Sunday, November 23, 2008

Old Favorites

#50 -- "Ball Four" by Jim Bouton

Not long ago I saw a little bit on "Do you own multiple copies of any books?" I don't think I do -- the only one I can think of, ever, was owning two copies of "The Shining" because I found one with a 1970s reflective cover. But I have owned multiple copies at different times, including one that the linked post mentions -- "Ball Four."

I don't think of "Ball Four" when I think of all-time favorites -- I'm not sure why. It deserves a place. I've read it more than "Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy," almost as much as "Salem's Lot." Bouton's book, perhaps more than anything else, enhanced my enjoyment of baseball.

I read it again over the weekend, probably the first time since college -- my earlier copy started shedding pages at some point and was last seen residing forlornly in my parents' basement.

Just a fantastic book. There aren't many athletes as observant and analytical as Bouton -- only Ken Dryden comes to mind -- and Bouton has the added bonus of being funny as hell, and brutally honest. I'm glad to rediscover it -- the case can be made that I really need to clean some other stuff off my bookshelf, but I don't feel an iota of guilt about going back to a classic.

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