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Today we are joined by Dr. Mitchell Nathanson, author of the book Bouton: The Life of a Baseball Original (University of Nebraska Press, 2020). Nathanson, a professor of law at the Jeffrey S. Moorad Center for the Study of Sports at Villanova University, examines the life of Jim Bouton, a journeyman pitcher whose 1970 book, “Ball Four,” was a lightning rod for controversy and became one of the best sports books of all time. Nathanson examines the dynamics behind the crafting and publishing of “Ball Four,” Bouton’s diary of the 1969 major league baseball season. He examines the contributions of Leonard Shecter, the former New York Post sportswriter who helped shape Bouton’s narrative. More importantly, Nathanson presents a more well-rounded portrait of Bouton, a free-thinking man who marched to his own beat and was not afraid to buck the establishment. Bouton’s youth, his early successes with the New York Yankees and fall from grace are chronicled. Well-researched with interviews from key figures in his lifetime, “Bouton” provides context and reveals the man behind a work that was vilified fifty years ago as a “kiss-and-tell” book but is now lauded as a sports classic. Nathanson brings fresh perspective and delivers an unvarnished, critical view of Bouton.

Bob D’Angelo earned his master’s degree in history from Southern New Hampshire University in May 2018. He earned his bachelor’s degree in journalism from the University of Florida and spent more than three decades as a sportswriter and sports copy editor, including 28 years on the sports copy desk at The Tampa (Fla.) Tribune. He is currently a digital news producer for Cox Media Group. Bob can be reached at bdangelo57@gmail.com. For more information, visit Bob D’Angelo’s Books and Blogs.

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