Jim Bouton Dies at 80
Former Yankees pitcher and author of "Ball Four: The Final Pitch" passed away at the age of 80 after a battle with dementia.
As reported by the New York Daily News, the 21-game and World Series winner died at his Newark home from a disease linked to dementia.
Bouton is survived by his wife, Paula Kurman and their three children – daughter Laurie and sons David Kyong Jo and Michael.
Following the news, the Society of American Baseball Research (SABR) said on Twitter that they are saddened to learn of his passing. They added:
"The former [Yankees] All-Star pitcher revolutionized baseball journalism and literature as the author of "Ball Four" — named one of [New York Public Library's] best books of the 20th century."
At the 2017 #SABR convention in NYC, we had the honor of hosting Jim Bouton and his wife Paula Kurman for a special panel with @thorn_john celebrating the "Ball Four" author and his life in baseball. You can listen to highlights here: https://t.co/6EPPbQTmYJ pic.twitter.com/heiqrGURhR— SABR (@sabr) July 10, 2019
JIM BOUTON'S BASEBALL CAREER
Bouton made his Major League debut in 1962. He was known for throwing the ball so hard that his cap flew off his head.
In 1963, Bouton won 21 games for the Yankees and helped his team reach the World Series with 18 wins in the following season as well.
Bouton was relegated to minor leagues after suffering an arm injury, but had found greater fame penning his controversial book, "Ball Four."
JIM BOUTON'S BOOK, "BALL FOUR"
The SABR describes his book as a "first-hand diary of his 1969 season with the Seatle Pilots and Astros," adding that it changed the landscape of baseball books forever.
The book was published in 1970 and painted several of his teammates – including Whitey Ford and Mickey Mantle – in a bad light.
Bouton was shunned from the baseball community and the Yankees for years. He was only invited back to a Yankees game 18 years later.
RIP Jim Bouton, whose book, Ball Four, changed my view of sports as a young teen. Also had all-time great quote about retirement: “All these years I thought I was gripping the baseball. Turns out, it was gripping me.” pic.twitter.com/ofSmlS1c6b— Glen Macnow (@RealGlenMacnow) July 11, 2019
As reported by North Jersey, Bouton "cried when he first heard the Yankees had invited him." Two years before that, he also made peace with Mantle.
Sports author Glen Macnow said "Ball Four" had changed his view of sports as a young teen. He added:
"Also had all-time great quote about retirement: 'All these years I thought I was gripping the baseball. Turns out, it was gripping me.'"