ON AIR NOW

LISTEN NOW

Weather

cloudy-day
79°
Broken Clouds
H 94° L 75°
  • cloudy-day
    79°
    Current Conditions
    Broken Clouds. H 94° L 75°
  • cloudy-day
    90°
    Afternoon
    Partly Cloudy. H 94° L 75°
  • clear-day
    92°
    Evening
    Sunny. H 94° L 75°
LISTEN
PAUSE
ERROR

Wsb news on-demand

00:00 | 00:00

LISTEN
PAUSE
ERROR

Wsb traffic on-demand

00:00 | 00:00

LISTEN
PAUSE
ERROR

Wsb weather on-demand

00:00 | 00:00

National
'Ball Four' author. former pitcher Jim Bouton dead at 80
Close

'Ball Four' author. former pitcher Jim Bouton dead at 80

'Ball Four' author. former pitcher Jim Bouton dead at 80
Photo Credit: Tim Boyle/Newsmakers/Getty Images
Jim Bouton released several updates to his best selling book, "Ball Four," including "Ball Four: The Final Pitch," in 2000.

'Ball Four' author. former pitcher Jim Bouton dead at 80

Former major-league pitcher Jim Bouton, who made his lasting imprint on baseball with his behind-the-scenes bestseller, "Ball Four," died Wednesday at his home in Great Barrington, Massachusetts, according to several media reports. He was 80.

>> Read more trending news

Bouton died after struggling with vascular dementia, his wife, Paula Kurman, told The New York Times. The former right-handed pitcher, who played 10 major-league seasons with the New York Yankees, Seattle Pilots, Houston Astros and Atlanta Braves, suffered a stroke in 2012. Five years later, doctors discovered he had cerebral amyloid angiopathy, a brain disease, the newspaper reported.

Bouton was a hard-throwing pitcher when he broke in with the Yankees in 1962, who went 21-7 in 1963 and won two games in the 1964 World Series. However, but a sore arm relegated him to the minor leagues, and in 1969 he became a member of the expansion Seattle Pilots.

It was in Seattle that Bouton began keeping a diary, which would evolve into "Ball Four." Bouton's book, which centered on his efforts to make the Pilots' pitching rotation by throwing a knuckleball, was funny and irreverent, sprinkled with obscenities rarely -- if ever -- contained before in a baseball book.

Bouton wrote about clubhouse antics, and about players drinking hard, taking amphetamines and chasing women. Those revelations, along with stories about Mickey Mantle's personal life, angered baseball officials and players, Sports Illustrated reported.

Bouton's book broke the clubhouse credo, "What you see here, what you hear here, what happens here, stays here." Players viewed Bouton's book as a betrayal, and Dick Young of the New York Daily News referred to Bouton as "a social leper." When the pitcher later spoke with the acerbic columnist, Young's response became the title of Bouton's second book, "I'm Glad You Didn't Take It Personally." That book focused on the reactions to "Ball Four."

"Ball Four" was co-written with New York Post sportswriter Leonard Shecter. and published in June 1970. It was modeled after another major league pitcher's book, "The Long Season," written in 1960 by Jim Brosnan. Bouton, however, was able to capture the humor and vulgarity of a major league clubhouse in an engaging, funny way.

Baseball commissioner Bowie Kuhn summoned Bouton to a meeting after several excerpts of the book appeared in Look magazine and wanted the book banned, The Washington Post reported. Bouton refused, and the publicity from the meeting helped "Ball Four" become one of the biggest selling sports books in history, with more than 5.5 million copies in print, the newspaper reported.

In 2002, Sports Illustrated ranked "Ball Four" at No. 3 on its list of the top 100 sports books of all time. He finished behind A.J. Liebling’s boxing book, “The Sweet Science,” and Roger Kahn’s tribute to the Brooklyn Dodgers, “The Boys of Summer," the Post reported.

