Jim Bouton is the author of perhaps the most famous baseball book of all, “Ball Four.” He also pitched for the New York Yankees, was a sportscaster and an actor, and also helped create “Big League Chew” bubble gum. Mostly, he’s an author and a motivational speaker. His latest effort, a self-published book called “Foul Ball” is about Bouton’s crusade to save a minor-league ballpark in the Berkshires. I had the opportunity to speak with Bouton last month. He speaks in a raspy, soft voice, and he laughs often. Here is our conversation.
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Bronx Banter: In your new book, “Foul Ball,” you write that there have been two experiences in your life that youíve felt compelled to write about. One was your time as a player, which you wrote about in “Ball Four.” The other one was your campaign to save a minor league ballpark in the Berkshires, which resulted in “Foul Ball.” What drew you to this story?
Jim Bouton: Well it was a story I hadnít intended to write about. My partner, Chip Elitzer and I simply had a plan that we thought was a revolutionary plan to resurrect an old ballpark in Pittsfield, Massachusetts, with our own money, private money, and have a locally owned baseball team so that Pittsfield would never again be faced with the situation that theyíve always faced which is: Build us a new stadium or lose your team. Theyíve been running up against that for years. The people have voted three different times against a new stadium. So our plan to save Wahconah Park, we thought would be embraced by the community, and we would have a lot of fun. But then when we started running into opposition from the leadership in the community, not the people, who were a hundred percent behind us, but the leadership of the community, which is to say Berkshire Bank, The Berkshire Eagle