Tag Archives: death

A Tragic Ending For John Odom

During times of difficulty or struggle, many of us sometimes feel that our life may not be worth very much, but luckily we have family and friends to show us otherwise. Now, imagine already having a troubled past, struggling in the present, not knowing where you may end up in the future and having someone place a face value on your life equivalent to that of 10 maple bats.

By now, I am sure that most of you, if not all of you, have heard the story of the 26 year old minor league pitcher, John Odom, who was traded last season for 10 Prairie Sticks maple baseball bats valued at approximately $700.00 (including shipping costs).

John initially took it in stride. He appeared to take it so well that he agreed to do interviews regarding the trade and even joked about how it would make a great story if he ever did one day make the majors. Despite going from prospect pitcher to punchline, Odom dismissed all notions of despair and suicidal feelings. He was told that this was not done as a publicity stunt or to embarrass him , but three weeks after the trade and after one especially miserable night being taunted in Amarillo, Texas, Odom disappeared and merely five months later, he was dead.

While some argue there is no proof that the trade is what directly caused his death, many are concerned that it affected him more than he let on, and rightfully so.

People seem to forget that baseball isn’t always fun and games. Reliever Donnie Moore shot himself and sadly died, three years after giving up a big home run that kept the Angels from winning the 1986 American League pennant. Boston All-Star Bill Buckner became a scourge after letting a ball roll through his legs in the 1986 World Series. In 2003  Steve Bartman, fell off the face of the Earth after trying to catch a foul ball and (possibly) cost his team, the Cubs,  its first National League championship since 1945.

If being completely devalued wasn’t enough to cause John to kill himself, the awful night in Amarillo, followed by months of binging on drugs and alcohol and seclusion were defintely enough to cause him to do himself in. The medical examiner has named the cause of death an accidental over dose from heroin, methamphetamine, the stimulant benzylpiperazine and alcohol, but whether this truly was accidental or if this was just a cocktail put together by a young man that just no longer cared, we will never know. His life over the last few months and final days are left to the imagination. There is no record of where he was living, where he is buried, and his family and friends cannot be reached.

The infamous ten bats, on the other hand, can be easily located in a warehouse in Orlando, FL. They were never used and have now been purchased by Ripley’s Believe it or Not! for $10,000.00 which has been donated to the team’s children’s charity.

Quite the story has developed from the trade, unfortunately, it was not the great story that John Odom had hoped for. The story did not have the happy ending that he had once aspired for. Instead, it was a story of humiliation, cruelty and defeat. A life has been wastefully lost and all that remains are 10 pieces of wood.

The smiling John Odom: May he R.I.P.

The smiling John Odom: May he R.I.P.


Filed under baseball, Real Life, Sports

A Night of “Boom Boom”

It would be wrong to consider former light weight champion Ray “Boom Boom” Mancini a killer, but back when I first heard of him that’s exactly what came to mind. I was uneducated when it came to boxing, so naturally when Mario told me the story of “Boom Boom” the murder switch clicked on. So, you can only imagine what kind of thoughts that rushed through my mind when I caught a close glimpse of Mr. Mancini himself at a romantic Italian restaurant.
It has been nearly two years since I had my run in with Boom Boom. Mario had taken me to a beautiful little Italian restaurant in downtown Ft.Lauderdale just to spend a romantic evening alone with me. The night started out like a usual date would, we sat at our dimly lit table as the waiter went over the evening’s specials. We ordered our dinner, drank wine, and appreciated our silent surroundings. It was a nice change from the cries I heard all day at home with then baby London.
We held a casual conversation and Mario caught a glimpse of a familiar looking man that sat at the table directly next to us. I saw him ponder a bit and noticed his eyes widen when he realized who this man was. “Babe!” I remember jumping slightly to his excited call. “That’s Ray “Boom Boom” Mancini!” I was bewildered. “Who?” Mario was slightly disappointed to know that I had no idea who he was, but then remembered that I’m not exactly a boxing guru. “He was a light weight boxer in the 80’s. He killed a guy.” My heart sank. Nervously, I looked to my left and saw what seemed like an incredibly easy going man and his female companion. “Are you sure? He doesn’t look like he is very capable of even harming a fly.” Mario grinned and guaranteed that it was him. I ate dinner very quietly that evening. Every once in a while, I would glimpse over at this man and wonder how he could kill some one. I know it was accidental, but how? And how does he live with it? Was he punished for it in any way or was it over looked because it’s just “part of the sport”? Mario looked at me very concerned, because for me to remain so silent for so long is a clear inclination that something very serious is on my mind. “What’s wrong?” I didn’t want to say a word. I didn’t want “Boom Boom” to hear any of my comments and then go after Mario, or even worse… me.
By now, we had both finished eating our dinner and I was ready to go home. After the bill had been paid and the tip was left for the waiter, I quickly got up from my table and was on my way out. It seems as though that I was a bit too eager to leave and with a quick swish of my hand bag, Ray Mancini’s bottle of red wine had been knocked over on his table. My mouth dropped and I completely panicked. Mario rushed over and picked up the open bottle. I wasn’t sure what to do, but I think Mr. Mancini sensed my absolute horror and embarrassment and he smiled. A panicked “I’m so sorry!” escaped from my lips. He smiled again and assured me that it was alright. I left the restaurant completely mortified.
Upon arrival to our home, Mario and I hopped on the internet to search for recent photos of Boom Boom to verify that it was in fact him that we saw at the restaurant, as well as do research on the fight that caused the kill. First stop was Wikipedia. I wanted to know the whole story before I saw if I was really sitting next to a murdering boxer. It turned out to be an incredibly emotional story and made me feel deep sympathy for Mancini. On November 13, 1982, Mancini was facing a South Korean challenger named Duk Koo Kim. Kim had to loose a few pounds to make the fight, and in doing so, became dehydrated. By fight time, Kim had made his weight, but was spent. The fight was filled with action, but Mancini had an easy time hitting Kim throughout the 14 rounds that the fight lasted. Kim sustained brain injuries that led to his death 5 days later. Mancini attended the funeral and fell into a deep depression. Times became harder for Mancini when people randomly approached him and asked if he was Kim’s ‘killer’. Mancini completely blamed himself for Kim’s death. Four months after Kim’s death, his mother committed suicide, as did the match’s referee, Richard Green.
After feeling like a complete jerk for thinking of this man as a murderer, we then googled his name for recent photos. To my surprise and Mario’s certainty, it was Mr. Ray “Boom Boom” Mancini himself. I knocked over a boxing champions wine and lived to tell about it!


Filed under Real Life, Sports