|Book Review: Odd Man Out|
Written by At Home Plate Staff (Contact & Archive) on July 12, 2009
After agreeing to a deal, McCarthy flies to Mesa, Ariz., to determine where he'll begin his professional career. It turns out to be Provo, Utah, a city, McCarthy tells us, filled with Mormons.
Perhaps the most revealing portion of the book comes when McCarthy reveals he openly roots against teammates to succeed. After all, playing professional baseball is Darwinism at its most extreme. Either you play better than everyone else at your position or you get released.
McCarthy had the advantage of being a left-handed pitcher, a type of player who get nine lives, but there are other players, Joe Saunders being one of them, who push McCarthy further down the organizational depth chart. He cheered for his teammates to fail in order for him to look better by comparison.
Much of everything else McCarthy covers is interesting. He offers a deeper look into professional baseball than most people get. McCarthy spends an entire season in Provo before washing out of professional baseball the next season. He chooses not to sign with another organization and moves on with his life.
Odd Man Out provides an excellent narrative of a baseball career. McCarthy is funny, the situations he finds himself in are interesting, and it's great to see what professional baseball is really like.
On March 3 of this year, however, a New York Times article came out that casts doubt on everything McCarthy wrote. The article asserts that, using statistics from that season, transaction listings and interviews with players, Odd Man Out is partially fabricated. (McCarthy discusses this subject in AtHomePlate.com's exclusive author interview.)
This book deserves 2.5 balls because of its great narrative. That score would be higher if everything had been factually correct. If you don't mind reading something that may be partially fiction, consider that rating a little higher.
AtHomePlate.com writes its book reviews with the following rating scale in mind:
Four Balls: An exceptional book that truly earns a walk straight to the local book store to get a copy.