Jim Bouton, a once-promising pitcher with the New York Yankees who found greater fame as the author of “Ball Four,” an irreverent, best-selling book that angered baseball’s hierarchy and changed the way journalists and fans viewed the sports world, died July 10 at his home in Great Barrington, Mass. He was 80.
He had a stroke in 2012 and five years later disclosed he had been diagnosed with cerebral amyloid angiopathy, a condition that causes vessels in the brain to burst under pressure. The death was confirmed by his wife, Paula Kurman.
Quite simply, Ball Four is the best sports book I’ve ever read. If I have the time, I pull it out and re-read it every spring. It’s funny, it’s observant and, most of all (not to mention what the people who were offended when it was released missed) it’s an ode to baseball.
The last line of the book says it all. “… 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.”