Synopses & Reviews
A Season on the Mound with Minor League Baseball's Most Unlikely Pitcher
Matt McCarthy never expected to get drafted by a Major League Baseball team. A molecular biophysics major at Yale, he was a decent left-handed starter for a dismal college team. But good southpaws are hard to find, and when the Anaheim Angels selected him in the twenty-first round of the 2002 draft, McCarthy jumped at the chance to live every boy's dream.
In Odd Man Out, McCarthy tells the captivating and hilarious story of his year with the Provo Angels, Anaheim's Class A minor league affiliate in the heart of Mormon country. He quickly discovers the dirty truths of the minors: the Americans and Dominicans don't speak to each other, the allure of steroids is ever present, and everyone puts his own stats ahead of the team's success. With a brilliant eye for baseball's character, McCarthy takes readers through the ups and downs of an antic, grueling season filled with cross-country road trips, bizarre rivalries, and players competing with cutthroat intensity for the ultimate prize-a call up to the majors.
In the spirit of Ball Four, McCarthy recounts inside-the-locker-room tales of teammates who would go on to stardom, including Bobby Jenks, Joe Saunders, and Ervin Santana. Odd Man Out is one of the great books about baseball life, capturing with rare perfection the gritty essence of our national pastime as it is played outside the spotlight.
"While his professional baseball career lasted for just one summer, McCarthy still compiled enough incidents and anecdotes to make for an eye-opening read about the wildly unpredictable life of a minor-league ballplayer. Drafted in 2002 by the Anaheim Angels, the Yale-educated left-hander was eventually shipped off to the Angels' rookie team in Provo, Utah, where he had to not only adjust to the grueling schedule of a professional athlete but also to the culture of a heavily Mormon town. McCarthy shatters the idea of a glamorous lifestyle in the minor leagues from the agonizingly long bus rides to the never-ending meals in chain restaurants and minuscule paychecks. He also portrays the unflattering aspects of the game, be it the divide between the American and Hispanic players, or the constant inner struggle on whether to take performance-enhancing drugs. But there are plenty of humorous (and sometimes obscene) stories sprinkled in. All the while, McCarthy writes of his own personal struggles as a pitcher and the constant physical and mental strain he endured to keep alive the dream of one day making it to the major leagues. While the book sometimes reads like a journal (which he kept throughout the summer), McCarthy can be an effective storyteller. It's a pull-no-punches work that will give many baseball fans a glimpse into a part of baseball not seen on ESPN's SportsCenter." Publishers Weekly (Copyright Reed Business Information, Inc.)
"Twenty years after the release of Bull Durham
, the ultimate movie about the minor leagues, we now have Matt McCarthy's Odd Man Out
, the ultimate minor league memoir. If you want insight, irreverence, honesty and even a healthy dose of political incorrectness-not to mention an invaluable look at the state of the national pastime-McCarthy delivers. As a pitcher, he might have been a minor leaguer; as a memoirist, McCarthy's an all-star. Odd Man Out
is the best baseball book since Moneyball
-Jeremy Schaap, author of Cinderella Man: James J. Braddock, Max Baer and the Greatest Upset in Boxing History
"So this is what it's really like to live every boy's dream of getting drafted by a big-league team! I don't know a single baseball fan who will be able to resist Matt McCarthy's portrait of his hilariously grim-and yet somehow enviable-tour in the minor leagues. Part Bull Durham, part Ball Four, Odd Man Out is simply the best baseball book I've read in years."
-Jonathan Mahler, author of Ladies and Gentlemen, the Bronx Is Burning
"For an odd man out, Matt McCarthy is also the consummate insider. This honest account of life in the minors is equal parts rollicking travelogue, cultural criticism, and coming- of-age story. If McCarthy's pitching abilities were as accurate and strong as his storytelling talent, he'd be in The Show."
-L. Jon Wertheim, senior writer, Sports Illustrated, and author of Blood in the Cage
"Matt McCarthy has written something here that will make you laugh a lot and, even more, bring you closer to the game. It's a terrific book, and a lot of fun."
-Joe Posnanski, author of The Soul of Baseball: A Trip Through Buck O'Neill's America
"Matt McCarthy has pitched a gem: a decidedly non-dreamy-eyed look at young ballplayers in the low minors who dream of making it to the major league. Full of characters and curveballs, Odd Man Out should find a place on the shelf next to Pat Jordan's A False Spring-both tell it like it is."
-Jim Collins, author of The Last Best League
McCarthy tells the captivating and hilarious story of his year with as a Minor League baseball pitcher. McCarthy takes readers through the ups and downs of a grueling season filled with players competing with cutthroat intensity for the ultimate prize--a call up to the majors.
"The best baseball book since Moneyball."
Hailed by critics as one of the great books about baseball, Odd Man Out captures the gritty essence of our national pastime as it is played outside the spotlight. Matt McCarthy, a decent left-handed starting pitcher on one of the worst squads in Yale history, earned a ticket to spring training as the twenty-sixth-round draft pick of the 2002 Anaheim Angels. This is the hilarious inside story of his year with the Provo Angels, Anaheim's minor league affiliate in the heart of Mormon country, as McCarthy navigates the ups and downs of an antic, grueling season, filled with cross-country bus trips, bizarre rivalries, and wild locker-room hijinks.
About the Author
While earning his degree from Yale in molecular biophysics and biochemistry, Matt McCarthy doubled as a southpaw starting pitcher for the Yale Bulldogs. He was selected by the Anaheim Angels in the 2002 Major League Baseball draft and spent a season with their rookie ball team in Provo, Utah, before enrolling in medical school at Harvard University. He is currently an intern at Columbia-Presbyterian Hospital in New York City.