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1970 Life Magazine Book Review, Jim Bouton's "Ball Four"
Image by classic_film Book review of former Major League pitcher Jim Bouton's (b. March 8, 1939) controversial book "Ball Four." The book is a chronicle of his professional baseball season with the Seattle Pilots. This review was written by Wilfrid Sheed and is titled,"Hang in There, Jim Baby." Info about the book, from Wikipedia: The book is a diary of Bouton's 1969 season, spent with the Seattle Pilots (during the club's only year in existence) and then the Houston Astros following a late-season trade. In it, Bouton also recounts much of his baseball career, spent mainly with the New York Yankees. Despite its controversy at the time, with baseball commissioner Bowie Kuhn's attempts to discredit it and label it as detrimental to the sport, it is considered to be one of the most important sports books ever written and the only sports-themed book to make the New York Public Library's 1996 list of Books of the Century. It also is listed in Time Magazine's 100 greatest non-fiction books of all time. [...] Baseball commissioner Bowie Kuhn called "Ball Four" "detrimental to baseball," and tried to force Bouton to sign a statement saying that the book was completely fictional. Bouton refused to deny any of Ball Four's revelations. Many of Bouton's teammates never forgave him for publicly airing what he had learned in private about their flaws and foibles. The book made Bouton unpopular with many players, coaches, and officials on other teams as well, as they felt he had betrayed the long-standing rule: "What you see here, what you say here, what you do here, let it stay here." Pete Rose took to yelling "F*ck you, Shakespeare!" from the dugout whenever Bouton was pitching. Many of the day's sportswriters also denounced Bouton, with Dick Young leading the way, calling Bouton and Shecter "social lepers". [...] Although Bouton wrote about Mickey Mantle mostly in a positive light, his comments on Mantle's excesses spawned most of the book's notoriety, and provoked Bouton's essential blacklisting from baseball. Bouton tried several times to make peace with Mantle, but not until Bouton sent a condolence note after Mantle's son Billy died of cancer in 1994 did Mantle contact Bouton. The two former teammates reconciled not long before Mantle's death. ************** Published in Life magazine, August 21, 1970, Vol. 69 No. 8 Fair use/no known copyright. If you use this photo, please provide attribution credit; not for commercial use (see Creative Commons license).
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