Bouton was traded from Seattle to Houston midway through the 1969 season and was released by the Astros in 1970. He made a brief comeback with Braves in 1978.

Bouton spent life after baseball as a motivational speaker and helped invent Big League Chew, a brand of bubblegum packaged to look like a bag of tobacco.

Bouton and Mantle reconciled before the Hall of Famer's death in 1995. Shunned for years by the Yankees, Bouton was finally invited to an Old-Timers Game in 1998 after his son, Michael, wrote a letter to the Times on Father's Day, asking the Yankees to end their freeze out of the former All-Star.

Bouton always insisted he was not trying to write a "kiss-and-tell" book, and also mentioned the positives of his career and the relationships he forged during his career. His love for the game never ended.

"You see, you spend a good piece of your life gripping a baseball and in the end it turns out that it was the other way around all the time," Bouton writes in the final paragraph of "Ball Four."

Read More

News

  • Authorities in Michigan are searching for a 2-year-old girl who reportedly vanished from an Oscoda County campsite Monday morning. >> Read more trending news According to the Oscoda County Sheriff's Office, family members of Gabriella Vitale, 2, of the Monroe area, 'lost track' of the girl as they were getting ready to leave the campsite near state Highway 33 and Reber Road. They reported her missing about 8:15 a.m., authorities said. By late Monday, search crews, including deputies, state troopers, police dogs, a police helicopter and Michigan Department of Natural Resources officers, had not found the child, authorities said. Gabriella was wearing a pink zip-up coat, a gray shirt, pink bottoms and tennis shoes when she disappeared, the Sheriff's Office said. Authorities later found the coat 'several hundred yards southeast of where she went missing,' Michigan State Police said. Gabriella 'may have autism,' WWTV reported. If you have any information about Gabriella's whereabouts, call 989-826-3214. Read more here or here.
  • A Tennessee man was indicted on first-degree murder charges after his girlfriend’s 2-year-old son was taken to the hospital and later died. >> Read more news stories Alan Johnson, 41, of Memphis, was taking care of the child while his mother was at work on Oct. 10, 2018, according to officials. He told investigators he was throwing the 2-year-old up in the air and catching him, but the boy slipped on the last throw, authorities said. According to investigators, Johnson said he swung the child – identified as Dylan Meeks – to “keep him from hitting the ground.” He said he saw the boy’s neck go back and noticed he was not responding, so he called police, authorities said. The child died two days later. The staff at Le Bonheur Children's Hospital told police that the injuries, which included a skull fracture, brain swelling, internal injuries and rib fractures, were not consistent with Johnson's story. The medical examiner found new and healing fractures of the child's ribs and also lacerations of several organs.  Johnson was later charged with murder. He was indicted Monday on charges of first-degree murder in the perpetration of aggravated child abuse and neglect. Johnson is being held without bond in the Shelby County Jail.
  • Police have apprehended a Pennsylvania man wanted on charges related to the death of his girlfriend's infant daughter, authorities said.  >> Read more trending news Pennsylvania State Police confirmed that Derrick Bass, 29, was arrested in Ohio on Monday, two days after the 11-month-old was found dead in a Pack ‘n Play at an apartment complex in East Huntingdon Township, Pennsylvania. He has been charged with homicide. The baby’s mother told police that Bass was supposed to be watching her daughter and his two children. He also was supposed to pick her up from work, but never showed up, she told police. When the girl’s mother got home, she noticed her daughter and various electronic items were missing, according to a complaint. She called police shortly after 11 p.m. Police responded to the apartment shortly after 12:30 a.m. after the mother reported finding her daughter unresponsive in the Pack ‘n Play, the complaint said. She did not see her until that time because the baby was covered in blankets, according to the complaint. Family identified the girl as 11-month-old Niomie Miller. An autopsy was conducted Sunday morning, and the preliminary cause of death was determined to be drowning, authorities said.
