Jim Bouton dies at 80

Jim Bouton Dies: ‘Ball Four’ Author Who Broke Sports Taboos Was 80

Jim Bouton dies at 80

Former New York Yankees pitcher Jim Bouton, whose irreverent, raunchy baseball memoir, "Ball Four", attracted both hostility and acclaim, died on Wednesday at his home in MA, according to media reports.

Jim Bouton, author of "Ball Four", was 80. He passed today in MA from a brain disease linked to dementia.

Pitcher Jim Bouton #56 of the New York Yankees pitches against the Washington Senators during an Major League Baseball game circa 1964 at D.C. Stadium in Washington, D.C. Bouton played for the Yankees from 1962-68.

But it was his off-the-field actions that won Mr. Bouton his greatest fame, as "Ball Four" depicted off- and on-the-field and in-the-clubhouse antics that had previously remained hidden by ballplayers' and sportswriters' code of silence.

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He's better known for his tell-all baseball book "Ball Four", a controversial account of his 1969 season in which he wrote about the personal exploits of some of his former teammates like Yankees legend Mickey Mantle hitting a home run while hung over as well as the rampant use of amphetamines in the game.

Bouton later became a NY sportscaster before suffering two strokes in 2012.

The pitcher was essentially black-listed from Yankees alumni events until 1998, when the team invited him to participate in their annual Old-Timers Day game following the death of his daughter.

Bouton had another good season in '64 when he was 18-13 working a career-high 271 1/3 innings over 38 games, 37 as a starter, for a Yankees club that again lost the World Series, this time to the St. Louis Cardinals in seven games.

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Nicknamed Bulldog, Bouton was a hard thrower in his prime whose hat frequently would fly off his head during his delivery.

Mr. Bouton injured his right arm in 1965, going 4-15 that season, and saw limited action the next three seasons with NY. He pitched in two World Series for the Yankees. He worked on "Ball Four" in 1969, a season spent with the expansion Seattle Pilots and Houston Astros, his fastball replaced by a knuckleball as he tried to prolong his career.

FILE - This 1967 file photo shows New York Yankees pitcher Jim Bouton. He joined the Braves in 1978, at the age of 39 after developing a knuckle ball and after having been out of the majors since 1970. He and a former teammate developed Big League Chew, a bubble gum alternative to tobacco.

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