remember these celebrities who recently died for the music they created (Doris Day, Scott Walker, Dick Dale), the characters they portrayed (Rip Torn, Cameron Boyce, Arte Johnson, Peggy Lipton), their pioneering sports careers (Frank Robinson), their films, (John Singleton, Bernardo Bertolucci), their books (Tom Wolfe, Steve Ditko), their brains (Lee Iococca), their service (John […]

22 Jul 19
News Directory

We remember these famous people who died recently (Doris Day, Scott Walker, Dick Dale), the characters they showed (Rip Torn, Cameron Boyce, Arte Johnson, Peggy Lipton), their sports careers. pioneering (Frank Robinson), their films, (John Singleton, Bernardo Bertolucci), their books (Tom Wolfe, Steve Ditko), their brain (Lee Iococca), their service (John Dingell, George HW Bush), […]

22 Jul 19
Arcynewsy

We remember these celebrities who died recently from the music they created (Doris Day, Scott Walker, Dick Dale), the characters they played (Rip Torn, Cameron Boyce, Arte Johnson, Peggy Lipton), their sports careers (Frank Robinson), their films (John Singleton, Bernardo Bertolucci), their books (Tom Wolfe, Steve Ditko), their brains (Lee Iococca), their service (John Dingell, […]

22 Jul 19
Archy news nety

We remember these celebrities who recently died for the music they created (Doris Day, Scott Walker, Dick Dale), the characters they portrayed (Rip Torn, Cameron Boyce, Arte Johnson, Peggy Lipton), their pioneering sports careers (Frank Robinson), their films, (John Singleton, Bernardo Bertolucci), their books (Tom Wolfe, Steve Ditko), their brains (Lee Iococca), their service (John […]

21 Jul 19
Snakes in the Grass

We are not the least bit amused. Even with having to sleep with one eye open on my hammock (those pesky alligators, you know), it’s impossible to tune out all of the commotion during this fine, albeit sweltering July. The awful headlines easily found a way to invade my solitude. In my defense, I did […]

21 Jul 19
RetroSimba

Before he became a celebrated author with “Ball Four,” Jim Bouton was a power pitcher whose cap flew off with nearly every delivery. Bouton died July 10, 2019, at 80. Fifty-five years earlier, in 1964, he made two starts for the Yankees against the Cardinals in the World Series and won both. The Cardinals won […]

