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

3.83  ·  Rating details ·  1,349 Ratings  ·  130 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, Mc
Hardcover, 295 pages
Published February 19th 2009 by Viking Adult (first published 2009)
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Will Byrnes
In the 2002 ML baseball draft, Matt McCarthy, a Yale lefty with a fastball that had occasional familiarity with 90+mph was drafted in the 26th round by the Anaheim Angels. He was urged by friends and relations to keep a journal of his experiences, and those journals form the basis of this 2009 story of his single season in the sun of professional baseball.

When the book came out, there was a bit of a firestorm. McCarthy got some of his names, dates, and possibly facts wrong enough that the New Yo
Mar 17, 2009 rated it liked it
There's a lot of criticism of this book for time/place/statistical mistakes -- most of which read something like "McCarthy describes this happening on July 15 but so-and-so didn't join the team until July 30." To place this criticism in the context of the book, first of all, I don't think the author makes a single reference to a specific date of a game in the whole book -- so fact checkers FIRST have to figure out what date McCarthy is IMPLYING something occurred and THEN they can tell us all it ...more
May 20, 2009 rated it it was ok
Like most of Matt McCarthy's teammates on the Provo Angels minor league team where he spent one season, I'm sick and tired of Ivy League bullshit.

A dude pitches on a losing team at Yale, gets drafted in like the 25th round and then writes a book about his one season playing minor league ball. What's remarkable about McCarthy's book is not the casual entrenched racism and homophobia that is middle America's stock in trade - because who is shocked that every asshole in this country hates fags and
Dec 30, 2009 rated it it was ok
Shelves: 2009, usa
Matt McCarthy reminds me of Paul Shirley. Neither seems to realize how cocky they come off, and neither can write nearly as well as they think they can. The problem with being a semi-literate pro-athlete is that, relative to your peers, you seem like Shakespeare, but to the rest of us, you write as well as the average blogger.
Other notes:
Probably the only baseball book to begin a chapter with a "The Waste Land" reference.
The Bobby Jenks anecdotes are entertaining but not surprising.
I read this
Tim Basuino
Dec 21, 2014 rated it really liked it
Jim Bouton’s “Ball Four” remains the best expose of a baseball season I have read to date. Part of what made that book so intriguing was the fact that it was essentially the first of its type – Bouton’s description of the 1969 Seattle Pilots and Houston Astros took the nation (if not the world) by storm – up to that point the general idea was that ballplayers generally toed the company line, and were generally unable to think for themselves. To put it mildly, “Ball Four” altered that perception. ...more
Apr 03, 2009 rated it did not like it
Shelves: memoir
An interesting, but ultimately unsatisfying read. It is the story of a minor league pitcher who lasts just over one year in the minors. There are a lot of behind the scenes stories about the lives (on field and off) of the players on his minor league team. There was some controversy when then book came out about some of the stories in the book, but I don't know how anyone could be that shocked about the antics of young, uneducated, sexed- up young men living thousands of miles away from home in ...more
Tom Gase
May 23, 2011 rated it it was ok
Didn't like this book that much basically because except for maybe one character, who the reader doesn't meet until the end, you hate everyone. All the athletes are racist, homophopic and just plain dumb. This includes the writer. Well, maybe he's not dumb since he went to Yale, but you end up not liking him at all. For one, all the facts are wrong I guess, since there has been a lot of controversy around it. Also, he calls someone else a mole in the book, although HE'S DOING THE SAME EXACT THIN ...more
May 01, 2016 rated it it was ok
An interesting and readable, but also depressing, warts-and-all look inside the world of minor league baseball. Depressing mainly because there are a lot of warts. The author does not spare himself. He's not very likeable. He is also a little too condescending and bitter to pull off the "wacky world of baseball" tone I think he was trying for. There is a moment near the end of the book when a spring training coach yells at a group of pitchers he is working with, including the author, because the ...more
kaye shen
Feb 04, 2016 rated it really liked it
I've always been intrigued by athletes' lives off the field and what goes on in the locker room. This book gained some notoriety over the disputed veracity of some of the details. I'm sure you can easily google what those are. I've reviewed the cited alleged inaccuracies and feel that while some of the details may muddled, they don't delude from the tone or the major events in the story.

