From the day he first stepped into the Yankee clubhouse, Jim Bouton
(1939–2019) was the sports world's deceptive revolutionary.
Underneath the crew cut and behind the all-American boy-next-door
good looks lurked a maverick with a signature style. Whether it was
his frank talk about player salaries and mistreatment by
management, his passionate advocacy of progressive politics, or his
efforts to convince the United States to boycott the 1968 Olympics,
Bouton confronted the conservative sports world and compelled it to
catch up with a rapidly changing American society.
Bouton defied tremendous odds to make the majors, won two games for
the Yankees in the 1964 World Series, and staged an improbable
comeback with the Braves as a thirty-nine-year-old. But it was his
fateful 1969 season with the Seattle Pilots and his resulting
insider's account, Ball Four, that did nothing less than
reintroduce America to its national pastime in a lasting, profound
way. In Bouton: The Life of a Baseball Original, Mitchell Nathanson
gives readers a look at Bouton's remarkable life. He tells the
unlikely story of how Bouton's Ball Four, perhaps the greatest
baseball book of all time, came into being, how it was received,
and how it forever changed the way we view not only sports books
but professional sports as a whole. Based on wide-ranging
interviews Nathanson conducted with Bouton, family, friends, and
others, he provides an intimate, inside account of Bouton's life.
Nathanson provides insight as to why Bouton saw the world the way
he did, why he was so different than the thousands of players who
came before him, and how, in the cliquey, cold, bottom‑line world
of professional baseball, Bouton managed to be both an insider and
an outsider all at once.