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Ball Four Audiobook

Ball Four: The Final Pitch

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Publisher's Summary

Ball Four: The Final Pitch is the original book plus all the updates, unlike the 20th Anniversary Edition paperback.

When Ball Four was published in 1970, it created a firestorm. Bouton was called a Judas, a Benedict Arnold and a “social leper” for having violated the “sanctity of the clubhouse.” Baseball commissioner Bowie Kuhn tried to force Bouton to sign a statement saying the book wasn’t true. Ballplayers, most of whom hadn’t read it, denounced the book. It was even banned by a few libraries.

Almost everyone else, however, loved Ball Four. Fans liked discovering that athletes were real people--often wildly funny people. Many readers said it gave them strength to get through a difficult period in their lives. Serious critics called it an important document.

David Halberstam, who won a Pulitzer for his reporting on Vietnam, wrote a piece in Harper’s that said of Bouton: “He has written… a book deep in the American vein, so deep in fact that it is by no means a sports book.”

In 1999 Ball Four was selected by the New York Public Library as one of the “Books of the Century.” And Time magazine chose it as one of the "100 Greatest Non-Fiction" books.

Besides changing the image of athletes, the book played a role in the economic revolution in pro sports. In 1975, Ball Four was accepted as legal evidence against the owners at the arbitration hearing, which lead to free agency in baseball and, by extension, to other sports.

Today Ball Four has taken on another role--as a time capsule of life in the 60s. "It is not just a diary of Bouton's 1969 season with the Seattle Pilots and Houston Astros," says sportswriter Jim Caple. "It's a vibrant, funny, telling history of an era that seems even further away than four decades. To call it simply a "tell all book" is like describing The Grapes of Wrath as a book about harvesting peaches in California."

©1970, 1981, 1990 Jim Bouton (P)2012 Audible, Inc.

What the Critics Say

"A book deep in the American vein, so deep in fact it is by no means a sports book." (David Halberstam)

"Ball Four is a people book, not just a baseball book." (The New York Times)

"Ball Four is out in a new e-book edition, available on Kindle. It also is available as an audio book, read by Bouton himself, through audible.com. The only thing better than reading Ball Four again might be listening to Bouton read it to you." (R. A. Dickey, columnist and senior writer for ESPN.com.)

What Members Say

Average Customer Rating

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Performance
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  •  
    Amazon Customer 08-19-16
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    "interesting old ball player with some fun stories"

    it took a while to get into but he's got some gems in there. if you wanted to hear about how ball players were like in the 60s then this is for you

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Chelsea Park City 08-08-16
    Chelsea Park City 08-08-16 Member Since 2012

    Say something about yourself!

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    "Couldn't put it down!"

    Loved every minute of it! Would read again and again! Loved it how Jim told his story!

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Greg 04-21-16
    Greg 04-21-16 Member Since 2012
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    "More than worth the time to listen."

    Excellent, not only on baseball but also about life. Made me laugh and cry, a book you will want to revisit.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
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    geoffrey medweth 12-20-15 Member Since 2015
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    "A NO HOLDS BARRED LOOK BEHIND THE SCENES"
    Would you consider the audio edition of Ball Four to be better than the print version?

    With Jim Bouton actually reading the book, complete with appropriate inflection, the listener can really get a better notion of what he was feeling at the time.


    What was one of the most memorable moments of Ball Four?

    Hearing an interested and involved onlooker actually cut down some of the great players of the day. Today sports interviews are generally so staid and trite, with a litany of cliches, that met out very little actual information


    Which scene was your favorite?

    The whole book was pretty interesting, especially when Bouton makes his comeback years after his career was ostensibly over.


    Any additional comments?

