Ex-Yankees pitcher Jim Bouton, author of 'Ball Four,' dead at 80

Jim Bouton Yankees pitcher and author of tell-all book ‘Ball Four,’ dies at 80

Jim Bouton Yankees pitcher and author of tell-all book ‘Ball Four,’ dies at 80

Jim Bouton, the former New York Yankees pitcher who shocked and angered the conservative baseball world with the tell-all book "Ball Four", has died.

Bouton won a pair of World Series games in 1964 when the Yankees lost to the Cardinals in seven games. According to the Society for American Baseball Research, Bouton negotiated a new contract each year and told the media details of the talks.

The book chronicled Bouton's 1969 season pitching for the expansion Seattle Pilots and Houston Astros, but it was the Yankees information that drew the biggest uproar.

Bouton injured his right arm in 1965, going 4-15 that season, and saw limited action the next three seasons with NY.

Nicknamed Bulldog, Bouton was a hard thrower in his prime whose hat frequently would fly off his head during his delivery. He pitched at Western Michigan University before signing with the Yankees in 1958. Bouton was the winning pitcher in his two starts, Game 3 and Game 6. Due to his arm problems, Bouton threw a knuckleball in the second half of his career, much of it as a reliever.

But while the book, co-written with Leonard Shecter of the New York Post, was a critical hit, the amusing tales angered the baseball establishment and many former teammates.

When "Ball Four" hit the bookstores in 1970 - it was edited by Shecter - Bouton became a big celebrity, but players and coaches were furious that he wrote about players' drinking habits and use of amphetamines, among other things that never had been exposed publicly by an insider.

When released, Ball Four was harshly criticized within the game, especially by baseball Commissioner Bowie Kuhn. He finally returned to the majors with the Atlanta Braves in 1978, going 1-3 at age 39.

After years as an outcast in the Bronx, Bouton was invited to Old-Timer's Day in 1988.

A Newark native who was raised in Bergen County, Bouton is perhaps best known for his 1970 memoir "Ball Four", in which he took readers inside the Pilots' only season and also revealed indiscretions - on the field and off - that alienated him, for a time, from his former Yankees teammates, Mickey Mantle and Whitey Ford among them.