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  • Minor league baseball pitcher John Odom, for better or worse, was known as “Bat Man.” He received this nickname after he was traded to the Laredo Broncos in exchange for ten baseball bats.

    Unfortunately, John Odom died of an accidental alcohol and drug overdose in 2008 at the age of 26.

    About John Odom

    John C. Odom was born on January 6, 1982 in Roswell, Georgia. 

    As a teen, he played two seasons for the Tallahassee Community College baseball team. From there, he was drafted in the 44th round by the major league team, the San Francisco Giants. 

    In 2008, the Giants released Odom during spring training. From there, he signed with the Calgary Vipers of the Golden Baseball League. Unfortunately, the fact that he had a criminal conviction for aggravated assault in 1999 prohibited him from entering Canada. 

    The team then offered him to the Laredo Broncos of the United League for another Bronco player but that baseball player refused to move to Calgary. 

    The Bat Trade

    The Broncos offered $1,000 for Odom but the Vipers felt the offer made them look bad. The two teams then agreed to trade Odom for ten Prairie Sticks maple bats that were worth $665. This caused a media uproar.

    In Laredo, Texas, Odom became known as “Bat Man” or “Bat Guy.” The Batman theme song played multiple times when he took the mound. 

    On June 5 in Amarillo, Texas, he had a particularly bad game and received intense heckling from fans and even the umpire. He did much better on June 10, but it didn’t help how he felt about his new nickname, the joke, and the “fame” that came with it. 

    The minor leaguer decided to leave the team three weeks after being traded.

    Odom’s death occurred six months after the infamous trade at the age of 26.

    How Did John Odom Die?

    John Odom died on November 5, 2008, in his hometown of Roswell, Georgia. The Atlanta medical examiner ruled his death as an accidental overdose of heroin, methamphetamine, benzylpiperazine (a stimulant), and alcohol

    Odom’s family says suicide was not an issue and that the overdose occurred after a night of partying on election night. The family representative also noted that Odom “wished the bat trade had never happened, [but] he was making a new life for himself.”

    John Odom’s History Of Substance Abuse & Rehab

    Although it’s unclear if John Odom had a history of substance abuse, the account of Odom’s former Broncos manager, Dan Schwam, suggests drugs and alcohol were an issue. 

    After Odom died, Schwam said, “I really believe, knowing his background, that this [trade and the Bat Man nickname] drove him back to the bottle, that it put him on the road to drugs again.”

    It’s unclear whether John Odom ever sought out or received any form of addiction treatment, but it’s likely he had an on-again, off-again relationship with alcohol and drug abuse. 

    Recovery Is Possible

    Although John Odom was the brunt of a bad joke, he likely had very real issues with mental health and substance abuse. And, while it seems Odom never received the professional care he probably needed, recovery is possible.

    To learn how we make addiction recovery possible for both individuals and families, please contact Ark Behavioral Health today.

    Written by Ark Behavioral Health Editorial Team
    ©2024 Ark National Holdings, LLC. | All Rights Reserved.
    This page does not provide medical advice.
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    Medically Reviewed by
    Manish Mishra, MBBS
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