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Jim Bouton - Biography

Keynote Speaker

Nobody has more credentials than Jim Bouton. This Yankee 20 game winner, author of Ball Four, TV reporter, actor, inventor, and businessman, is also a major league speaker. His presentation is a highly entertaining combination of anecdotes, imitations, information and inspiration tailored to his audience - which can vary from corporate conventions and sports banquets, to college students and youth groups.

He was a bench warmer in high school with the nickname "Warm Up Bouton." His guidance counselor recommended a career as a forest ranger. People are still having trouble predicting what Jim Bouton might do next. This Yankee twenty-game winner, author of Ball Four, TV Sportscaster, actor, inventor, and businessman, is also a major league speaker. His presentation is a highly entertaining combination of anecdotes, insights and inspiration, tailored to his audience. And he's very very funny.

Motivator

Jim Bouton rose from a benchwarmer in high school to an all-star pitcher and a World Series winner. His refusal to place limits on himself led to his unprecedented comeback to the majors at the age of 39, after an eight year retirement. Bouton's approach is refreshing and new. He draws from his own personal experiences to create a memorable program. Hard driving, creative businessmen will recognize a kindred spirit in Jim Bouton.

On his highschool junior varsity baseball team he was nicknamed "Warm-up Bouton" because all he ever did was was warm up, he never got into the games. The goal of becoming a major league pitcher was "unrealistic", so he did his highschool Careers Week report on the life of a forest ranger.

People are still having trouble predicting what Jim Bouton will do next.

In the early 1960s he was a 21 game winner for the Yankees, an all -star-pitcher and a World Series hero.

In 1970, he wrote Ball Four, the funny, irreverent , all-time best seller, which revealed that baseball players were human beings. The book was criticized by the baseball commissioner. It is now required reading in the college sports sociology and has been translated into Japanese.

Bouton retired from baseball in 1970 and became a sportscaster for WABC-TV in New York where he helped Eyewitness News climb to first place in the ratings.

From 1971 to 1977, Bouton wrote a sequel to Ball Four entitled I'm Glad You Didn't Take It Personally, won good reviews in a movie called The Long Goodbye, joined WCBS-TV as a sportscaster, and created, wrote, and acted in a network situation comedy based on his book.

In 1978, Bouton made a comeback to major league baseball. Bouton gambled his TV career for a dream. For two years he ate cold hamburgers and rode hot buses in the minors before he was called up by the Atlanta Braves. When the 39 year old knuckleballer beat the San Francisco Giants 4-1, it was his first major league win since 1970.

It was during his return to baseball that Bouton and teammate Rob Nelson developed Big League Chew - shredded bubble gum in a tobacco style pouch. "It's for ballplayers and other kids who want to maintain the proper image without getting sick, "says Jim. Big League Chew, licensed to the Wrigley Company, is the #1 selling bubble gum in America.

Now Bouton has his own product development company. One of those products is Big League Cards - personalized baseball cards that make anyone a star, using their picture and personal story. His latest idea is Table-To-Go, a combination plate, tray and table used for picnics, parties and buffets.

Not all of Bouton's ideas make it, however. He has a garage filled with items that have bombed, just to remind him that failure is a part of success.

When he is not thinking of new ideas, Bouton contributes articles to magazines and is a frequent guest on radio and television. He talks about the funny things that happened to him on the way to becoming a forest ranger.

Bouton believes in focusing on the process as a way to achieve goals. He encourages his audience to think like athletes, to get into the fun of the enterprise, the challenge of long odds, the satisfaction in details, the thrill of extraordinary effort, the joy of work. It was his love of a challenge that led to his unprecedented comeback to the major leagues at the age of 39, after an eight year retirement. "The irony," says Bouton, "is that by focusing on the process you reach the goals more often."

 

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