Memorial reportedly in the works for 'Ball Four' author, former Yankee Jim Bouton

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GREAT BARRINGTON — A memorial service for Jim Bouton, the former New York Yankees pitching star and author, will be announced in the coming weeks, according to a close family friend.

For now, the family will hold a private service for immediate family only, and it asks that the public not send flowers.

Bouton, 80, died Wednesday at his home after "a valiant struggle with vascular dementia," the friend said.

Bouton and his wife, Paula Kurman, led a quiet life amid a large extended family in Great Barrington, and enjoyed supporting the local farmers market and fundraising for Fairview Hospital, the friend told The Eagle.

He suffered two strokes in 2012.

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She also said Bouton continued to throw a baseball in his yard until he no longer was able, and that he always was encouraging young people with their baseball skills.

Bouton also loved to convince his grandchildren that he was Santa Claus, coming down the fields in costume with sacks of toys, she said. And he and Kurman used to enjoy ballroom dancing together.

While Bouton was acclaimed for his pitching skills that led to two World Series wins, he made bigger headlines with a gritty tell-all book, "Ball Four," that revealed a side of the game that fans had never seen before.

"Ball Four" ignited a controversy that stuck to Bouton, but the book landed on the New York Public Library's list of the best books of the 20th century.

Heather Bellow can be reached at hbellow@berkshireeagle.com on Twitter @BE_hbellow and 413-329-6871.


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