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Odd Man Out: A Year on the Mound with a Minor League Misfit Hardcover – February 19, 2009


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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 304 pages
  • Publisher: Viking Adult; 1ST edition (February 19, 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0670020702
  • ISBN-13: 978-0670020706
  • Product Dimensions: 9.2 x 6.4 x 1.1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.1 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 3.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (71 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #989,760 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

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. Its a pull-no-punches work that will give many baseball fans a glimpse into a part of baseball not seen on ESPNs SportsCenter. (Feb.)
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From Booklist

Much as Jim Bouton recorded life as a major leaguer with the 1969 Seattle Pilots in his classic Ball Four, so Matt McCarthy shares his life as a minor leaguer with the 2002 Los Angeles Angels’ Class A farm team in Provo, Utah. If McCarthy lacks Bouton’s immortal cast of characters, or his singular deadpan wit, he proves a sure-handed reporter in revealing the daily grind of a season, the unabashed racism among players (all Hispanics are simply called Dominicans by their white teammates), the lousy pay and living conditions, and the callous nature of this most zero-sum of professions. Baseball fans will likely recognize Joe Saunders, Bobby Jenks, and Prince Fielder—bona fide major-league stars who were teammates or competitors of the author. McCarthy’s professional baseball career might be forgettable but this account is not. --Alan Moores

Customer Reviews

It's a very funny book.
Ira Sacharoff
Yale graduate Matt McCarthy is your guide to the minor leagues in this book that chronicles his year as a pitcher with the Angels organization, playing in Provo, Utah.
N. B. Kennedy
Turns out McCarthy isn't telling the truth.
en

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

14 of 17 people found the following review helpful By Mikemac09 on March 19, 2009
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
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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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By H. Garyn on July 13, 2009
Format: Hardcover
Matt McCarthy's autobio of his time in minor league baseball was quite entertaining and kept me interested in his and his team's exploits throughout. However, I was also left feeling incomplete. Characters could have been more deeply explored, the season covered more in depth, more, more, more. It was all just too superficial, but still managed to fill nearly 300 pages. It's a quick read that's great summer fare, just don't expect much depth to the story or character development. From Yalie to Angels minor league washout to med school intern, good luck Matt. I just hope you have greater appreciation for your skills as a doctor than as a baseball player; self-fulfilling propheses have a way of happening.
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Pontiac on February 26, 2010
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This was a great read, well written and expertly paced. Good enough that I Googled the author, his teammates, the Provo Angels, and other aspects of the memoir just to catch up and learn more of them 9 yrs later. I was dismayed to see the book slandered by the NY Times and alliterate bloggers for some negligible discrepancies. The entire memoir rings true and complements accurately the experiences of other low-minor leaguers recorded in previous memoirs (e.g., The Boys Who Would Be Cubs (1990; J. Bosco) and Minor Players, Major Dreams (1997; B.H. Mandel). I consider this the best MiLB memoir I've ever read and I favor the genre.
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9 of 12 people found the following review helpful By Charles Earle on May 29, 2009
Format: Hardcover
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.
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Tina F. on August 18, 2009
Format: Hardcover
I had a hard time putting this book down. As a baseball fan, I really enjoyed the human face given to the players by the author; he has written about three-dimensional players, not baseball cards. Many of the then minor-league players Matt McCarthy played with are now in the majors and it was enjoyable to watch their progress and have a few laughs in the process. Recommended for everyone who loves the game.
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8 of 11 people found the following review helpful By Newark17 on March 5, 2009
Format: Hardcover
A really fine book about minor league baseball. Sometimes funny , sometimes touching, but always interesting, this is a must read for anyone interested in minor league baseball and life on the road. Several reviews have compared this book to Ball Four and A False Spring, and you could also add Jim Brosnan's two books (The Long Season and Pennant Race) to the mix. However this book is actually much closer to Rick Wolff's, What's A Nice Harvard Boy Like You Doing In The Bushes? and Dave Baldwin's, Snake Jazz. The latter is in my opinion is one of the best baseball books ever written. If you are a baseball fan, or just someone who wants a good book to read, do yourself a favor and get this book.
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8 of 11 people found the following review helpful By Joel Katte on February 19, 2009
Format: Hardcover
Matt McCarthy, former minor leaguer for the California Angels, offers a fresh, interesting look into the not-so glamorous world of minor league baseball. It will hold your interest, make you laugh, and give you a new appreciation for the road most Major Leaguers have to take to make it to the Big Show. Baseball's, unlike NBA's draft picks, minor leauge prospects have a long, arduous road to travel in hopes of realizing their dreams, and the great majority never even reach the holy grail. This book feels like BULL DURHAM meets MTV's the REAL WORLD. So why do so many players give into the steroids temptation? WHy do so many players become class A jerks by the time their ticket to the Big Leagues arrives? Read this compelling new book and you will have some answers.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Avid Reader on December 30, 2013
Format: Hardcover
I read a lot of baseball books, and this is one of the more enjoyable I've come across in a while. There are any number of "tell all" books about the clubhouse in the majors and the minors, and they have shaped how fans understand the game. "Odd Man Out" doesn't break new ground, per se, but because its author is different than his teammates but yet a ballplayer, he can share a perspective that feels closer to how many of us would experience that world.

Matt McCarthy pitched at Yale. He had some success on a lousy team in a non-competitive Division I league. He was lucky to be drafted in the 26th (or 27th) round, and he was a super long-shot to play in the majors. The book chronicles his one season in Rookie ball -- the lowest level of the minors -- for the Angles. When he was cut in spring training the next year, McCarthy went back to medical research, did projects in Africa, and later became a doctor.

This book describes his Yale baseball team and his minor league season, with both the disgust over the conduct of teammates (at times) and his love of the sport. There are a few regrets -- things he missed in college -- but for the most part, he's proud of his path.

McCarthy loves baseball, and he enjoyed the antics and camaraderie of the clubhouse. But yet, he was an outsider. It's clear that he had few friends on the team and was never the instigator of antics, hazing, fights, or anything else. He was just a quiet guy on the periphery. That's how many of us would have been in a clubhouse of 30 testosterone-laden guys, half of whom spoke only a little English. We'd want to go to the ballpark, do our thing, and then be left alone.
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