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.
"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.)
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.
Ken Stabler's "Snake"
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.
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.
He laughed at his own jokes that were not funny. Dull. Unprofessional
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.
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
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.
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
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.
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