Baseball painting of Jim Bouton was a pitcher in the major leagues for a number of years playing for the New York Yankees, Seattle Pilots, Houston Astros and ended his career with the Atlanta Braves. The longer he played in the Major Leagues he was able to extend his playing days developing the knuckleball. As you see in the painting he is demonstrating how the knuckleball is held in the hand for throwing a pitch.
Jim Bouton who became a really good knucklball pitcher for the Atlanta Braves wrote the classic baseball book, BALL FOUR. The painting is 5 feet by 8 feet, acrylic on unstretched canvas.
One of things he is best known for is his memoir of his playing years with the New York Yankees, Seattle Pilots and the Houston Astros. He had played in the 1962 World Series and was in the 1963 MLB All-Star game.
In Jim Bouton’s book “Ball Four” broke baseball’s code of silence where the athletes did not speak about what went on in the background of baseball. The book is a memoir that described the petty jealousies on the team, as well as camaraderie, raucous tomcatting, game-winning heroics, routine drug use and the pain professional athletes endure. One of Bouton’s important line in the book: “You spend your life gripping a baseball,” Jim Bouton wrote, “and it turns out that it was the other way around all along.”
Here is one of the the interesting stories from the book “Ball Four”
“I think the big deal was, I said Mickey Mantle had a home run with a hangover. And, you know, it was more of a story about what a great hitter he was, what a great player he was.
“We have been out the night before, having a few drinks, and Mickey came to the clubhouse the next day, and he was a little hung over. So, you know, Ralph Houk said, ‘Don’t worry about it. Sleep it off in the trainer’s room. We’ll put somebody else in center field.’ Anyway, the game goes extra innings. We need a pinch-hitter in the 10th. Somebody went to wake up the Mick. He comes out, put a bat in his hands. He walks up to home plate, takes one practice swing and hits the first pitch into the left field bleachers, a tremendous blast.
“Guys are going nuts. He comes over, crosses home plate. Actually, he missed home plate. We have to send him back for that. He comes over to the dugout, and he looks up in the stands, and he says, those people don’t know how tough that really was. Then after the game, the sportswriter said, ‘Mick, how did you that?’ … And he said, ‘Well, it was very simple. I hit the middle ball.’ ”