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Jim Bouton Autographs, Memorabilia & Collectibles

Born: March 08, 1939 in Newark, New Jersey
Died: July 10, 2019 in Great Barrington, Massachusetts
Biography | show moreshow less
Jim Bouton
This article was written by Mark Armour and is presented in part, courtesy of the Society for American Baseball Research

Although he became a star for the most famous team in baseball, for whom he helped win three pennants and a World Series, Jim Bouton’s most lasting contribution to the sport would come a few years later, after he lost his fastball and returned to the major leagues as a struggling knuckleballer for an expansion team in Seattle. Bouton’s diary about his 1969 season, Ball Four, became one of the best selling and most beloved of baseball books, making its author either a humorous outsider or a social leper, depending on your point of view. What is not in dispute is that Bouton caused fans to look at the game in an entirely new way, and revolutionized baseball journalism and literature.

While Bouton did not like the way the baseball business was run, he loved the game itself so much that he gave up a high-paying television career to return to the minors several years after his career had ended, and was still playing competitively when he was in his late 50s. A few years later his campaign to save a beloved old minor-league ballpark led him to help form the Vintage Base Ball Federation, bringing 19th century baseball rules, uniforms, and atmosphere to cities and town across the country.  Bouton’s detractors had called him a communist during his playing career, but in many ways he was actually a traditionalist, a man who fought on the side of baseball for five decades.

James Alan Bouton was born on March 8, 1939, in Newark, New Jersey. His father, George Hempstead Bouton, of French and English heritage, was attending night school at Columbia when Jim was born but later became a business executive. His mother, Trudy Vischer Bouton, was German and Dutch. Jim was the first of three sons, followed by Bob and Pete, and spent the first 15 years of his life in suburban New Jersey, in Rochelle Park and Ridgewood. He recalled spending much of his spare time trying to make money—delivering newspapers, collecting pop bottles and old newspapers, mowing lawns, and washing cars.[1] The Bouton boys were New York Giants baseball fans and often went to the Polo Grounds to watch the team, seek out autographs, and try to retrieve baseballs during batting practice.

Film Credits | show moreshow less

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