Yes I recommend this book, especially to baseball fans. I read this book when I was young in the early 70's, and now enjoying it once again with the perspective of time made it a wonderful treat to listen to.
Normally, I don't care for an author reading their own material, but this book turns out to be the exception. Bouton does a mavelous job of narrating his own work.
When the original Ball Four, circa 1970, came out, I found myself somewhat uninterested, therefore didn't read it (or listen to) till now, 40 years later. In some respects I'm glad I waited. The expanded version Ball Four is more than a story about baseball its one of the human condition. Bouton goes beyond the original tome to his life after baseball which I found just as fascinating. While I am considerably younger than him I certainly appreciate the struggles that life leaves many of us . In his case the passing of a loved one was particularly tender. The raw honesty in his story telling along with a lively sense of humor makes Ball Four an excellent work.
A writer and journalist living in the great Pacific Northwest
A Game Changer
I first read Ball Four as a kid when it first came out and caused such a stir. It changed the way I thought about sports, and the stories inspired me to look for the real stories behind the scenes and not the glossy, front-office-authorized fluff that passed for sports memoirs before Jim Bouton set the genre on its ear.
I have spent countless hours as a sports writer listening to athletes tell stories. My favorite hours have been spent at baseball training camp, listening to coaches and former players telling their stories. Jim Bouton reading his own book is as close as the casual listener can get to that experience. For a baseball fan, it's a true gift.
My heart broke as Jim described the death of his daughter and the emotional return he made to Yankee Stadium that grew out of that deep family tragedy. It is gut-wrenching, it is deeply personal, and it is as raw and real as it gets.
Listen to this book, then go pound some Budweiser.
I decided to go back and read Jim Bouton's iconic 1970 novel, "Ball Four." So when I went to Audible to download it, I was delighted to discover that Jim Bouton himself was the reader. And I also learned that I would be listening to the updated version, which included all of the updates he had added whenever they re-published the book.
What a treat.
It doesn't always work well when the author does the reading, but Bouton was a terrific reader. You felt you were sitting down in the living room and listening to his stream of consciousness as he talked about his career and especially his 1969 year with the Pilots and Astros - then as he updated the book in his several epilogues. He laughed as he was telling a funny story, and you knew no one else could read it quite the same way.
With the good comes the bad, however; in his last chapter (which is why the newest version is called "Ball Four: The Final Pitch"), he talks about the sudden death of his 31-year old daughter, Laurie, who was rear-ended in a fatal car accident. Jim could barely get the words out as he recounts those horrible hours, days and year afterwards. I challenge any of you to keep a dry eye as he struggles to read his own words. Or when the Yankees finally ask him back - after 28 years in "exile" - to the annual Old Timers Game at Yankee Stadium.
So if you get the same notion - to go back and read the book - make sure you get the latest edition. And I guarantee you will not be disappointed if you listen to the audio version instead.
Entertaining, informative, heartwarming
The best part of this book was the author's narration.
Involvement and emotion
There were several. Bouton's narration was more like a one on one visit with the man. He laughed at the silly stuff and broke down when what he wrote touched him deeply.
This book is the real deal. It is a story of real baseball from the perspective of a player. The fun, the drudgery, the joy and the pain of the game come through Bouton's narration in a way that puts the listener in the story. His humor, confusion, outrage and emotional involvement in the game comes through loud and clear and is augmented by the revised edition additions to the original book. I laughed and I cried as I listened to this tale of a man inside baseball who loved the game and his family, fought hypocrisy in the front office and through horseplay showed his love and respect for his compatriots, competitors and officials. This was one of the best books I have ever listened to and I think that means something having over 500 titles in my Audible Library
Too many instances of coughing, microphone bumping and other distractions. Doesn't anyone listen for these things prior to release?! A terrible disservice to Jim Bouton, who deserves better.
Retired 35 year policeman from So Calif, relocated to NY with my wife and our cat "Toby"the real head of our family. Listen to two bks a wk.
Told with the excitement of a minister at a funueral
No, hopefully this is his first and last book
Had a professional actor do the reading.
Easier question to ask is which character should be kept.
I love baseball and was hoping for something interesting........not.