This article was written by Greg Erion
When you review how professional baseball integrated, it is easy to begin and end with the story of Jackie Robinson’s struggles. Scant attention is given the fact that African Americans faced tremendous resistance to their presence throughout the 1950s and 1960s, especially in the Deep South. One such player who experienced this was Blue Moon Odom. Often remembered solely for his colorful nickname, this stalwart pitcher for the Oakland A’s played his first year of professional baseball on a minor-league team that represented one of the last bastions of segregated baseball. Already under pressure to succeed because of the large bonus he received, Odom now had to pitch in an environment of great racial tensions.
Johnny Lee Odom was born on May 29, 1945, in Macon, Georgia, the son of Elish and Florine Odom. John was the youngest child in the family, two sisters and a brother preceding him. His father, a laborer, died when John was 5, the victim of lung cancer. Florine became the breadwinner in the family. She cleaned, washed, cooked, and did whatever else her employer, a family in Macon’s upper class, asked of her.[fn]Larry Colton, Southern League: A True Story of Baseball, Civil Rights, and the Deep South’s Most Compelling Pennant Race, (New York: Grand Central Publishing, 2013), 17.[/fn]
It might be thought that “Blue Moon” was a nickname contrived by A’s owner Charlie Finley. After all, he had tried to persuade Vida Blue to change his name to True Blue, but Odom’s nickname came earlier.[fn]Finley’s effort to change Blue’s name is described in G. Michael Green and Roger D. Launius, Charlie Finley: The Outrageous Story of Baseball’s Super Showman (New York: Walker & Company, 2010), 149.[/fn] As Odom related it, “I received my nickname in the fifth grade in Macon, Georgia. A classmate of mine named Joe Morris started calling me ‘Moon Head’ and a few days later, he started calling me ‘Blue Moon.’ He said he could not call me ‘Yellow Moon’ because of my complexion; and Black Moon would not sound right. So he decided to call me ‘Blue Moon.’ I used to hate that name but now I love it.”[fn]Samuel J. Skinner, Jr. “On the Way Back,” Black Sports, June/July 1972. From Odom’s file at the Baseball Hall of Fame.[/fn]
Odom had two ambitions: to become a professional singer or a baseball player. Life as a singer seemed tangible; Otis Redding and Little Richard had preceded Odom from Ballard-Hudson High to successful careers in the entertainment industry.[fn]Colton, 20.[/fn] This option dissolved when Odom’s voice changed.[fn]“Voice Changed, Robbed Moon of Singing Career,” undated, unidentified publication in Odom’s Hall of Fame file.[/fn] That left sports, and he excelled in them all. By the time he graduated from high school in 1964, he had lettered in baseball, basketball, football, and track. He had gained a reputation as the best high-school pitcher in Georgia, compiling a 42-2 record including eight no-hitters.[fn]Colton, 117. The only two games Odom lost were on passed balls by his catcher.[/fn] He had a wicked fastball and serviceable curve. His fastball was even more effective because of its movement, “a sinking fastball.” Along with his natural ability was an intense competitiveness. Winning was everything and Odom pushed himself to the nth degree, as sports was one of few ways a black man in Georgia could succeed.
Jack Sanford, a former major leaguer with the Washington Senators and now a regional scout for the Kansas City A’s, was fully aware that several teams were following Odom. Knowing competition for Odom’s services would be keen once he graduated from high school, Sanford contacted Finley and alerted him to Odom’s potential. Finley directed Haywood Sullivan, manager of the Birmingham Barons (an A’s farm team), to watch Odom pitch. Sullivan, with Sanford, happened to pick a day when Odom threw one of his eight no-hitters.[fn]Colton, 117.[/fn] With that, Finley decided to meet Odom.
Charles O. Finley, who had built a thriving insurance business based in large part on an overpoweringly persuasive personality, put it to work in pursuing Odom. He flew to Macon, the only team owner to do so in pursuit of Odom. As recounted in Charlie O., he waited his turn on the appointed day among the scouts to make his pitch.[fn]Herbert Michelson, Charlie O., Charles Oscar Finley vs. the Baseball Establishment (New York: Bobbs-Merrill Company Inc., 1975) ,153.[/fn] Finley arranged for a truck to deliver food to the Odom family. He met and charmed Florine, at one point going into her kitchen to help cook. That, and Odom’s opportunity to deal directly with Finley rather than with intermediaries, contributed toward his selecting the A’s. Odom received a $75,000 bonus, the largest given up to then to a black athlete.[fn]Colton, 1.[/fn] He would report to the Barons, the A’s team in the Double-A Southern League.
