On Air Now

Listen Now

Weather

cloudy-day
59°
Partly Cloudy
H 77° L 57°
  • cloudy-day
    59°
    Current Conditions
    Partly Cloudy. H 77° L 57°
  • cloudy-day
    77°
    Today
    Partly Cloudy. H 77° L 57°
  • heavy-rain-day
    70°
    Tomorrow
    Chance of Rain. H 70° L 60°
Listen
Pause
Error

News on-demand

00:00 | 00:00

Listen
Pause
Error

Traffic on-demand

00:00 | 00:00

Listen
Pause
Error

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

  • Three young children, including a baby, were alone in a St. Louis apartment Sunday when a fire broke out in the building, killing the infant and critically injuring the others, authorities said. >> Read more trending news  According to KSDK-TV, firefighters said the blaze began about 1:30 p.m. on the top floor of a three-story building on Kealty Lane. After calling 911, neighbors reportedly tried to save the children, kicking down the locked door before the billowing smoke forced them to retreat.  When emergency crews arrived, they discovered the baby dead inside the apartment, KTVI reported. The two surviving children were rushed to a nearby hospital, where they remain in critical condition, officials said. Although authorities have not revealed the victims' names or ages, a family friend told KTVI that the older children are 5 and 3. It wasn't immediately clear what caused the fire or whether anyone could face criminal charges in the incident. Read more here or here.
  • One of Texas' largest cities is reeling after a tornado swept through north Dallas on Sunday night, officials said. >> Read more trending news  According to KDFW-TV, the twister struck about 9 p.m. CDT near Dallas Love Field Airport, then headed east, damaging homes and businesses while initially knocking out power to more than 100,000 people in the region. As of early Monday, no deaths or serious injuries had been reported, the city of Dallas said in a news release; however, emergency officials told The Associated Press that they received reports of people cut by glass shards. Crews also were trying to determine whether any victims were trapped inside a collapsed structure after seven people safely fled the building, the AP reported.  WFAA-TV reported that the storm destroyed Dallas Stars hockey player Tyler Seguin's mansion. Seguin appeared to confirm the news on Twitter but assured fans that he was OK. 'Thanks to everyone reaching out about the news tonight, I am safe,' he tweeted. 'Luckily this is my house for sale and I have moved into a new one. I just left the area and it is an extremely sad sight to see. Prayers to everyone affected by the tornado.' The storm caused 'significant' damage to six homes in nearby Sachse, as well, the AP reported. Four of those houses are now considered 'uninhabitable,' according to the news agency. Read more here. – The Associated Press contributed to this report.
  • A toddler is dead and two adults are recovering from injuries after gunfire erupted Sunday in Philadelphia's Kensington neighborhood, police said. >> Read more trending news  According to KYW-TV, a shooter armed with an AK-47 rifle fired into a Water Street home about 3:30 p.m., striking a 2-year-old girl, her 24-year-old mother and a 33-year-old male contractor, authorities said. The girl, who suffered a gunshot wound to the head, died at the scene, police said.  Emergency responders rushed the woman, who was struck in the head and back, and the man, who suffered a gunshot wound to the stomach, to a nearby hospital, WCAU-TV reported. They are in stable and critical condition, respectively, authorities said. Investigators believe the shooter intentionally targeted the house, then ran from the scene, the news outlets reported. Police said they have not arrested any suspects in connection with the case. Police also are investigating whether the incident is connected to a shooting that occurred minutes earlier on East Clearfield Street, according to KYW. No injuries were reported, authorities told WCAU. Read more here or here.
  • A Georgia woman has been arrested in connection with the death of a toddler in Donalsonville, authorities said. >> Read more trending news  Paresij Handford, 28, was charged with the death of 2-year-old Zayden Brown, GBI spokeswoman Jamy Steinberg said in a news release. Handford is the girlfriend of Brown’s father.  Brown’s autopsy at the GBI Crime Lab revealed that Brown died from several injuries. His death was then ruled a homicide, Steinberg said.  Handford was arrested after the GBI performed witness interviews and obtained evidence related to the case, the release said. She is charged with one count of felony murder and one count of first-degree child cruelty. Handford was booked in the Seminole County Jail, Steinberg said. The county borders Alabama and Florida, and Donalsonville, the county seat, is about 225 miles southwest of downtown Atlanta. Anyone with information on the case is asked to contact Donalsonville police or the GBI at 229-225-4090.
  • Steelers linebacker Anthony Chickillo was arrested in Fayette County over the weekend. >> Read more trending news  The details surrounding the alleged incident are unclear at this point, but state police confirmed it stemmed from a 'domestic situation' with Chickillo's girlfriend over the weekend. Multiple sources have told Channel 11 the incident happened at Nemacolin Woodlands Resort in Farmington. We have reached out to Nemacolin regarding the incident but have not yet heard back. Chickillo is facing multiple charges, including simple assault, criminal mischief and harassment.  According to court documents, Chickillo was released from jail on a $10,000 bond. State police said Chickillo's girlfriend was cited for harassment as well. The Pittsburgh Steelers issued a statement regarding Chickillo, confirming they were aware of the 'incident' that led to his arrest: 'We are aware of an incident involving Anthony Chickillo last night and are still gathering information. Until we have further details, we will not provide any further comments.' Chickillo's status with Pittsburgh is uncertain moving forward, but he is still listed on the team's roster as of Sunday night.
  • A 500-pound bomb the United States dropped during a bombing raid over Italy during World War II didn’t explode -- until Sunday. >> Read more trending news  The bomb was found near a cathedral in Balzano, not far from a train station, the likely intended target, during construction of a shopping center, the ANSA news agency reported.  About 4,000 people were evacuated while experts spent more than three hours defusing the bomb before it was taken to a controlled site and detonated, online newspaper Neue Suedtiroler Tageszeitung reported. The Associated Press contributed to this report.