20 Jul 19
Las Vegas Review-Journal
#gallery-1807558-1 { margin: auto; } #gallery-1807558-1 .gallery-item { float: left; margin-top: 10px; text-align: center; width: 33%; } #gallery-1807558-1 img { border: 2px solid #cfcfcf; } #gallery-1807558-1 .gallery-caption { margin-left: 0; } /* see gallery_shortcode() in wp-includes/media.php */ Visitors pose for photos beside a portrait of Neil Armstrong at the Armstrong Air and Space Museum as special events are underway for visitors commemorating the 50th anniversary of the first moon landing, Saturday, July 20, 2019, in Wapakoneta, Ohio. (AP Photo/John Minchillo) Duke Sims. (The Associated Press) One small step for man … another big step toward ignominy for the 1969 Cleveland Indians. That’s pretty much how longtime Las Vegan Duke Sims remembers the moon landing that happened 50 years ago Saturday. Minutes before the Eagle had landed with Apollo 11 commander Neil Armstrong and lunar module pilot Buzz Aldrin on board, Sims was summoned to pinch hit for Stan Williams by Cleveland manager Alvin Dark. Fred Lasher was pitching for Detroit, and Sims fouled out to Tigers second baseman Dick Tracewski in the bottom of the ninth inning of the first game of a doubleheader at cavernous Municipal Stadium in Cleveland. Trailing 3-2, the Indians loaded the bases with two out. But Tony Horton struck out, and the last-place Tribe fell to 37-59. Seconds later, man landed on the moon. “What I remember is flying out of Cleveland at the All-Star break which (coincided) with when they went to the moon,” said Sims, a left-handed hitting catcher, who played 11 major league seasons and hit 100 career home runs, including the last one struck at the original Yankee Stadium. “Looking up as the airplane elevated — it was a full moon that night — I said, ‘I can hardly believe that 300,000 miles away, guys are up there wandering around on dirt.’” There still was a bit of awe and wonder in his voice. It was like facing the Tigers’ Denny McLain in those days, except he didn’t use swear words. Many baseball stories would emerge from the moon landing, none more remarkable than the comments Dark had made about Gaylord Perry’s lack of hitting acumen when both were with the San Francisco Giants a few seasons before. “We’ll have a man on the moon before he hits a home run,” Dark said to San Francisco Examiner baseball writer Harry Jupiter (honest — the man’s name was Jupiter.) About a half-hour after the Eagle landed, Perry came to bat against the Dodgers’ Claude Osteen in the bottom of the third at Candlestick Park with nobody on base and hit his first major league home run. As a 10-year-old who was obsessed with baseball in 1969 (and richly rewarded that October), the moon landing always makes me think about this bizarre true story https://t.co/IPAvxA3aof — Will Bunch (@Will_Bunch) July 19, 2019 Bryan bros unplugged An estimated 500 million people were watching when the Apollo 11 astronauts struck moon dust, but had the tennis-playing Bryan brothers been around, they probably would have missed it. “We grew up without a TV — our parents wanted us to spend more time doing studies,” said Mike Bryan, who will join twin Bob in playing doubles for the startup Vegas Rollers in World TeamTennis matches at Orleans Arena this weekend. “They put (musical) instruments in the living room. “Early on, we had a Nintendo system and we would play it too much. We were playing like at 2 a.m., and my dad (Wayne) came in, ripped it out of the wall and threw if off the cliff in our backyard.” One can’t argue with the results. The brothers developed their parents’ musical interests and earned scholarships to Stanford. Nearing the end of a spectacular career that has seen the brothers become the greatest doubles team in tennis history, Mike Bryan says he’s not opposed to watching a little TV in his hotel room when he’s traveling. What about Bob? “Bob’s got like 13 TVs in his house,” Mike Bryan said. How have the Bryan Brothers won this point?! Amazing doubles 👏🔥🎾 #tennis #news #channel 🎥 ATP Media pic.twitter.com/S23lDfjYtY — tennis news chan 1 (@tennisnewschan1) December 25, 2017 Jeremy Huber honored Ground was broken Thursday on a lacrosse field at Teton Trails Park in northwest Las Vegas that will be named for Jeremy Huber. The former Las Vegas high school star died in January 2015 of complications related to flu and pneumonia two weeks before he was to play his first game for Johns Hopkins, which is as good as it gets in NCAA lacrosse. The target completion date for the field is Jan. 26, which also would mark the fifth anniversary of Jeremy Huber’s death. A new lacrosse field is coming soon to Teton Trails Park in the northwest. This field is dedicated to the memory of local athlete Jeremy Mitchell Huber. Mayor Pro Tem @VoteFiore explains why ❤️ pic.twitter.com/SQ1OSsZRs2 — City of Las Vegas (@CityOfLasVegas) July 19, 2019 0:01 Duke Sims was asked about the recent death of Jim Bouton, the former major league pitcher who wrote the first tell-all book about baseball called “Ball Four.” “I hit him well enough that he worried about me.” (With ballplayers, it’s always about what happens between the lines.) No, I said. I meant the book. What about ‘Ball Four’? “It kind of aggravated me that he dropped the dime on guys who were sacrosanct, if you will.” Was everything in the book true? Sims paused, then chuckled. “Oh, I think it was relatively accurate.” A lovely tribute to Jim Bouton, author of Ball Four, the only sports book on the New York Public Library’s list of the 100 most important books of the 20th century. By @StoneLarry: https://t.co/KeO1IG0ryl pic.twitter.com/9unVIquM8T — Don Van Natta Jr. (@DVNJr) July 11, 2019 Contact Ron Kantowski at rkantowski@reviewjournal.com or 702-383-0352. Follow @ronkantowski on Twitter. [rjtemplate class=”rj-isidebar3-elem”] Did the Astros win? While baseball paused to honor the Apollo 11 astronauts 50 years ago, it was the game that was on the mind of the crew on the day before the historic moon landing. After mission control relayed details of the Houston Astros’ 7-4 victory over the Cincinnati Reds, command module pilot Michael Collins radioed back: “Yes. Those Astros have really been catching those flies since they put a roof on the stadium.” twitterembed Source: Apollo 11 in Real Time [/rjtemplate]
20 Jul 19
News Directory

Former MLB pitcher Jim Bouton passed away last week. Bouton. T His book, “Ball Four”, bit a lot to change that. Le professional professional professional professional professional professional professional professional professional professional professional professional professional professional professional professional professional professional professional professional professional professional professional. “Ball Four” by Jim Bouton This picture is from the […]

19 Jul 19
SABR's Baseball Cards Research Committee

As Mark noted in his post about Jim Bouton, his cards are collectable because of his position in the history of the game. For me and my generation of card collectors,* this influence extends beyond just Ball Four as Bouton is a big part of a few other products we remember fondly. *Junk wax aficionados […]

18 Jul 19
Sport Archives

If you ever had a chance to sign Jim Bouton a copy of “Four Four,” his signature often came with the quip, “Smoke” inside. ” That was the phrase mentioned in the book, from a team colleague Seattle Pilots and co-founder Gary Bell, from the way too simple to write it scouting reports on any […]

17 Jul 19
Sport Archives

What does it mean for me? Houston Mitchell and it feels that basketball season is running, although it does not really start until October. Tennis The Wimbledon Sunday final was one of the biggest games in tennis history. I was all to write some sort of words about it to describe it all, but I […]