I thoroughly enjoyed learning about some baseball myths (slump-busting, pitching to color), what players talk
Sam Choi
Aug 11, 2011 rated it really liked it
Entertaining very quick read (1 business trip). The book is about a guy who barely makes it into the minors, and spends one season with the single A team. It's reasonably well-written, and while the characters are not particularly well-developed, a couple of them are memorable. The interesting thing about the story is not the characters, or even the story itself (the team is reasonably successful, but there's hardly a climax), but the little observations, quirks, and light analysis of life as a ...more
Michael Nye
May 17, 2014 rated it really liked it
Odd Man Out is a memoir of one man's year in the minor leagues. McCarthy pitched for Yale and then was drafted in the 21st round by the Anaheim Angels and assigned to their Provo club out of spring training. Hilarity ensues.

The writing is solid; nothing groundbreaking but no cliches either. McCarthy is charming, smart, and observant, witnessing all his teammates flaws and strengths without sentimentality. There are tons go great anecdotes here, and certainly dozens more had to be left out, but t
Sep 06, 2012 rated it really liked it
Really interesting perspective on life in the minor leagues.
Mike Niebrzydowski
Jun 13, 2017 rated it liked it
Interesting read, especially as a pitcher myself. I read afterwards that there are questions about its accuracy from some of the people in the book, which definitely makes it less satisfying of a read. Some of the stories did seem almost implausible or at least embellished.
Jim Blessing
May 21, 2017 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: baseball
This was a good read.
Gary Braham
Jan 07, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites
I love the idea of baseball more than I love actually watching or playing the game myself. I can't remember the last time I actually sat through a full 9 inning game. My average seems to be about 4-6 if I go to see my HS team or local summer league team play. But I really do enjoy reading about baseball, and there were a few angle of interests here. We had actually considered being a host family one summer, and I'm also Mormon, so I was interested in hearing the players take on playing in Provo. ...more
Aug 26, 2009 rated it liked it
"Odd Man Out" makes clear the virtues associated with being good at two things.

Matt McCarthy's is an autobiographical account of a Yale grad with a scientific bent and the good fortune of being a southpaw.

The fact of his left-handed birth limited the competition for pitching slots nationwide. It paved the way for McCarthy to play at Yale and later be drafted by the Los Angeles Angels Baseball Club.

The dynamic here is simple and effective. A young and cerebral son of old Ivy is tossed into the
Jordan Anderson
Mar 11, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: memoir-biography
I picked this book up on a whim, wanting something a little bit different than my normal fiction fare and needing a break (as of March 2016) from Greg Iles's well written, but extremely long (865 pages!) The Bone Tree. I had no idea what to expect, but for a grand total of 50 cents at my local used bookstore, and the fact that that money goes to supporting my town library, I figured I wouldn't be out any significant amount of hard earned cash, and I would simultaneously be doing a good deed for ...more
Jamie Bradway
Mar 30, 2011 rated it really liked it
Shelves: baseball
I kind of loved this, really. It's close to a five star book, but for a bit of nagging distraction.

I am a fan of baseball, especially the local minor league team, the Durham Bulls. So I loved getting the perspective of a player going through a farm system. It's also well-written and perfectly paced. I was invested in the successes and failures of McCarthy and his team, the Provo Angels. Surprised at how grueling that schedule is and the toll it takes on a struggling player.

This insight is almost
Jan 18, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I'm a baseball nut and have covered minor league baseball in the past, so this one was of extra special interest. I love these first-person stories about life in the low minors and what people did to get through it. Long bus rides, crappy food, low pay and not knowing what their lives will be like in the future.

The life of a minor leaguer isn't easy. Matt McCarthy takes us through one year in the minors -- his lone year in professional baseball -- in Provo, Utah. From getting drafted, to signin
Jun 20, 2009 rated it really liked it
Found this on the new books shelf at the public library and decided it looked interesting without have heard anything about it. Since I "really like it" while I was reading it, I give it four stars. Now I read that there are many complaints from fellow players who alleged inaccuracies - enough so that an article appeared in the New York Times describing them (and the author's defense). If I had known about that before I read it, it would have been more difficult to enjoy. So I don't know that I ...more
May 04, 2009 rated it really liked it
(how often do you really use the "it was amazing!" rating?)

Baseball time so a baseball book and as far as baseball books go, this was a very good one. Matt McCarthy gives a very honest and transparent memoir of the life of a major league baseball player that we don't get to see. For all the glamor and glitz of the big leagues here is what goes on for years sometimes for those who have the dream of making it to the big club. McCarthy does an excellent job of retelling a year in the life of a mino
Nancy Kennedy
Feb 03, 2012 rated it it was amazing
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.

