Odd Man Out: A Year on the Mound with a Minor League Misfit

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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.

Customer Reviews:

  • An Inside Look At Life In The Minor Leagues
    This book is well-written; I couldn't put it down. I always wondered what life in the minor leagues was like. McCarthy gives a firsthand view of life in the lower minors. It's not nearly as detailed as Steve Fireovoid's 1990s book, but it gives insight into the racial divisions and drill-sergeant approach to managing. I'm curious as to what Mr. McCarthy was seeking to accomplish by publishing this.

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  • Entertaining
    An entertaining look at the lower rungs of baseball where fame hasn't distorted the game....more info
  • No free agency made a tremendous diffierence
    I recently published BEATING ABOUT THE BUSHES which portrays my 8 year professional career in the Baltimore Orioles organization during the '60's. The book starts when I was 12 and realized I was the big fish in the small pond continuing through and beyond my career. BEATING ABOUT THE BUSHES contains amusing, informative and controversial elements providing the reader with an understanding for what every player faced. There was no free agency and the Club was the plantation owner, you were the slave, and there was no hope for escape....more info
  • Better be a baseball fan
    Heard the author interviewed on the radio and bought the book. Interesting concept - Ivy league grad and future MD's hiatus into minor league baseball. Nothing too earth-shattering in the book, but it gives me insight into the lives of the young men playing for our local minor league team, the Tennessee Smokies....more info
  • So So
    I feel that although parts of the book were definitely entertaining, all in all it left me kind of flat. Matt seemed to have a very luke warm opinion about virtually everything. He did not have very many nice things to say about his American teammates, his 'Dominican Teammates', the fans, his billet family, his coaches, his girlfriend, or anybody else.

    There are a lot of people out there who would give anything to play professional baseball, even if it is for only one summer, but Matt just seems to take it all for granted. It left me feeling kind of sad....more info
  • Ivy Leaguer Meets Low Level Minor Leaguers
    This is a inside look at what it's like for an Ivy League graduate to try to blend in as one of the boys in a rookie league in the low minors in Mormon country. His teammates ranged from bonus babies to fringe draft choices. More than a few eventually made it to The Show. I got a kick out of Matt McCarthy's having to dumb himself down to be accepted, while maintaining his admittedly Yale-based superiority about religion and academics. He really puts you inside the clubhouse and on the team bus. The off-the-field adventures are hilarious.

    McCarthy has come in for criticism from his team's veteran manager and some of the players who he describes have said they were not even on the same team with him that season. Even if some facts have been lost in the four or so years since he played, or names have been changed, this book is easy to read and very accurately captures the flavor of what it's like to try to make it to the majors. George Will could experience vicariously what he never would come close to in real life.

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  • Great minor league baseball narrative
    A great book for any baseball fan or any parent out there who has a child dreaming of one day playing ball in the majors. McCarthy's minor league experiences are probably much like those of thousands of other guys who never reached their ultimate goal. But his ability as a storyteller makes them very noteworthy. The book is funny, candid and self-deprecating. And knowing throughout it that the author had a great future outside of the game made it much easier to read about his struggles....more info
  • Strike Out Looking
    C'mon Matty. Hardly aggressive base running. With spring training underway, I was hoping to enjoy a fresh view into the inner sanctum of the dugout and locker room. Instead I found a contrived bungle of stories that did not impress or inspire. Very good at finding faults and making fun of others - kind of like the kid on the end of the bench telling everyone in the field how to play better. Take the bat off your shoulder next time....more info
  • Almost there...and then start again!
    Matt McCarthy "almost" made it in baseball. His account of his year in professional baseball was informative and entertaining. As someone who has played baseball for nearly 40-years, but never came close to achieving what Matt achieved, I enjoyed reading about his journey. How many boys would love to grow up and at least get to the minors...and Matt did. His account of how some other players, and to some extent himself, washed out after playing baseball their whole life is heart rendering.

    Additionally, Matt mentions Quan Cosby several times in his book. Being a huge Longhorn fan and knowing a little about Quan's background, it is inspiring to know that each of them came up in totally different environments, yet each of them achieved "professional" status but never made the pinnacle of baseball. Now, they each have started new careers, Matt with medicine, and Quan with professional football after a stellar career at The University of Texas. They were both able to move on after baseball....more info
  • Very enjoyable read
    Outrageous tales make this book fun to read.
    Recently, people have raised doubts about the authenticity of some of these stories. But if even half of them are true, this read is well worth it.
    It gave me a new outlook on baseball players' off the field activities....more info
  • As close to Ball Four as you may ever get
    OK lets get over the fact this book is not ball four and that in all likelihood there will not be another baseball book as fun as Ball Four. That being said Odd Man Out is a very enjoyable book and does a great job of poking holes in the many misconceptions that exist about the "fantasy" in playing pro-sports. Matt McCarthy cuts no bones about the cut throat competition and the cruel nature of the game at this level.

    The greatest good he does is to show us the entire reality of minor league ball warts and all. One has to admire the dedication of his manager to the development of younger players and how the "Dominican" players have to over come so many different obstacles and how the "American" players are often so very similar but their youth and immaturity combined with a desire to reach a goal that many will never see leads to a basically unhealthy audience.

    All in all this is an exceptional baseball book and a very enjoyable and well written read. I would recommend it to anyone who wants to learn more about the life of baseball! ...more info
  • Not Ball Four, but still GREAT!!!!
    Comparing this book to Ball Four just is not fair. Ball Four was one of the most jaw dropping books in baseball history, Odd Man Out nor any other baseball book can match that. Odd Man Out, however, is a terrific first hand insite into the rough journey that is Minor League Baseball. Funny, Provacative and captivating, Matt McCarthy provided a personal view of everything that goes on. This book has opened a light for me. Now, everytime I see a dugout I look to see where the Dominicans are sitting and where the Americans are sitting. Odd Man Out is no Ball Four, but it is still a terrific insight into Minor League Baseball and will be read for years to come. ...more info


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