- Audible Audio Edition
- Listening Length: 18 hours and 32 minutes
- Program Type: Audiobook
- Version: Unabridged
- Publisher: Audible Studios
- Audible.com Release Date: April 7, 2012
- Language: English
- ASIN: B007S6M8A4
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank:
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Ball Four: The Final Pitch Audible – Unabridged
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Top Customer Reviews
Bouton tells all, in, by today's standards, a tame fashion. We read about everything -- ballplayers cheating on their wives, playing with hangovers, racial problems between teammates, players taking uppers before a game, etc. Bouton is a very insightful writer and presents the material in a humorous manner, the humor, or barbs, is directed at his teammates, managers, coaches, and, in many instances, at himself.
Baseball was outraged when the book first came out in 1970. Many players and baseball executives considered Bouton a turncoat. But the years have shown that Ball Four was a groundbreaking book, one that set the standard for tell-all books to come. These other books, however, have never reached the level of excellence of Bouton's "Ball Four."
What makes Ball Four better than any other baseball book is that it allows its readers to see the game from a player's perspective. Never has a book given such an up-close, in-the-locker-room look at baseball. Of course, Bouton himself is brilliant. I love his sarcasm and his biting wit. Ball Four might have been a pretty good book even if it had been written by a poor writer; Bouton, though, is an excellent storyteller and his attitude is what shapes the book. If you consider yourself a fan of the game, you will buy Ball Four immediately. It has given me great joy time and time again.
You will also see that it led to several other books by Jim Bouton and even one by his ex wife (another analogy to Canseco whose ex wife also wrote a book). Bouton was a great pitcher but alas for only the period from 1961-1964. 1963 was his best season but even though he pitched well in that world series the Yankees got steamrolled by the Dodger staff with Drysdale and Koufax leading the way. After retirementhe came back to pitch for the Seattle Pilots expansion team in their first year. He had developed a knuckle ball and that allowed him some limited success. Bulldog Jim wrote a book about that experience too. He had a trick when he pitched for the Yankees. He wouldd deliberately wear a very loose fitting cap that would usually fall off his head as he delivered the pitch. This was distracting for the hitters. But in his day Bouton had a good fastball and a deceptive changeup and he was part of a great pitching rotation in 1963 that included Ford, Downing and Terry.
Basically, "Ball Four" is a diary of the 1968 season written by a journeyman middle-relief knuckleballer. Before injuring his arm, and turning to the knuckleball, Bouton was a fireball pitcher for the New York Yankees. In his rookie season in 1962, Bouton won two games for the Yanks in the World Series. He played with Mantle and Ford. Then his arm went dead, and he found himself back in the minors, where he taught himself to throw the knuckler. The Yanks didn't think much of him anymore and traded him to the expansion Seattle Pilots (which left Seattle after a single year for...get this...Milwaukee), where he earned a spot as a spot starter and mopup long relief man.
The book reveals the personalities of the players and managers and owners. It tells what the players do on the road, in the bullpen, in the minors. It reveals the petty nature of the coaching staff, who are usually all old-time baseball men, not very clever, not prone to trying new ways. It talks about the dicey contract negotiations by players in the days of the reserve clause, when average players made an average wage.
Bouton travels in the world of boys. The players are mostly kids in their 20s, not educated, and spent their formative years in baseball. They like pranks. They like women, but they don't know either how to talk about them, or how to talk with them.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Here it is 40+ years later and Bouton and 'Ball Four' still cracks me up! One of a kind book on human nature and real conversations and thoughts. Read morePublished 4 days ago by Amazon Commenter
One of the classic books written by a guy who once was viewed as a "Super Star". Hilarious anecdotes about the "other side" of being a major league ball player. Read morePublished 25 days ago by C. F. LAFFERTY Jr.
A good look at baseball off the field from a baseball insiderPublished 27 days ago by Amazon Customer
I don't know why it took me so many years to read this book which I knew created an up roar when published. Read morePublished 29 days ago by Douglas B. Kern
Holds up great after 40-plus years since it was written. Want my son to read it to know what sports could be.Published 1 month ago by mscheer
Very entertaining.. Read this do ok several times over the years 'Published 1 month ago by Amazon Customer
This is a great book - I think even people that aren't sports fans would enjoy it.Published 2 months ago by Dennis IDe