Yet another supposedly non-fiction "memoir" writer is accused of filling his book with exaggerations, half-truths and lies—but this time it's about baseball, so it was much easier to prove the story wrong.
Odd Man Out: A Year On The Mound With A Minor League Misfit is the story of Matt McCarthy, a Yale grad who spent one summer toiling with the Provo Angels of the Pioneer League. It is supposedly a rollicking tale of racist, misogynist, mentally unbalanced steroid freaks driving around in a bus and wreaking havoc wherever they go. However, many of the men who became characters in the book are coming forward now to say that their insane tales of debauchery simply aren't true. (Sample anecdote: the book accuses pitcher Joe Saunders of making fun of disabled children. Classy.)
The book was published last month, along with a lengthy except in Sports Illustrated, but I haven't read either, because I lost my library card and the story is conspicuously absent from SI's online vault. (It was published in the Feb. 16 issue, according to the New York Times.)
But the real problem with (allegedly!) faking a baseball memoir is that box scores and transactions logs are way more accurate than McCarthy's personal notebooks. So if you're going to say, for example, that your manager ordered a pitcher to hit an opposing player with a pitch, you should probably make sure that someone actually got hit with a pitch in the games you're mentioning. (They didn't.) Or when you accuse a teammate of threatening to kill Larry King's son, make sure he was actually on the team when you say he was. (He wasn't.)
True or not, the story still sounds more entertaining than Bull Durham.
Errors Cast Doubt on Matt McCarthy's Baseball Memoir [NY Times]
Foul Ball [Kenneth in the 212]