The schedule is alternately grueling and mind-numbingly boring. Coaching styles careen between gentle paternalism and obscenity-spewing mania. Players are foul-mouthed, hormonally overcharged and undereducated teenagers, and a racial divide splits the team down the middle. Camaraderie and professionalism are in short supply. "Nothi
Jul 09, 2012 rated it really liked it
A friend recommended "Odd Man Out" by Matt McCarthy and I enjoyed reading this fairly transparent look into the world of minor league baseball. I agree with many of the other reviewers that Jim Bouton's "Ball Four" was more in depth, honest, and humorous but it probably wasn't McCarthy's intention to better or even equal Bouton's book.

In many ways I found this book to be a coaching character study of the Provo Angles' coach, Tom Kochman. I have played for and coached with people like Kochman an
May 06, 2009 rated it liked it
I enjoyed this vignette of the minor league experiences of a Yale graduate. McCarthy's style is pedestrian (not meant as a cut) and allows the casual reader to get sucked into the life of an aspiring major league baseball player. At first, I had a difficult time "reading" into the author's descriptions of his own actions and dialogue with others...was he playing with others, keeping his own views private while secretly expressing amusement at others' naivete or different world views from his own ...more
Oct 29, 2012 rated it really liked it
Shelves: baseball, 2013
This is basically a modern version of Ball Four, but set in the low levels of the minor leagues. Ball Four was groundbreaking at the time it was written, but the stories and characters in it were pretty tame compared to the ones in this book.

I am a little conflicted about the author's use of the actual names of his teammates and coaches. On one hand, the stories were more entertaining when I recognized the names of its subjects. However, McCarthy had to betray a lot of trust from those teammates
Apr 23, 2013 rated it really liked it
I find autobiographical sports stories very hit or miss for the most part, but McCarthy hits the mark perfectly in Odd Man Out.

Unlike many authors in this genre, McCarthy steers clear of both eye roll-inducing self-aggrandizement and dull statistically-driven ramblings.

His account of his brief time in minor league baseball paints a quirky, charming and realistic picture of what's it's like to play professional baseball at its lowest level. His witty, captivating account of his turn in the mino
Jennifer Arnold
Mar 05, 2009 rated it it was ok
Matt McCarthy was an Ivy League pitcher on a losing Yale baseball team and a biophysics major (and probably the only minor leaguer doing genetic research during the off season) drafted in the 26th round by the Angels only because he was a left-handed pitcher (fastest way to the Show, as they say). The book chronicles his brief and harldly brilliant baseball career in the minors with the Provo Angels.

Growing up in a town with a minor league team (the Dunedin Blue Jays - who ate at the same hole-
Aug 18, 2011 rated it really liked it
I don't usually have three books on the go at once. But, I picked this up off a bargain book rack, started to read it in the doctor's waiting room, and can't seem to put it down.

An inside look at the life of a minor league baseball season, the author's one and only. Matt McCarthy was drafted in the 21st round by the Angels and assigned to their rookie league affiliate in Provo, Utah. Baseball is a tough business, ruled by the numbers, from your draft position, to your batting average or, if a pi
Jun 07, 2011 rated it it was ok
*sigh* Another mediocre minor league baseball memoir. I've gotta learn to stop reading these. The idea is fascinating — a Ball Four-style account of a year in the low minors from a Yale grad who, after he left baseball, ultimately went on to Harvard Medical School and a career as a physician (thereby validating the "misfit" claim of the title, given the anti-intellectual culture that seems largely endemic to a career in the game). But the execution is fairly flat... while McCarthy is a reasonabl ...more
Aug 14, 2010 rated it it was ok
Shelves: franklin-library
Being avidly interested in baseball in general and pitching in particular saved this book for me. It's easy to overlook the minor leagues; they don't have the cachet or flair of the majors. McCarthy seems to admit as much, with his constant name-dropping. But he shows the minors as they are: the intensely competitive, high pressure, make-or-break atmosphere.

If he's rather mouthy about who he met along the way, he's refreshingly candid about his own skill, never hyping himself or posturing as the
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Matt McCarthy is an assistant professor of medicine at Cornell and a staff physician at Weill Cornell Medical Center. His work has appeared in Sports Illustrated, Slate, The New England Journal of Medicine, and Deadspin, where he writes the Medspin column.
More about Matt McCarthy...