37 Best Jim Bouton Quotes from the American Baseball Player

James Alan Bouton was an American baseball player who played for MLB teams including the New York Yankees and Seattle Pilots between 1962 and 1978.

Not just an athlete, Bouton was also an author, actor, sportscaster, activist and a co-creator of Big League Chew.

His college baseball journey started at Western Michigan University, eventually leading to a professional contract with the Yankees.

Notably, he authored “Ball Four” in 1970, a candid look at his 1969 season and previous years, sparking controversy within the baseball community.


The book candidly discussed the behind-the-scenes lives of baseball players, causing many to ostracize him.

Despite the challenges, Bouton’s career spanned various roles, including sportscasting and acting. Later, he innovated “Big League Chew,” a shredded bubblegum resembling chewing tobacco.

Despite being sidelined from baseball-related events due to his book, he made a notable return in 1998 to a Yankees Old Timers Game.

I have listed below the top quotes by Jim Bouton.

Best Jim Bouton Quotes


Forget goals. Value the process. ~ Jim Bouton.


High school games would just as big a deal to me as any major league game. ~ Jim Bouton.


The older they get, the better they get when they were younger. ~ Jim Bouton.


It never hurts to apologize, especially if you don’t mean it. ~ Jim Bouton.


I think I should be allowed to be only fair, or even mediocre, for a while. ~ Jim Bouton.

Sheldon Kopp, the author and psychologist, wrote, There are no great men. If you have a hero, look again: you have diminished yourself in some way. ~ Jim Bouton.

For a hundred years, the owners screwed the players. For 25 years, the players have screwed the owners-they’ve got 75 years to go. ~ Jim Bouton.


“Religion is like baseball,” said Steve. Great game, bad owners. ~ Jim Bouton.

The pitching coach was bugged by the author’s technique because he had never seen anyone do it before, and besides, it wasn’t the coach’s idea. ~ Jim Bouton.

A ballplayer spends a good piece of his life gripping a baseball, and in the end it turns out that it was the other way around all the time. ~ Jim Bouton.

Doubleday’s First Law, which states that if you throw a fastball with insufficient speed, someone will smack it out of the park with a stick. ~ Jim Bouton.

Great Jim Bouton Quotes


Lots of people look up to Billy Martin. That’s because he just knocked them down. ~ Jim Bouton.

Sometimes the bedsheet is a Confederate flag. I wonder how the Negro players feel about them. The worst part is that these things are hung by kids. Why the hell couldn’t they let that stuff die with their grandfathers? These are not rebels who want something new. These are rebels who want to bring back the old. Doug ~ Jim Bouton.

Gary Bell is nicknamed Ding Dong. Of course. What’s interesting about it is that “Ding Dong” is what the guys holler when somebody gets hit in the cup. The cups are metal inserts that fit inside the jock strap, and when a baseball hits one it’s called ringing the bell, which rhymes with hell, which is what it hurts like. It’s funny, even if you’re in the outfield, or in the dugout, no matter how far away, when a guy gets it in the cup you can hear it. Ding Dong. ~ Jim Bouton.

Baseball players are smarter than football players. How often do you see a baseball team penalized for too many men on the field? ~ Jim Bouton.

The day he is out of baseball will be the day he starts to think about what comes next. By then, it may be too late. ~ Jim Bouton.

I can still remember Pete Rose, on the top step of the dugout screaming, F*ck you, Shakespeare. ~ Jim Bouton.

Pete Rose gets banned for life for gambling while the drug addicts are allowed back after a year; and then they get extra chances after that. Baseball is saying, in effect, that gambling is worse than drugs. How do kids make sense out of that? ~ Jim Bouton.

Top Jim Bouton Quotes

The author relates that Mickey Mantle did not expect to play one day and showed up extremely hung over. He was nevertheless called on to pitch and smashed a towering home run to an enthusiastic ovation. He related to his teammates, Those people don’t know how tough that was. ~ Jim Bouton.

The only member of the team nobody liked was our 6 o’clock sports guy, a fellow named Howard Cosell. “Monday Night Football” was just getting started and Howard was annoyed at having to be on the same news with mere local personalities, whom he would attack on the air. This was a mistake in the case of Roger Grimsby who was a lot sharper and even more devastating than Cosell, in his own way. I remember one night, at the end of his report, Howard went into a sarcastic putdown of Grimsby that lasted for what seemed like two minutes. Finally, when Howard was finished, the camera switched to Grimsby who was sitting there with his eyes closed, snoring. ~ Jim Bouton.

Has anybody noticed that we haven’t won a game since we ate that chicken á la king? ~ Jim Bouton. Ball

When I approached him a second time with the cameras rolling, Munson grabbed the microphone and suggested I perform a physical impossibility. ~ Jim Bouton.

Front offices are more interested in players that are far than players that are near. ~ Jim Bouton.

The author emphasizes the importance of self-forgetfulness when his statistics were marred by a bad outing. He forgot all of that outing to such an extent that he quipped, What was my name? ~ Jim Bouton.

Don’t ever think $7,000 isn’t a lot of money in baseball. I’ve had huge arguments over a lot less. ~ Jim Bouton.

Famous Jim Bouton Quotes

A lot of long relievers are ashamed to tell their parents what they do. The only nice thing about it is that you get to wear a uniform like everybody else. ~ Jim Bouton.


Opening day – or Opening Day. Depending on how you feel about it. ~ Jim Bouton.

I’m not sure I’m going to like Don Mincher. I keep hearing that big southern accent of his. It’s prejudice, I know, but every time I hear a southern accent I think: stupid. A picture of George Wallace pops into my mind. It’s like Lenny Bruce saying he could never associate a nuclear scientist with a southern accent. ~ Jim Bouton.

If you had a pill that would guarantee a pitcher 20 wins, but might take five years off his life, he’d take it. ~ Jim Bouton.

Back then, if you had a sore arm, the only people concerned were you and your wife. Now it’s you, your wife, your agent, your investment counselor, your stockbroker, and your publisher. ~ Jim Bouton.

The author says his young son, adopted from South Korea, occasionally burps and says thank you but otherwise is doing all right. ~ Jim Bouton.

Popular Jim Bouton Quotes

We were like farm animals compared to today’s players who are treated like thoroughbreds. ~ Jim Bouton.


Statistics are about as interesting as first base coaches. ~ Jim Bouton.

Before the first workout, Joe Schultz, the manager (he’s out of the old school, I think, because he looks like he’s out of the old school—short, portly, bald, ruddy-faced, twinkly eyed), stopped by while I was having a catch. “How you feeling, Jim?” he asked. I wonder what he meant by that. ~ Jim Bouton.

You’re only as smart as your ERA. ~ Jim Bouton.

We agreed we’re both troubled by the stiff-minded emphasis on the flag that grips much of the country these days. A flag, after all, is still only a cloth symbol. You don’t show patriotism by showing blank-eyed love for a bit of cloth. And you can be deeply patriotic without covering your car with flag decals. ~ Jim Bouton.

I think we are all better off looking across at someone, rather than up. Sheldon Kopp, the author and psychologist, wrote, “There are no great men”. If you have a hero, look again: you have diminished yourself in some way. ~ Jim Bouton.

So these were the 37 inspiring Jim Bouton quotes and sayings on baseball, sports and life.

If you like these quotes, sayings and facts, then you can also read my other posts on Bill Shankly quotes and Laila Ali quotes.

Share with others!
Chandan Negi
Chandan Negi

I’m the Founder of Internet Pillar - I love sharing quotes and motivational content to inspire and motivate people - #quotes #motivation #internetpillar