On this date in 1978, Ball Four author Jim Bouton threw six innings (giving up 3 hits, 3 walks and 1 unearned run while striking out 2) as the Atlanta Braves beat Ed Halicki and the San Francisco Giants 4-1 in front of 3,358 paying fans at Candlestick Park.
It marked the first MLB "W" for the 38 year-old knuckleballer since July 11, 1970 — it would also be his last. Having originally retired to focus on his writing and TV/film careers — which included I'm Glad You Didn't Take It Personally, his hilarious and very underrated follow-up to Ball Four, and an unforgettable supporting role in Robert Altman's 70s update of Raymond Chandler's The Long Goodbye — "Bulldog" returned to baseball in '75, and was brought back to the majors in September '78 (courtesy of Braves owner Ted Turner) after going 11-9 with a 2.82 ERA for the AA Savannah Braves.
His first start with the Braves, on September 10, was a disaster, with Bouton giving up 6 earned runs in 5 innings in a loss to the Los Angeles Dodgers in Atlanta. He continued to pitch well after his win, though, at least for the next couple of starts; most impressive was an 8-inning performance on September 24 against the Cincinnati Reds, where he scattered 5 hits and only gave up 2 runs in the Braves' 2-1 loss at home. Five days later, however, the Reds rocked him for 7 hits and 7 runs (6 of them earned) in 3 innings at Riverfront.
Sadly, Bulldog would never pitch another game in the majors, but he sure wore those red Braves clown pinstripes with pride during his brief return...