It's becoming an old story – although this time it involves neither the Holocaust or Wall Street. This time, the memoir raising questions is about a year spent playing baseball.
Matt McCarthy, a graduate of Yale and of Harvard Medical School, wrote "Odd Man Out: A Year on the Mound with a Minor League Misfit." McCarthy did spend a year pitching in the minor league system of the Angels. That part of the story is confirmed to be true. But much of the rest has now come under question.
McCarthy's book includes some very colorful stories about racism, use of steroids, and wild behavior and speech on the part of his fellow players (many of whom are named by name.) But now several have come forward, not only to deny McCarthy's accounts, but also to show that many of his dates are inaccurate. McCarthy says he wrote his book from detailed journals that he kept at the time, but it now appears that a number of the incidents he recounts could not have occurred at the times that he says they did.
"The book’s more outrageous scenes could not be independently corroborated or disproved," wrote New York Times reporters Benjamin Hill and Alan Schwarz earlier this month. "Several teammates who were present said in interviews that they were exaggerated or simply untrue."
The allegations of inaccuracy come at a bad time for the publishing industry, which is still reeling from the discovery that several other memoirs (including James Frey’s “A Million Little Pieces,” "Angel at the Fence" by Herman Rosenblat, and "Love and Consequences" by Margaret B. Jones) were partially or entirely made up.
Charges of fraud, however, don't necessarily hurt book sales. "Odd Man Out" is now No. 21 on the New York Times bestseller list.