I read these two book consecutively. Ball Four by Jim Bouton is “the” baseball classic. The ultimate insiders look at what really happens in the clubhouse. Maybe it was controversial in 1970, but today, it all seemed pretty tame. Baseball players cheat on their wives and drink too much. Big news there eh? What I did find very interesting in this book was the average players struggle with money. Getting traded was a hardship not because of the move or inconvenience, but because you lost the deposit on your apartment. These guys were really hurting for money a lot of the time.
The Wrong Stuff by Bill Lee is frigging hilarious. There are more than a couple of laugh out loud moments. Bill played right around when free agency became a reality, so the before and after perspective is quite interesting. His stories are much funnier than Bouton’s. In fairness, Lee has an entire career to choose from, Bouton wrote about one season. Bouton also stuck to booze, while Bill seemed willing to inhale or ingest just about anything. David Wells may claim to have pitched while drunk, but Bill talks about pitching while tripping on psychedelic drugs.
Both books are must reads for any baseball fan.