Back in my college days, I greeted every spring by re-reading Jim Bouton’s seminal baseball memoir Ball Four. The first real “tell-all” sports book, Ball Four is a collection of stories and chapters Bouton wrote during the 1969 season — which he spent with the expansion Seattle Pilots.
Among dozens of other hilarious things, Bouton’s book revealed that the 1960s Yankees were led by a cadre of booze-soaked veterans who generally spent more energy cheating on their wives than on the practice field, and that practically the entire league was hooked on team-provided methamphetamines called “greenies.”
Also, Bouton writes that Joe Torre was the ugliest person in baseball. Among multiple references to Torre is this one, generously provided by LA Daily News reporter Tom Hoffarth:
“Jim Pagliaroni joined the club tonight and is going to be a welcome addition. He was describing a girl that one of the ballplayers had been out with and said, ‘It’s hard to say exactly what she looked like. She was kind of a Joe Torre with tits.’ This joke can only be explained with a picture of Joe Torre. But I’m not sure any exist. he dissolves camera lenses.”
With all the hubbub about Torre’s participation in a tell-all book about his time with the Yankees, it is again up to Bouton — who is still reviled by those delusional enough to believe in concepts as ridiculous of “clubhouse sanctity” — to put everything in context. Here’s what Bouton said to the NY Daily News last week:
Why in the world anyone is still talking about the sanctity of the clubhouse is beyond me. Baseball and the Yankees should feel lucky that this book is generating so much attention in January… there is no job hitting a ball with a stick unless a lot of people are convinced it’s important … Books are going to be written. Therefore, don’t act like a jerk.
I might have to buy a new copy of Ball Four just for that.
The Daily Dread: Can’t wait to read/hear/feel/smell more of Joe Torre [The Daily Dread]