Former New York Yankees star pitcher and “Ball Four” author Jim Bouton has died at the age of 80 years old.
Bouton reportedly died Wednesday following a battle with a brain disease linked to dementia. The Newark, New Jersey, native was in the home he shared with his wife, Paula Kurman, after weeks of hospice care. The former pitcher also suffered two strokes in 2012.
Bouton was a 20-game winner, won two World Series games, spent 10 years in the major leagues. Early in his career, he was known for throwing so hard that his cap would routinely fly off of his head during delivery, but later reinvented himself as a knuckleball pitcher as his career waned on.
After retiring, Bouton authored “Ball Four” a book that recounted his 1969 season with the Seattle Pilots, during which he collected quotes, notes and anecdotes about life in the big leagues. “Ball Four” was the only sports novel mentioned in the New York Public Library’s list of best books of the 20th Century. He also served as a sports newscaster for several years after his baseball career ended.