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Go Back   Net54baseball.com Forums > Net54baseball Main Forum - WWII & Older Baseball Cards > Net54baseball Vintage (WWII & Older) Baseball Cards & New Member Introductions

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  #1  
Old 07-10-2019, 07:33 PM
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Default RIP Jim Bouton

My alltime favorite player, dead at 80.



Last edited by calvindog; 07-10-2019 at 07:34 PM.
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  #2  
Old 07-10-2019, 07:44 PM
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So sad...rip jim b.
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  #3  
Old 07-10-2019, 08:08 PM
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I've told this Bouton story a couple times: he was a huge hero of mine growing up via Ball Four and the fact that he was a sports anchor in the NY/NJ area for a bit of time after his retirement from baseball. Anyway, fast forward to 2008 I believe, when I was at my kids' preschool in Manhattan on Grandparents Day. All the little kids' grandparents were invited and the building on Park Avenue and 85th Street was filled with old people wearing nametags with their grandkids' name on them. I was rushing into the building to pick my kids up when, in the midst of a crowd of grandparents, I immediately spot Jim Bouton. Buzzed haircut, short sleeve shirt, still looked great. He was 69 or so at the time. No one recognized him of course, but me. Naturally, I followed him a bit just to keep an eye on him; he eventually walked into his four year old granddaughter's classroom. I was tempted to say something to him but decided to let the man be, he was entitled to some peace with his grandkids.

That lasted a few hours as the regrets really got to me. When would I get a chance to see Jim Bouton again? So I found his website and sent him an email. At the time, I was doing radio shows in NYC as a bit of a hobby, on two of the biggest stations in NY: WABC and Fox News radio. I wrote to him and told him I saw him at the preschool, and would he care to do an interview with me for my next scheduled radio show -- which happened to be a 3 hour show for Fox in a few days. Incredibly, he wrote back that he would do it. He had no handlers, no managers, agents, etc. Just told me to email him before the show and we could call him from the studio.

I was terrified because he was such a hero of mine. And then the morning of the show as I sat with the Fox producers, I told them for the first time I was interviewing the Bulldog on my show. They responded, "but he's not politics and this show is about politics." I replied, "relax, it will all be about politics." I lied.

Ten mins before the interview, we got Jim on the phone and I spoke to him for the first time. I was so damn excited. He was a completely regular guy, not an asshole, full of good humor. The interview started (I have a disc of it somewhere which I'll download and post) and I recall mainly asking him about Ball Four. He provided a number of additional stories that were not in the book and I brought up my favorite parts including the infamous Alvin Dark autograph story which spawned the famous line, "Take a hike, son, take a hike." This line I included on the Baseball Reference Jim Bouton page of which I am the sponsor:
https://www.baseball-reference.com/p...outoji01.shtml

The interview was my alltime favorite. He told stories that were so funny that he made himself laugh so hard. He was completely uninhibited and honest and goofy. And very smart. We finished the interview and for years afterward, I would email him and he always responded with kindness, especially when I remembered his birthdays. A few years ago he suddenly stopped responding -- and that's when I learned he had advanced dementia.

Looking back, Ball Four is the most important baseball book ever written in my estimation and one of the greatest books period. It's tame compared to today's standards but still incredibly funny. Joe Pepitone's autobiography a few years later was much more disgusting, funny as well, and took some shots at Bouton because Bouton had hilariously pointed out Pepitone as a hairpiece-wearing narcissist who was the only player in the locker room who used a hair dryer.
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Old 07-10-2019, 08:14 PM
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Agreed jeff...Best baseball book I think Ive ever read!
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  #5  
Old 07-10-2019, 08:18 PM
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Great book. RIP.
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Old 07-10-2019, 08:23 PM
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One of the funniest scenes in the book (purely baseball ones anyhow) was a pretend dugout interview with Joe Morgan explaining the difference between a curve ball and a mother***ing curve ball.
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Old 07-10-2019, 08:24 PM
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I was just talking/thinking about him the other day when my wife saw some "big league chew" at the sporting goods store. RIP


Last edited by Mike D.; 07-10-2019 at 08:24 PM.
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  #8  
Old 07-10-2019, 08:25 PM
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"Smoke 'em inside."

"Give him some low smoke and we'll go pound some Budweiser."
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  #9  
Old 07-10-2019, 08:25 PM
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Fantastic book and great story about your interactions with him, Jeff. Would love to hear the interview!

