Jim Bouton, former New York Yankees pitcher, author of Ball Four, creator of Big League Chew, sportscaster, activist, and a bunch of other things, passed away on July 10, 2019, at 80 years old.
I discovered his book, Ball Four, in the 1990s, and I just loved the book. So much that one of my first affiliate sites was BallFourBook.com, which I started in 2000 to promote the book with Amazon links. Jim’s site still has me listed as one of the fansites.
In the late 1990’s I interviewed Jim for a zine I was publishing at the time called Velocity NYC. The interview also ran on NJ.com, the online version of the Newark Star-Ledger, where I was the weekend sports editor for years for the online edition.
Bouton updated Ball Four every decade, and in the 2000 update, he mentioned my affiliate site in his book. I was out of my mind excited.
So anyway, I was in touch with him over the years and as Affiliate Summit was taking off I thought he’d make an awesome keynote speaker. We had him come in and keynote Affiliate Summit East 2006 in Orlando.
I loved his keynote, but even better we chatted for a couple of hours before the keynote and he had me in stitches with his old baseball stories. It was amazing to hear first-person accounts of times with Mickey Mantle, Whitey Ford, and other legends from the 60s.
It was one of my favorite days, and I will always cherish it.
“A ballplayer spends a good piece of his life gripping a baseball, and in the end it turns out that it was the other way around all the time.” – Jim Bouton