July 11 (UPI) -- Former New York Yankees pitcher and baseball author Jim Bouton has died at age 80. He was fighting a brain disease linked to dementia.
Bouton, who died Wednesday, won 21 games for the Yankees in 1963, making the All-Star team for the only time in his career.
His book, Ball Four, chronicled the 1970 season, featuring stories from his time with the Seattle Pilots and Houston Astros during the 1969 season. It also included stories about Yankees slugger Mickey Mantle, among other stars.
The book featured tales about fellow players' sexual and drinking activities, squabbles with management and the use of performance-enhancing drugs, among other topics which enraged his Major League Baseball brethren.
Bouton's first book became a best-seller and is still regarded as one of the best sports books of all time. He also wrote Strike Zone, I'm Glad You Didn't Take It Personally and I Managed Good, But Boy Did They Play Bad.
"The New York Yankees organization is saddened to learn of the passing of former Yankee Jim Bouton," the team said in a news release. "We send our condolences to his family and friends and will be holding a moment of silence in his memory before tomorrow night's game."
Bouton played for the Yankees from 1962 through 1968 before splitting his 1969 season between Seattle and Houston. He sustained a right arm injury in 1965 and never won more than four games in a season for the remainder of his career.
He went 4-6 with a career-high 5.40 ERA in 1970. He attempted three comebacks before posting a 1-3 record in 1978 while with the Atlanta Braves. He retired from Major League Baseball at 39.
"Jim Bouton passes," Hall of Fame pitcher Jim Palmer tweeted Thursday. "Boyhood idol cause he was a Yankee. Hit a homer off him in 1965 in first [Major League] win. Reading his classic, Ball Four on the spring training team bus to Pompano Beach, Frank Robby saw me, wouldn't talk to me for a month. Unique man, that happened to pitch."
Bouton went on to a career in television, working as a sportscaster for WABC and WCBS in New York City. He also starred in a CBS sitcom based on Ball Four, which lasted five episodes. Bouton also is credited as the co-developer of the bubble gum Big League Chew.