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Motivation | Sports
On his high school junior varsity baseball team, Jim Bouton's nickname was "Warm Up Bouton," because all he ever did was warm up; he never got into the games. The goal of becoming a major league pitcher was unrealistic so he did his Career Week essay on becoming a forest ranger. In 1963 Jim Bouton won 21 games for the New York Yankees and made the all-star team. In 1964 he won 18 games and beat the Cardinals twice in the World Series.
In 1969 Jim Bouton wrote Ball Four, the funny, controversial, all-time bestseller that revealed baseball players as human beings. Ball Four was selected by the New York Public Library as "one of the Books of the Century." The update, titled Ball Four: The Final Pitch, is now entertaining a new generation. Jim Bouton's newest book is Foul Ball: My Life and Hard Times Trying to Save an Old Ballpark. It tells about his trials and tribulations in saving Wahconah Park, one of America's oldest baseball parks.
In 1970, Jim Bouton retired from baseball and became a television sportscaster in New York where he helped WABC-TV and then WCBS-TV climb to 1st place in the ratings. During the 70's he wrote a sequel to Ball Four entitled I'm Glad You Didn't Take It Personally, earned good reviews in a Robert Altman movie, The Long Goodbye, and created, wrote and acted in a CBS network TV sitcom based on his book.
In 1978, Jim Bouton made a comeback to baseball with the Atlanta Braves. Gambling his television career for a dream, Jim Bouton rode hot buses and ate cold hamburgers for two years in the minor leagues before the Atlanta Braves called him up. When the 39-year-old knuckleballer beat the San Francisco Giants 4-1, it was his first major league win in eight years.
During his comeback, Jim Bouton helped create Big League Chew, shredded bubble gum in a pouch, so ballplayers "could look right without getting sick." Big League Chew, introduced in 1980, has replaced chewing tobacco at many high schools and colleges.
In 1996, Jim Bouton received the highest honor of his career when he was featured in The Sports 100, The One Hundred Most Important People in American Sports History, published by Macmillan. This book, which covers 150 years, contains only 21 people from the world of baseball. In 1997 Jim Bouton wrote his first novel, Strike Zone, which is now in paperback.
In 1998, after 28 years, Jim Bouton was finally invited to Old Timers' Day at Yankee Stadium when his son, Michael, wrote a letter to The New York Times saying "the Yankees should forgive his dad for having written Ball Four."
This Yankee twenty-game winner, author, television sportscaster, actor, inventor, and businessman, is also a major league speaker. Jim Bouton believes in focusing on the process as a way to achieve goals. He encourages his audience to think like athletes, to get into the fun of the enterprise, the challenge of long odds, the satisfaction in details, the thrill of extraordinary effort, and the joy of work. Jim Bouton's presentations are a highly entertaining combination of anecdotes, insights and inspiration, tailored to his audience.
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