27 October 1976
| 6.3/10 |
22 September 1976
| Ball Four by Jim Bouton|
Jim Bouton, Marvin Kitman, Vic Ziegel
Jim Bouton, Ben Davidson, Jack Somack, David Carroll, Bill McCutcheon
All's Fair, The Nancy Walker Show, Baby - I'm Back, Code R, AES Hudson Street
Jim Bouton as Jim Barton
Jack Somack as 'Cap' Capogrosso
David James Carroll as Bill Westlake
Ben Davidson as 'Rhino' Rhinelander
Bill McCutcheon as Coach Pinky Pinkney
Lenny Schultz as Lenny 'Birdman' Siegel
Marco St. John as Rayford Plunkett
Jaime Tirelli as Orlando Lopez
Samuel E. Wright as C. B. Travis
Ball Four (TV series) Wikipedia
Ball Four is an American sitcom that aired on CBS in 1976. The series is inspired by the 1970 book of the same name by Jim Bouton. Bouton co-created the show with humorist and television critic Marvin Kitman and sportswriter Vic Ziegel. Bouton also starred in the series.
Ball Four followed the Washington Americans, a fictitious minor league baseball team, dealing with the fallout from a series of Sports Illustrated articles written by Americans player Jim Barton (Bouton). Like the book, the series covered controversial subjects including womanizing players, drug use, homosexuality in sports and religion. The series included a gay rookie ballplayer, one of the earliest regular gay characters on television. The trio began developing the series in 1975, looking to other series like M*A*S*H and All in the Family as models. CBS expressed interest and the creative team developed a script. CBS shot the pilot episode and ultimately bought the series.
Ball Four aired at 8:30 PM Eastern time, which was during the Family Viewing Hour, an FCC-mandated hour of early evening "family-friendly" broadcasting. Consequently the writers had some trouble with the network's Standards and Practices in their attempt to portray realistic locker room scenes, especially the language used by the players. Pseudo-profanity such as "bullpimp" was disallowed, while "horse-crock" and "bullhorse" were approved.
Ball Four debuted on September 22. While Bouton and other members of the cast received praise for their performances, critics found the series uneven in quality. CBS cancelled the show after five episodes.