  • An electric company worker in eastern Kentucky took every precaution recently as he prepared to head out to a job untangling a tree from a power line, but little did he know there was no way to prepare for what was about to happen to him.  >> Read more trending news  Chris Prater told WYMT-TV that he sprayed himself down with insect repellent and joined his crew for the task ahead. After finishing the job, he said his eye bothered him. “I noticed I just started having irritation in my eye,” Prater said. He said he flushed his eye out several times and had a co-worker take a look, yet a spot he noticed didn’t move, WYMT reported. Prater was hesitant to go to a doctor, but finally made an appointment with an optometrist. 'When the doctor finally comes in, he was looking at it. He said, 'I know what's in your eye.'' Prater said he was stunned when the doctor explained what he had found. “He said, ‘It's a tick.’ That's when I got scared a little bit,” Prater told the news station. “I leaned around and looked at him and I asked him if he was joking and he said, ‘No, you have a deer tick or some type of tick.’ It was very little.” The doctor numbed Prater’s eye and used a pair of tweezers to extract the tick. “Once he grabbed ahold of it and pulled it off, the tick made a, like, a little popping sound when it came off of my eye,” Prater said. Luckily there was no lasting damage to his eye, but Prater wanted to warn others about the importance of using insect repellent, even though he knows that wouldn’t have helped his eye.
  • New York authorities are investigating the death of a 3-year-old boy who fell into a grease trap Monday morning in Rochester and died. >> Read more trending news  The tragedy happened behind a Tim Hortons restaurant around 11 a.m., according to WROC-TV. A witness found the boy, pulled him out of the pit and administered CPR but the boy died a short time later at a local hospital. “It’s a horrible, tragic accident,” police investigator Frank Camp told WROC.  There was no fencing around the trap and it was “flush with the ground,” Camp said.  The trap was covered with a green plastic lid and it blended in with the surrounding grass, Camp told CNN. “The lid was on there. It looks like the child ran across it and it popped open and he fell into the trap,” Camp said. The pit is 2.5-feet in diameter, and the city was called in to pour concrete around the trap and replace the plastic lid with a metal one. Right Now: A crew is working to secure a grease trap at Tim Hortons on University Avenue. This is following a tragic accident earlier today. A 3-year-old boy has died after falling into this grease trap. Police attempts were made to save him but were unsuccessful. @SPECNewsROC pic.twitter.com/fubViueURN — Natasha Acrie (@NatashaAcrieTV) July 15, 2019 “We have a horrifying episode here that happened today,” Camp said, according to CNN. “We're asked all the time, ‘What's the worst thing you encounter as a police officer?’ and this is No. 1.” It’s unclear how the child, who was not publicly identified, wandered behind the restaurant. The medical examiner will issue an official cause of death in the next few weeks “We have a horrifying episode here that happened today,” Camp said, according to CNN. “We're asked all the time, ‘What's the worst thing you encounter as a police officer?’ and this is No. 1.” It’s unclear how the child, who was not publicly identified, wandered behind the restaurant. The medical examiner will issue an official cause of death in the next few weeks.
  • A biologist diving off the English coast over the weekend had a stunning and rare encounter with a jellyfish so large, it was easily the size of a grown man. >> Read more trending news  Researcher and broadcaster Lizzie Daly described the encounter as “breathtaking,” according to CNN. “What an unforgettable experience,” said Daly, who was diving as part of her Wild Ocean Week campaign to raise awareness and money for the United Kingdom’s Marine Conservation Society. “I know barrel jellyfish get really big in size but I have never seen anything like it before!” she said.She was diving off the coast of Falmouth, where she and her diving partner spotted the massive jellyfish. “It really humbles you to be alongside an animal that size,” Daly told Vice News. “It’s an experience we’ll never forget.”  Barrel jellyfish inhabit the British seas and are the largest species of jellyfish in U.K. waters, CNN reported. They can grow larger than three feet and weigh more than 55 pounds.