book, by baseball
vet Jim Bouton
, part of a wave of "insider" sports diaries
and memoirs, e.g. Jerry Kramer's Instant Replay
, Brad Park's Play the Man
, and Dave Meggyesy's Out of Their League
. But Ball Four
was different (as was, to some extent, Meggyesy's book). Bouton took great glee in trashing both the "dumb jock" stereotype
and the image of ballplayers as American saints: these guys were horny, pill-popping, beer-swilling bastards
fluent in profanity
beings, many of whom were quite intelligent.
It led to sequels, media-figure-hood and, later, a sitcom co-starring Bouton - the show was awful, since there was no way to translate the book into a half-hour of Family Hour viewing without neutering it.