    This is a pretty interesting insiders look behind the scenes. My one criticism would be that while Bouton does mention some of his own misgivings, others, that my own reading outside of this book, are glossed over or ignored. I'm pretty sure I was paying attention throughout and there is no mention of his retirement in the 70's.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Donald T. Wardlow hamilton, nj usa 12-19-15
    Donald T. Wardlow hamilton, nj usa 12-19-15 Member Since 2016

    donald t wardlow

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    "Funniest Baseball Book Ever"

    I read this book at some point in the '70s when it was relatively new. I had to smother my laughter, lest my Mom ask me what I was laughing about. A lot of the stories here weren't the kind you told to Mother-not then, not now. How could this book get any funnier? Have the author read his own work. Awesome move. Bouton has been a motivational speaker for some time, and kindly sent me a recording of one of his speeches when I was a baseball broadcaster. I knew from hearing it how good his delivery was for jokes. I didn't know that a 70-year-old Bouton could still laugh at jokes he wrote 40 years earlier. He did. What a romp through baseball's past this is.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Robert 12-14-15
    Robert 12-14-15 Member Since 2013
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    "I didn't finish..."

    This is a bit too long for me with a lot of repetition. as a diary, it works really well, delving into the day to day lives of baseball players. I can see why it was shocking to the public when it came out and why other players might have been upset. But these days, none of this is shocking or much news. I will probably pick up where I left off at some point, but for now I will set it aside.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    John E. Bragg 10-26-15 Member Since 2016
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    "Classic book lives up to reputation!"
    Where does Ball Four rank among all the audiobooks you’ve listened to so far?

    One of the best I've heard!


    What did you like best about this story?

    Having the author himself reading the book was fantastic! His spontaneous chuckles when reading certain passages was really wonderful!


    Have you listened to any of Jim Bouton’s other performances before? How does this one compare?

    Not sure if Jim has read other books.


    If you were to make a film of this book, what would the tag line be?

    A great story about a great era of a great game!


    Any additional comments?

    This is a really wonderful book and Jim Bouton's performance is magnificent! It was heartbreaking to listen to him reading the passages about the death of his daughter. It was hard to listen to...but touching because you can hear the genuine emotion in his voice.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    David San Jose, CA United States 10-15-15
    David San Jose, CA United States 10-15-15 Member Since 2012
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    "Two different book, each good in its own way"

    This is really two quite different books. The original Ball Four, from the 1970's, is goofy and funny. Being read by the author in the audiobook, he telegraphs the punchlines as he can hardly contain his own laughter. I almost cried a couple of times with his stories. The narrative is a little choppy in moments, as he has plenty of flashbacks. It's also a unique tale, as he wrote this while playing for the Seattle Pilots, who were only a Major League franchise for a single year, before folding and moving to Milwaukee. The second half of the book are a series of 10 year updates. The last is the most heart bending. Having the author read his own book, and telling the story of the death of his daughter in her early twenties is jarring, but all too real. A couple of times in my life I've experienced parents in their 80's and 90's losing a child in their 40's or 50's, and that was something I'll never forget. The rawness of his reading is incredibly moving. If you aren't up the that, you can stop at the end of the first half of the book, and you'll have a wonderful time. I learned more about life in the second half of the book.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Jim M Pennsylvania 09-28-15
    Jim M Pennsylvania 09-28-15 Member Since 2009

    roogiesdad

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    "Good "re-read" of an old favorite"
    If you could sum up Ball Four in three words, what would they be?

    I had read this book in high school but wanted to refresh my memory. I forgot most of it and enjoyed the author's reading of his own story. You can feel his emotion as he reads. He chuckles when he recalls a funny story, and exhibits pain when he tells a sad one.


    What was one of the most memorable moments of Ball Four?

    A reminder of what sports and baseball used to be. It was before free agency and the boom in salaries in all sports. They struggled over $500 a season.


    Have you listened to any of Jim Bouton’s other performances before? How does this one compare?

    No.


    Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

    Somewhat. It's a long book and I usually only listen on my 30 minute commute to work and back. However, I did find myself sitting in my driveway now and then wanting to finish a few of the stories.


    Any additional comments?

    I think Jim Bouton is more famous for the book than for his pitching record. Few remember that he won 20 games in a season for the Yankees or actually pitched in the World Series.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Karen 08-01-15
    Karen 08-01-15
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    "Awesome book!"

    I first read Ball Four over forty years ago. It seemed very shocking at the time. It's not so shocking now, but it is just as well-written and charming! The narration by the author is just the icing on the cake. The little mistakes are more than offset by the true emotion Jim Boutin shows at every turn - from ecstasy to amusement to disgust to deep and profound sadness. I cannot recommend this book highly enough.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful

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