Monday, September 20, 2010

Jim Bouton and 40 Years of "Ball Four"

Saturday the Burbank Public Library was fortunate to host a memorable day for fans of baseball and of the book Ball Four, celebrating its 40th Anniversary this year. The day-long event was coordinated by Terry Cannon of the Baseball Reliquary, seen in the photo with Joan Cappocchi of the Burbank Public Library and Jim Bouton (right). The day included panel discussions and the Los Angeles premiere of the documentary film, The Seattle Pilots: Short Flight Into History, introduced by producer Steve Cox.

The library auditorium was packed as Ball Four author Jim Bouton was introduced and greeted with a standing ovation. Following his opening remarks, Bouton joined his fellow panelists on stage for a discussion of the historical and cultural impact of Ball Four. The panel consisted of Ron Shelton, Jean Hastings Ardell and David Kipen, and was moderated by Los Angeles-based sportswriter David Davis.

Ron Shelton is a former minor league ballplayer and one of the preeminent filmmakers of the last twenty-plus years, with credits including Bull Durham, Tin Cup, Cobb, and White Men Can't Jump, among others. Jean Hastings Ardell is the author of Breaking into Baseball: Women and the National Pastime. David Kipen is an author, former Director of Literature at the National Endowment for the Arts, and current proprietor of Libros Schmibros, a lending library and used bookstore in Boyle Heights.

Following the screening of the documentary, the afternoon panel discussion focused on the Seattle Pilots, the team immortalized by Jim Bouton in the pages of his memoir, Ball Four. Moderated by David Davis, the panel included Jim Bouton, Seattle baseball historian and collector Charles Kapner, Pilots first-baseman/outfielder Greg Goossen, and former Dodger Tommy Davis, with his book, Tales from the Dodger Dugout.

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