We are currently making improvements to the Audible site. In an effort to enhance the accessibility experience for our customers, we have created a page to more easily navigate the new experience, available at the web address www.audible.com/access.
Ball Four: The Final Pitch | [Jim Bouton]

Ball Four: The Final Pitch

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.
Regular Price:$29.95
  • Membership Details:
    • First book free with 30-day trial
    • $14.95/month thereafter for your choice of 1 new book each month
    • Cancel easily anytime
    • Exchange books you don't like
    • All selected books are yours to keep, even if you cancel
  • - or -

Your Likes make Audible better!

'Likes' are shared on Facebook and Audible.com. We use your 'likes' to improve Audible.com for all our listeners.

You can turn off Audible.com sharing from your Account Details page.

OK

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

4.1 (405 )
5 star
 (196)
4 star
 (112)
3 star
 (62)
2 star
 (16)
1 star
 (19)
Overall
4.2 (359 )
5 star
 (186)
4 star
 (100)
3 star
 (40)
2 star
 (18)
1 star
 (15)
Story
4.1 (358 )
5 star
 (187)
4 star
 (86)
3 star
 (50)
2 star
 (16)
1 star
 (19)
Performance
Sort by:
  •  
    Gary 05-01-12
    Gary 05-01-12
    HELPFUL VOTES
    79
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    75
    14
    FOLLOWERS
    FOLLOWING
    0
    0
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Best Author Read Book - about more than baseball"
    Would you consider the audio edition of Ball Four to be better than the print version?

    You can't get the feeling that Jim Bouton puts into it with the printed edition. This is the best author read book I have ever listened to. It is like sitting around having a few beers with Jim Bouton and letting him tell you stories - about baseball, about his family and about his life. You will laugh out loud and cry along with Bouton, who does both as he reads his book. Nice to see someone who is not afraid to display real emotion. Only a Bowie Kuhn loving, myopic Yankee fan could still hate this book. The little editing miscues only add to the charm of the book. This is not a sterlie precise, English diction recording.... this is life at its rawest form.... real amd emotional. The people that complain about this would probably sit a ball game and sulk the whole time too.


    What other book might you compare Ball Four to and why?

    Ken Stabler's "Snake"


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

    No


    1 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Frobertimus 04-17-12
    Frobertimus 04-17-12 Listener Since 2009

    KZ

    HELPFUL VOTES
    16
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    87
    4
    FOLLOWERS
    FOLLOWING
    2
    2
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Needs editing prior to release next time!"

    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.

    2 of 5 people found this review helpful
  •  
    lisa katy, United States Minor Outlying Islands 12-15-13
    lisa katy, United States Minor Outlying Islands 12-15-13 Member Since 2012
    HELPFUL VOTES
    4
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    13
    8
    FOLLOWERS
    FOLLOWING
    1
    4
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Authors should not be Narrators"
    Would you try another book from Jim Bouton and/or Jim Bouton?

    No


    What was most disappointing about Jim Bouton’s story?

    I couldn't make it thru the book, and I don't give up easily. Hard to follow once you have lost the ability to listen to the author laugh at his own jokes.


    How did the narrator detract from the book?

    He laughed at his own jokes that were not funny. Dull. Unprofessional


    1 of 3 people found this review helpful
  •  
    P.J. LANSING, KS, United States 03-19-13
    P.J. LANSING, KS, United States 03-19-13 Member Since 2014

    katsuey

    HELPFUL VOTES
    23
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    81
    55
    FOLLOWERS
    FOLLOWING
    1
    0
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Has Been Baseball, Corney Jokes"

    I bought this book based on very high reviews and ravings. I thought I'd learn all about the inside stories in baseball, again based on reviews. Not even! What we have here is a so-so had been baseball player telling HIS story and in a bit of a confused way since he jumps around a bit.

    I'm slogging through really bad jokes where the reader-author laughs to let you know it's suppose to be funny. I would never have purchased a book by a not very well known has been baseball player's life. It's just not interesting to me. What I thought I was purchasing was stories of a lot of baseball players and the secrets behind the facade of baseball. If that's what you are wanting, take it from me -It's not there.

    1 of 3 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Walter T. Duryea Federal Way, WA United States 05-03-12
    Walter T. Duryea Federal Way, WA United States 05-03-12 Member Since 2012
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    29
    1
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "FATASTIC LOOK INSIDE BASEBALL"
    If you could sum up Ball Four in three words, what would they be?

    Entertaining, informative, heartwarming


    What did you like best about this story?

    The best part of this book was the author's narration.


    What does Jim Bouton bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you just read the book?

    Involvement and emotion


    Was there a moment in the book that particularly moved you?

    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.


    Any additional comments?

    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

    0 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    YTT 08-22-14
    YTT 08-22-14 Member Since 2014
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    2
    1
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Boring!!!!"
    What disappointed you about Ball Four?

    I can't understand what the big deal is about this book. I love baseball. Just finished books on Cobb, Ruth and Stengel. I could barely listen to this. It was just a continuous attempt by Bouton funny which he was not. It still would not be good but it would have been an improvement had Bouton not tried to narrate it.


    Would you be willing to try another one of Jim Bouton’s performances?

    No


    What character would you cut from Ball Four?

    Jim Bouton


    0 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    James Long Beach, NY, United States 04-15-12
    James Long Beach, NY, United States 04-15-12 Member Since 2015

    Retired 35 year policeman from So CA, relocated with my wife to South Carolina with "Toby" our cat. I listen to two books a week

    HELPFUL VOTES
    38
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    33
    29
    FOLLOWERS
    FOLLOWING
    2
    2
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Reincarnated, Outdated, Boring Stories"
    What disappointed you about Ball Four?

    Told with the excitement of a minister at a funueral


    Would you ever listen to anything by Jim Bouton again?

    No, hopefully this is his first and last book


    How could the performance have been better?

    Had a professional actor do the reading.


    What character would you cut from Ball Four?

    Easier question to ask is which character should be kept.


    Any additional comments?

    I love baseball and was hoping for something interesting........not.

    2 of 21 people found this review helpful

Report Inappropriate Content

If you find this review inappropriate and think it should be removed from our site, let us know. This report will be reviewed by Audible and we will take appropriate action.

Cancel

Thank You

Your report has been received. It will be reviewed by Audible and we will take appropriate action.