15 June 2011

Bouton's Ball Four

Ball FourBall Four by Jim Bouton
My rating: 2 of 5 stars

This was the first "True Confessions" type of baseball book written by a player, published in 1970, before the reserve clause was done away with. It created quite a stir back then as Bouton was brutally honest about the stupidity and inanities of top management, middle management and those on the shop floor, including the servants and the sports writers of the time.


In addition, he was arrogant enough to leave himself out of the criticism, all of which did not endear him to almost everyone in baseball except for those who followed him and a few honest folk playing at the time. It was a bombshell then, not so much now as we have become used to this sort of thing. It's hard to know who to trust, especially with the steroid scandal of recent history. Apparently the drug of choice in the 60s was "greenies," or amphetamines. Bouton added a chapter 10 years later and then another 20 years later. The edition I re-read was the 20th anniversary so that was 1990, but the paperback was newer than that.


It's a quick read and funny and, of course, foul-mouthed, the literary equivalent of the spitting and "adjusting" the crotch we see on the TV these days. Chapters are about 3 pages long. He says he wrote it himself. I believe him.


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