Odd Man Out is written by Matt McCarthy, a Yale graduate who went on to attend Harvard Medical School and is currently doing a medical internship. In between Yale and Harvard, McCarthy was drafted by the Angels and spent a year pitching for their Provo, Utah farm team. This book is his first-hand account of a year in the minor leagues.
An excerpt of this book was highlighted in Sports Illustrated earlier this year. McCarthy’s work has been described as a combination of the now-famous book, Ball Four, and the classic baseball movie Bull Durham. I think the description fits. The author takes us through his last few weeks at Yale in the Spring of 2002, his experience getting drafted & signed, his introduction to pro ball at the Angels training camp at Mesa, Arizona, his year pitching for and living in Provo, and the following year’s spring training back at Mesa.
Highlights include McCarthy’s first pro coach (Casey Kotchman’s father, whose good luck charm was the “Rally Penis”), the interactions between American and Latino players (the two groups segregate themselves), the team’s acclimation to Provo’s Mormon population and beliefs (difficult), and the author’s reaction to the many future major-leaguers that he meets. Players’ struggles with alcohol and drugs are also a part of this book.
I found Odd Man Out to be both entertaining and insightful. Once I started the book, I found it difficult to put down. SABR members should enjoy it, especially for those who find books such as Jim Bouton’s Ball Four and Jim Brosnan’s The Long Season appealing.
Here are the key statistics:
Book: Odd Man Out – A Year on the Mound with a Minor League Misfit
Author: Matt McCarthy
Author Credentials: the author is a graduate of Yale, Harvard Medical School, and is currently serving an internship at Columbia-Presbyterian Medical Center in New York City
Published: 2009, Viking, ISBN 978-0-670-02070-6
Length: 295 pages
Price: Retail list – $25.95; Online: used from $11.00, new from $13.00 + ship.