The complete title of this one is: “Odd Man Out – A Year On The Mound With A Minor League Misfit”. It was written by Matt McCarthy and was published in 2009.
Author Matt McCarthy was an Ivy League student-athlete, a left-handed pitcher who majored in molecular biophysics & biochemistry at Yale University. He mentions in passing that the tuition at Yale was $40K per year, which is one reason I didn’t go there.
At the time he was writing “Odd Man Out”, Mr. McCarthy had washed out of minor league baseball and was a medical student at Harvard Medical School.
I have to say there are obvious similarities between “Odd Man Out” and the movie “Bull Durham”. Both are about minor league baseball, but “Bull Durham” is a movie about a fictional team with fictional characters, while “Odd Man Out” is a book about the real minor leagues, with real characters.
In “Odd Man Out”, author Matt McCarthy names names: He played little league ball with Tim Raines, Jr. and Corey Patterson. He played high school ball with Khalil Green. He played minor league ball with Bobby Jenks, Mike Napoli, Casey Kotchman, Prince Fielder, and others.
The author describes his tryout with the NY Yankees, and he describes draft day and being drafted by the Anaheim Angels.
One of the first things which confronted the author upon his arrival in the minor leagues was the two-party system: “You’ve got your Dominicans and you’ve got everybody else….They’re loud, they don’t speak English, they don’t have no respect for nobody,….” etc.
Later, the author presents a different view of the Dominicans: “Aw, man, those guys get a bad rap. They’re good kids….Plus, they liven things up around here….Keeps everyone from being so uptight.”
The Angels assigned Mr. McCarthy to their Provo, Utah farm team, where the author learned a lot about Mormons and the Mormon culture in Utah, including the Mormon family who took him in.
McCarthy describes how he learned to “pitch by color”, and how to break out of a slump with the help of a “slump buster”.
Mr. McCarthy details steroid usage as he encountered it, including discussions about usage vs. non-usage.
My favorite quote from the book is the following:
- “Do what makes you happy, son.”
I enjoyed reading “Odd Man Out”, and I recommend it to anyone who has any interest at all in our national pastime.