All spread out, it looks like all the stuff your mom would have tossed away years ago after stumbling across it in the back of a closet – right along with your baseball cards. It’s much closer to an exhilarating archeological excavation, a sweet, hilarious and priceless insight into one the greatest sports books of all time that somehow has been preserved in pack-rat Jim Bouton’s storage unit for years.
It’s not your traditional baseball memorabilia, but in the realm of baseball and baseball literature, it’s a treasure trove. Jim Bouton’s the vast original manuscript archive for his best-selling book Ball Four, is up for auction. The current high bid for Bouton’s notes, tapes and other items that led to the publication of the ground-breaking story is over $73,000.
Paula Kurman first met her husband, Jim Bouton, in 1977, at a hospital fund-raiser at a Bloomingdale’s in Hackensack, N.J. She thought he was handsome, but she didn’t understand why people wanted his autograph. He said he had once pitched for the Yankees, but for Kurman that wasn’t a good enough reason. She is a doctor, a behavioral scientist, and the more she talked to Bouton, the more she knew there was something else there. She found him witty, maybe even brilliant, and she knew she liked him.