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  #10  
Old 07-10-2019, 08:25 PM
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Default Ball Four & Jim Bouton

jeff-
absolutely loved the book, but must say that your story is even more amusing & enlightening...
thanks to both of you for rekindling some very fond memories!
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  #11  
Old 07-10-2019, 08:53 PM
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I recall listening to a lengthy interview with him when his updated Ball Four, Plus Ball Five, was published. The Ball Five portion detailed his comeback effort with the Braves. Very interesting guy. Sad to hear of his passing.
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Old 07-10-2019, 10:02 PM
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Just sold an autographed copy of Foul Ball in our last auction. He had a real love for the game. Kept playing in the minors years after he was done in the majors, and foul ball is pretty much a love story.
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  #13  
Old 07-10-2019, 10:17 PM
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Default RIP Bulldog

Jim played on my vintage baseball team until about 2 years ago. He was still a fierce competitor and routinely threw 200 pitches per game until the age of 78x

The Simsbury Taverneers will miss our teammate. The Bulldog.

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  #14  
Old 07-11-2019, 06:49 AM
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I remember walking in Southampton, Long Island one day and Bouton walked past me in the opposite direction. I smiled but was too nervous to say hello. One of the alltime baseball personalities, and let's not forget he was a pretty good pitcher too. Wasn't 1962 his best year?
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  #15  
Old 07-11-2019, 06:57 AM
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I saw Jim pitch in the NJ Met League many times, he was in his 50's and the games he pitched always drew good crowds, he was always a gentleman. RIP Jim.
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  #16  
Old 07-11-2019, 08:47 AM
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I was given a copy of Ball Four as a high school graduation gift in 1970. I read it and it changed forever the way I looked at, not only baseball but all pro sports from then on.
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Old 07-11-2019, 09:58 AM
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Author of what is, in my opinion, the most beautiful line there is about baseball and how it impacts us - not just players, but fans:

"You spend a good piece of your life gripping a baseball and in the end it was the other way around the whole time."

Sorry to see him go. Dementia is awful, though, so I'm glad he's got peace.

-Al
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  #18  
Old 07-11-2019, 05:44 PM
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Jeff, Back in the mid 1980's, we hired a salesperson for the Lincoln-Mercury Dealership in South Ga., and her name was Barbara (dont recall her last name) and she was a solid employee. She told my Father and me that she was the daughter of Jim Bouton by way of a deceptive relationship with her Mother, but she didn't find out about being his daughter until she was 20 years old. She contacted her Mother later wanting to try and connect with him. We didn't think anything of it, and one Saturday morning, he strolled into the Dealership. He hugged and kissed her, and they later went and had lunch together. She stayed with us for about a year longer, but I never heard how it turned out. Looking at how he interacted with Barbara, I believe he really was her Father. He signed many autographs for the people there, but there was definitely a thing in his eyes thinking this was really his daughter....
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Old 07-11-2019, 07:16 PM
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Jeff:

My brush with Jim Bouton was not as grand and glorious as yours, but very similar.

When my son was born in 1983, we wanted to do a "different" kind of birth announcement. Since I was back into collecting cards at that point we thought it would be cool to do a custom baseball card. When I searched for someone who could do it, I found just such a local business - Big League Cards, Inc.

Sounds like a big deal, right? We went to an office building in Teaneck, New Jersey and found the room number. When we went in the door - the "corporation" was Jim Bouton. He was sitting behind the desk; he took the order; he handled the payment. He was a one-man show! It was awesome to just talk to the guy because he was a local hero, but just one of us! We talked about a bunch of Yankee stuff, but also some generic stuff. My wife is a phys ed/health teacher and we started talking about the dangers of chewing tobacco and how kids look up to (and emulate) big leaguers. That's when we found out about his Big League Chew (bubble gum) venture. Just a real down-to-earth guy.

I'm so glad we decided on a baseball card!

RIP, Jim!
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  #20  
Old 07-11-2019, 07:18 PM
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Sorry to hear about his passing. I never read Ball Four but will over the summer.
Seems like it will be a good summer read.
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  #21  
Old 07-11-2019, 08:17 PM
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Jim Bouton was one of my favorites.

I knew he was suffering the last few years and wasn't going to get better. Dementia type of disease. Damn. I found Ball Four when I was about 17 and read it every summer for years. My college roomate and I referred to each other as 'Rooms' like Jim called Gary Bell.

One time during high school, I got his number and I called him up and left a message that I want to hire him for a card show. He called me back and I felt so badly, I told him I lied and I am just a fan. He said it was not very nice of me but at least I picked a good player to root for.

Here's a few Jim Bouton items I'm happy to own. Years ago, pre-internet I got his address and I mailed him my first edition of Ball Four and asked him to sign it with the same message that his pitching coach Johnny Sain told him when Jim was hesitant to approach the GM for a raise. He complied.




