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The Baseball Reliquary Presents


Panel Discussions with Q&A, World Premiere Film Screening, Book Signing

Saturday, September 18, 2010, 11:00 am-5:00 pm
Burbank Central Library Auditorium 
110 N. Glenoaks Blvd., Burbank, California 

            The Baseball Reliquary presents “Ball Four Turns Forty,” a special day-long celebration of one of the great books in American literature, Jim Bouton’s Ball Four, on the occasion of the 40th anniversary of its publication.  The event will be held on Saturday, September 18, 2010, from 11:00 am-5:00 pm, in the Burbank Central Library Auditorium, 110 N. Glenoaks Blvd., Burbank, California.  The celebration, which is open to the public and free of charge, is being held in conjunction with the Baseball Reliquary’s current exhibition, “Ball Four Turns Forty,” which is on view through October 1, 2010 at the Burbank Central Library.
Jim Bouton was an all-star pitcher for the New York Yankees who won 41 games in 1963 and ’64, including two World Series victories over the St. Louis Cardinals, but his greatest impact on the game came as the author of Ball Four, published in 1970, arguably the most influential baseball book ever written and one which forever changed the face of sportswriting and our conception of what it means to be a professional athlete.  A diary of Bouton’s attempt to resurrect his career as a knuckleball pitcher with the Seattle Pilots and Houston Astros in 1969 (after a sore arm got him sent back to the minor leagues), Ball Four was vilified by the baseball establishment for its candid depiction of the sex-obsessed lives of major league players, the pernicious conduct of ownership and management, and the intolerance to nonconformists such as the author himself (who was distrusted even by his teammates for his outspoken opposition to the Vietnam War and his strong pro-union stance in the locker room).
Fearful that Ball Four would damage baseball’s “image,” Commissioner Bowie Kuhn tried to suppress it, which only ensured its commercial success.  Although its startling revelations overshadowed the book’s brilliance as one of the great sociological documents of the period, Ball Four has, in the decades since its publication, assumed its proper place in American literature.  It was even anointed in 1995 by the New York Public Library as one of its “Books of the Century” — the only sports book so honored — along with such classics as The Great Gatsby, Gone With the Wind, In Cold Blood, and Catch-22.

The September 18 event will include two panel discussions; the world premiere screening of a documentary, The Seattle Pilots: Short Flight Into History; and a book signing with Jim Bouton.
            Doors to the auditorium will open at 10:30 am, and the festivities will begin at 11:00 am with introductory remarks by Ball Four author, Jim Bouton.  Bouton’s opening commentary will be followed by the first of two panel discussions.  The morning panel and Q&A will explore the historical and cultural impact of Ball Four and will include Bouton, Ron Shelton (schedule permitting), Jean Hastings Ardell, and David Kipen.  The panel will be 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 directing and writing credits including Bull Durham, White Men Can’t Jump, Cobb, Tin Cup, Play It to the Bone, Dark Blue, and Hollywood Homicide.  Jean Hastings Ardell is the author of Breaking into Baseball: Women and the National Pastime; she is the co-chair of the annual Nine Spring Training Conference on Baseball History & Culture and she frequently speaks and writes about baseball.  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 a lunch break, Oregon-based producers Steve Cox and Brad Powers will introduce the world premiere screening of the documentary, The Seattle Pilots: Short Flight Into History, at 1:30 pm.  Featuring interviews with ex-players, broadcasters, and historians, the 84-minute DVD explores the reasons why the team left Seattle after their one season in 1969 and why the Pilots have attained such a cult status in the ensuing decades.
The afternoon panel discussion and Q&A, beginning at 3:00 pm, will focus on the Seattle Pilots, the team immortalized by Jim Bouton in the pages of his memoir, Ball Four.  Moderated by David Davis, this panel will include Bouton, Seattle baseball historian and collector Charles Kapner (who loaned much of the Pilots memorabilia on view in the exhibition), Pilots first baseman-outfielder Greg Goossen (who led the team in hitting with a .309 batting average), and possibly other former Pilots.
The event will conclude with a book signing by Jim Bouton from 4:00-5:00 pm. Bouton will have copies of his books, Ball Four: The Final Pitch and Foul Ball: My Life and Hard Times Trying to Save an Old Ballpark, available for purchase. In addition, producers Steve Cox and Brad Powers will have copies of the DVD, The Seattle Pilots: Short Flight Into History, available for purchase.
Free parking is available in the lot next to the library, with additional free parking in the lot across the street from the library at Glenoaks and Olive (entrance on Olive). Don’t worry about the time limits posted in these lots; the library has arranged with the City of Burbank not to ticket any cars in the library lots on September 18.
For further information, contact the Baseball Reliquary by phone at (626) 791-7647 or by e-mail at; for directions, phone the Burbank Central Library at (818) 238-5600.
Ball Four Turns Forty” is made possible, in part, by a grant to the Baseball Reliquary from the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors through the Los Angeles County Arts Commission and by the Friends of the Burbank Public Library.


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