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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.

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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

4.2 (525 )
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4.2 (458 )
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Performance
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  •  
    R. Townsend eastern NC 01-02-14
    R. Townsend eastern NC 01-02-14 Member Since 2012

    bunky1998

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    "Much more than just a baseball book"

    I'm not a huge baseball fan, but I picked this up as an alternative to the business books I listen to in my car each day. I quickly found myself laughing out loud as Bouton describes the antics and behavior of himself, his teammates and the coaches/managers of their expansion MLB team.

    This is not a story about baseball as much as it's a story about young men being young men in the late 1960's, an aging pitcher looking for a second chance in the big leagues and why professional sports have changed so dramatically since Bouton was a player.

    Even more so, you get a chance to hear how Bouton's life changed after he wrote "Ball Four" and the life he pursued post-baseball. Bouton's stories and perspectives on a variety of subjects here are just as enjoyable.

    I typically prefer for someone other than the author to read the book aloud, but I must admit that "Ball Four" was the exception. You can't help but laugh along with Bouton as he cracks up, remembering these stories while he reads them. At the same time, you will experience his pain and sense of loss in a way that only Bouton can share as he reads to you. At one particularly emotional and poignant moment, Bouton says, "If you've read this far, you're like family anyway." It is as if he is reading to YOU personally, and I've never experienced that in any other Audible book. It is very moving, to say the least.

    One of the best books I've ever gotten on Audible.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    D. 02-09-13
    D. 02-09-13
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    "Tickled"
    Would you consider the audio edition of Ball Four to be better than the print version?

    Yes & then some .


    What did you like best about this story?

    Almost Everything - The Only Thing That I Did Not Enjoy Is Something That You Will Have To Listen To The Book To Understand .


    What about Jim Bouton’s performance did you like?

    GREAT !
    He will get So Tickled at times reading/remembering that You just have to laugh along with Him .
    There are other times You will feel other emotions as well.


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

    The Part That I Did Not Enjoy


    Any additional comments?

    Great Book - Great Narration

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Jo 02-04-13
    Jo 02-04-13
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    "Good Insight Into Quirks of Baseball in 1960's"
    Would you try another book from Jim Bouton and/or Jim Bouton?

    Probably not; but a definite NO if he reads it!


    Would you recommend Ball Four to your friends? Why or why not?

    Yes, but only if you love baseball and are at least 50 years old. You need both to appreciate the narrative, the players' names, etc.


    Who would you have cast as narrator instead of Jim Bouton?

    Anybody!! But, truthfully, when he occasionally snickers -- or outright laughs -- while reading things that "he wrote," it made me smile a few times; but I think my smile was "at Bouton" rather than "with Bouton."


    If this book were a movie would you go see it?

    No


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Amazon Customer 01-30-13

    FredAllen

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    "Listen to Bouton chuckling at his own bad jokes"

    About the only thing humorous about this audiobook was Bouton laughing at his own jokes.

    1 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Chris Madison Heights, VA, United States 01-07-13
    Chris Madison Heights, VA, United States 01-07-13
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    "Ball Four is a Walk"
    Is there anything you would change about this book?

    I would have had the book read by someone else. During the read he sometimes cracks himself up and it becomes a bit annoying.


    How would you have changed the story to make it more enjoyable?

    I would have had the book read by someone else. During the read he sometimes cracks himself up and it becomes a bit annoying.


    Could you see Ball Four being made into a movie or a TV series? Who should the stars be?

    no. I do not thank his career as a ball player was that impressive.


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Jimmy Altadena, CA, United States 10-23-12
    Jimmy Altadena, CA, United States 10-23-12 Member Since 2012
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    "Several Very Different Stories"

    Ball Four is a classic and it is wonderful to hear Bouton read the book himself. Hearing him busting up laughing at his own recounts of the nutty characters in the book is a real joy. However, SPOILER: Bouton has undergone a great deal of hardship and heartbreak in the last couple of decades and he writes about, and subsequently narrates, this in the epilogues. He does a beautiful and heart-wrenching job but naturally you will be left with a much different experience than you would if you had only read Ball Four. It's a great book with and without the epilogues, but it is something to be prepared for. I'm glad I listened to it.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    That Ray Guy SEATTLE, WA, United States 10-08-12
    That Ray Guy SEATTLE, WA, United States 10-08-12 Member Since 2014

    That Ray Guy

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    "Jim Bouton Speaks Truths"
    What did you like about this audiobook?

    I am NOT a sports fan - at times I can even be anti-sports, but this book is not a sports book. This is a true story told by the man who lived it (and took notes along the way).

    It is a story about people - the many types of people and how they act and interact with reality and the perceptions of their upbringings - and especially how people treat each other.

    Well thought out. Well written. Very well narrated.


    How has the book increased your interest in the subject matter?

    Jim Bouton - just listen to the sample and you'll know.


    Does the author present information in a way that is interesting and insightful, and if so, how does he achieve this?

    Giving away my favorite scene would be giving away the best parts. You'll just have to trust me that there are enough favorites for everyone.


    What did you find wrong about the narrator's performance?

    Enjoying life with dignity.


    Do you have any additional comments?

    Go ahead - it's a wonderful way to enjoy time with yourself and the author.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Karen B San Antonio, TX USA 10-08-12
    Karen B San Antonio, TX USA 10-08-12 Member Since 2012

    birkelbk

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    "On Deck...Baseball's Paraiah"

    I don't have a love of baseball, but I have an appreciation for it since I married a baseball fan and am raising a baseball fanatic. When we heard Jim Bouton on a radio program, my husband said he read Ball Four when he was a teenager and remembered it being a good book, so I thought I'd listen to it. Jim Bouton, telling his own stories, was a riot, especially when he couldn't keep from laughing at some of the antics of his teammates during the telling. I thoroughly enjoyed this book because it was a real insiders look at the clubhouse workings of baseball in the mid-century of the game. Bouton tells about people I remember from my childhood as former baseball players, so getting to know them as active players was delightful.

    It is really sad that so many in baseball turned against Bouton for his tell-all book, the first of many written by other baseball players and managers. There was nothing in the narrative that would cause an outsider to make any value judgements on any of the players, thereby justifying their shunning of Bouton. And while Ball Four is a complete story on its own, "The Final Pitch" part contains material from the 10-year anniversary re-release (Ball Five) and the 20-year re-release (Ball Six). Jim Bouton brings the real, human perspective of the effects a career in baseball has on a person in the final chapters of The Final Pitch.

    I recommend Ball Four: The Final Pitch to anyone with any level of appreciation for baseball because it will bring untouchable players off the field and into your heart.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Larry Fremont, CA, United States 09-14-12
    Larry Fremont, CA, United States 09-14-12
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    "A great story told by a great storyteller"
    What did you love best about Ball Four?

    Bouton is reading his own book. Sometimes he cracks himself up while reading and I love it. His personality comes through in every chapter.


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

    Retelling some of the hijinx that overgrown boys will do.


    Any additional comments?

    Bouton should step aside and let someone with talent join the glee club. His voice just isn't up to the task! It's great to be an Astro.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Ed Champa 08-14-12
    Ed Champa 08-14-12 Member Since 2014

    I am an Audible listener since 2002. I travel over 30,000 miles each year serving as a Microsoft Market Manager. The miles fly by!!!

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Wow, wonderful old memories rekindled!"
    Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?

    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.


    Any additional comments?

    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.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful

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