Ken Reed: Jim Bouton’s impact reached far beyond the baseball diamond

Ken Reed, writing for Troy Media:

Ball Four also changed how reporters covered professional baseball, and the owners, executives, coaches and players in the game. Prior to Ball Four, reporters basically served as public relations agents for the teams they covered. Stories were almost always spun from a perspective that team owners would approve of and players were depicted as Frank Merriwell-like all-Americans.

Beat writers ignored any player indiscretions or unusual activities – even those that clearly had a negative impact on a player’s performance on the field.

Ball Four changed all that. Sports journalism became more open, honest and ethical.

Bouton may be the only person to help spur significant reform in both sports and sports journalism in the United States.