And I don't know how Topps got him to sign this Heritage card or how many there are but I'm glad I saw this card even existed last year when I got it.


I also have tickets to Jim's TV sit com named after his famous book. I vaugely remember this show existed. Only 5 episodes aired.


You spend a good piece of your life gripping a baseball and in the end it turns out it was the other way around all the time. -Jim Bouton

RIP Jim.
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Last edited by WillowGrove; 07-11-2019 at 08:23 PM.
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  #22  
Old 07-11-2019, 08:41 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kkkkandp View Post
Jeff:

My brush with Jim Bouton was not as grand and glorious as yours, but very similar.

When my son was born in 1983, we wanted to do a "different" kind of birth announcement. Since I was back into collecting cards at that point we thought it would be cool to do a custom baseball card. When I searched for someone who could do it, I found just such a local business - Big League Cards, Inc.

Sounds like a big deal, right? We went to an office building in Teaneck, New Jersey and found the room number. When we went in the door - the "corporation" was Jim Bouton. He was sitting behind the desk; he took the order; he handled the payment. He was a one-man show! It was awesome to just talk to the guy because he was a local hero, but just one of us! We talked about a bunch of Yankee stuff, but also some generic stuff. My wife is a phys ed/health teacher and we started talking about the dangers of chewing tobacco and how kids look up to (and emulate) big leaguers. That's when we found out about his Big League Chew (bubble gum) venture. Just a real down-to-earth guy.

I'm so glad we decided on a baseball card!

RIP, Jim!
OMG I totally forgot about this. My Little League in NJ used him.
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  #23  
Old 07-11-2019, 09:07 PM
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Default Great Story, Jeff, AND a Great Book

Thanks for sharing, Jeff. I didn't read Ball Four until I was in my 50s. But now I tell any baseball fan I meet at any ball park (I keep score at games so that often starts conversations) they have to read Ball Four (along with The Glory of Their Times). RIP, Jim Bouton.
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  #24  
Old 07-11-2019, 11:35 PM
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Always loved his laid-back, Joe Everyman way of being. Never seemed disingenuous. He was always willing to write a letter answering any questions sent his way.

While it was terrible to hear of his dementia, he'll forever be that younger fellow who wrote the definitive first person account of 60's baseball. That's the magic of the written word.
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Old 07-11-2019, 11:57 PM
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Whenever I pick up Ball Four and open it to any random page, all Ihave to do is read a few words and I know exactly what the story is, how the dialogue plays out, and so on. It's like I have memorized that book in my subconscious.

Just for fun I sent him an email a few years back, and he took the time to reply. Very sorry to hear of his passing, but he sure lived an interesting life, and his writing will outlive him by centuries (however long baseball exists.)
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  #26  
Old 07-12-2019, 09:51 AM
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Default Jim Bouton

Hi Jeff

I really enjoyed your story (post #3), thanks for sharing it with us.

1963 was a banner year for Jim (21-7), including the 22-inning game in which Jim shut-out Detroit in the final 7 innings to win it for the Yankees.
Check-it-out..... https://sabr.org/gamesproj/game/june...22-inning-game

Also, I would tune into WABC radio when your Talk show was on. Your radio shows were very, very interesting.

GOD Bless Jim's soul, and comfort his family.






TED Z
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  #27  
Old 07-15-2019, 08:03 AM
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Nice thread....Thanks for sharing, Jeff et al.. And may Jim rest in peace.

.
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Last edited by Leon; 07-15-2019 at 08:04 AM.
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  #28  
Old 07-15-2019, 09:26 AM
1952boyntoncollector 1952boyntoncollector is online now
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it always seems knuckleballers (whether used in part or whole career ) have a personality..

Last edited by 1952boyntoncollector; 07-15-2019 at 09:27 AM.
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  #29  
Old 07-15-2019, 11:13 AM
brian1961 brian1961 is offline
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Thanks for taking the time to share your story about Jim Bouton, Jeff. I loved it. Beautiful.

I remember Jim and Mickey Mantle patched things up between them after Jim and his wife lost their son, who was very young, and Jim reached out to Mickey, who'd just lost his middle child, Billy, to Hodgkin's Disease, in March, 1994.

---Brian Powell
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Old 07-15-2019, 02:05 PM
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I remember reading Ball Four in the 70s. I thought it was a fantastically funny baseball book. It's still one of my favorite books, baseball or otherwise (I've read a lot of books, at least 10 or 11...).

RIP Jim Bouton - he made a lot of people laugh with that book.
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Last edited by Fred; 07-15-2019 at 02:05 PM.
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