The Sad Case of “The Bat Guy”

Justin March 3, 2009 1

Last May, the internets were all atwitter when a minor league team in Canada traded one of its pitchers for 10 maple bats. That pitcher, John Odom, certainly understood the humor of the situation, and gladly took part in interviews to discuss the deal, able to laugh at himself along the way.

Now, he’s dead. The victim, according to a medical examiner in Georgia, of an accidental overdose. And it turns out, this story was never really that funny to begin with.

Odom was a kid with a history, but after washing out in the Giants minor league system, he signed with an independent league team in Calgary. That’s when a past drug offense came into play. Canadian authorities would not let him enter the country, but instead of dropping him cold, the team decided to get something for Odom. Hence, the bat trade.

He lasted a few months on his new team, before giving up his baseball dream and heading home to Georgia, where his demons apparently got the best of him.

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