(c) Houston Astros

See Also:
Baseball Reference
Baseball Almanac

Position: P      Born: Mar 8, 1939      Bats: Right      Throws: Right

Coming up with the Yankees in 1962, he was a pitching wunderkind, posting a 21-7 record with a 2.53 ERA in 1963, then 18-13 and 3.02 in 1964. His aggressive style earned him the nickname "Bulldog". Injuring his arm in 1965, in the ensuing seasons he salvaged his career as a knuckleballing relief pitcher. He was traded to the expansion Seattle Pilots in 1969, then to Houston that same season, where he would play out 1970 with a 4-6, 5.40 season. Bouton made a brief comeback in 1978, appearing in five games for the Braves before retiring.

He would earn his greatest claim to fame for his diary of his 1969 season with the Pilots and the Astros, which would be published as Ball Four in 1970. The book stood the baseball world on its ear with its stories of clubhouse pranks, Mickey Mantle playing while drunk, drug use, and womanizing by players. Commissioner Bowie Kuhn tried to "persuade" Bouton to issue a statement of retraction, but failed. The book would presage later revelations of drug use and other player caprices, reports of which became increasingly prevalent during the 1980s, '90s, and 2000s.

Along with bullpen mate Rob Nelson, Bouton invented "Big League Chew", a brand of shredded bubble gum sold in pouches that mimics chewing tobacco packaging.