Today that might seem an innocuous assignment, but in 1964 it was of major significance. While Robinson broke the color barrier in 1947, baseball did not fully integrate until 1959. Robinson’s trials were daunting, but perhaps not as severe as they could have been because most of his games were in Northern surroundings and not in the Deep South. The minors, especially in the South, generated tremendous resistance to integrating the game. In 1953 the Cotton States League actually took action to bar two brothers, James and Leander Tugerson, from playing.[fn]“Hot Springs Options Negro Pair to End Cotton States Controversy,” The Sporting News, April 29, 1953, 28. Numerous other articles in The Sporting News that year covered the legal machinations concerning the Tugersons.[/fn] Numerous African-Americans who played in the 1950s and 1960s attested to how difficult it was for them to play when their presence was not welcomed, assigned to teams in the region out of ignorance as to what they had to endure. Only in 1961 did Major League Baseball force all minor-league teams to integrate.[fn]Colton, 75.[/fn]
Odom was going to play in a city at the epicenter of the civil rights movement. A year earlier, in May 1963, events at Birmingham proved pivotal in the effort to eliminate discriminatory actions. The nation was first stunned, then enraged, by a confrontation between blacks and the Birmingham police, which escalated when high‑pressure fire hoses and police dogs were used. Later that year, the 16th Street Baptist Church was bombed, and four girls were killed; the Ku Klux Klan was implicated in the incident. This was where Odom would start his professional career.
Larry Colton’s Southern League begins with Odom being pulled over by a Birmingham policeman who, only after realizing who he was, decided to let him go without giving him a ticket for a nonexistent traffic violation. Yet he gave a warning, “This is Birmingham, Alabama. It’s real important you stay in the ‘N——-’ part of town.”[fn]Colton, 4.[/fn]
That the Barons even fielded a team was an offshoot of several factors, the civil rights movement and Police Chief Bull Connor, a noted racist, being two of them.[fn]Colton, 75-84.[/fn] Another factor, a positive, one was team owner Albert Belcher, a baseball-loving local businessman who decided Birmingham’s image needed to be something other than obstinacy on civil rights that had severely tarnished its image.
Odom joined the team with a great deal of hype, mostly of Finley’s making. The team, with a tenuous hold on first place, saw Odom as a distraction. The pressure to do well was high, a natural expectancy born out of his huge signing bonus. Odom was joining good company, as the Barons had a lot of talent: 12 members of the team would play in the majors at one time or another. The star of the team was Campy Campaneris, who in his third year of play had already established himself as a basestealing expert.
Odom did not do well initially. In his first game, he struck out seven in 5⅓ innings but gave up seven hits and seven walks.[fn]Colton 168-170.[/fn]Over the next several weeks, there were few bright spots in his performance. The patient A’s avoided the temptation to over-coach him. All could see he had a great arm, but his experience in the art of pitching was limited. There was more to the game than blowing a fastball past a hitter.
Several weeks after Odom’s debut, Kansas City sent Bill Posedel, a former major-league pitcher and the A’s minor-league pitching instructor, to Birmingham to work with Odom. Posedel saw raw talent, an intense desire to succeed, and a willingness to learn. He started with basics, teaching Odom how to field his position and how to hold a runner on first.[fn]Colton 214-215.[/fn] At first Odom did not progress after Posedel’s visit — too many walks. However, on the verge of being sent down to Lewiston in the Class A Northwest League, he began to improve.
This all played out in an environment rife with racial tension. The Civil Rights Act was working its way through Congress, creating tremendous backlash in the South. Only 150 miles from Birmingham, near Philadelphia, Mississippi, three civil-rights workers disappeared; their bodies were discovered in an earthen dam 44 days later. That was the time when Odom made his professional debut.
Race was never far from the consciousness of the Barons. Blacks had to stay in “their” part of town. They were forbidden to use restrooms in various establishments and often refused service at restaurants. At one such restaurant, as the players began to take seats, the owner announced, “I’m sorry. The colored boys will have to eat out back.” Odom told his teammates, who were seated, “Anyone who don’t get back on the bus right now gonna have a problem with me.” Within a few minutes, the team bus was back on the road.[fn]Colton 236-237[/fn]
After Odom’s poor start, he reeled off five straight wins. Finley, anxious to show Odom off in the big leagues, called him up. For Birmingham, he ended 6-5 with a 4.14 ERA in 16 starts. His first start with the Athletics would be against the New York Yankees on September 5, 1964, in Kansas City. The Yankees were in a tight pennant race with the Baltimore Orioles and Chicago White Sox. The A’s were in last place.
A crowd of 18,759 came to see the debut of Georgia’s pitching phenom. Anyone late to the game missed Odom’s efforts. After Tony Kubek singled and Bobby Richardson walked in the first inning, Odom got Roger Maris to hit into a force play. Odom now faced Mickey Mantle, who was enjoying his last solid season. After Odom threw a wild pitch, Mantle hit his 30th home run of the season. It didn’t get any better in the second as three more Yankee runs scored before manager Mel McGaha took Odom out of the game. It was not an auspicious debut.
Despite his drubbing, Odom was on the mound six days later facing the Orioles, who were clinging to first place. Facing the likes of Boog Powell and Brooks Robinson, Odom threw a two-hit shutout and posted his first major-league victory, 8-0. That victory, over one of the American League’s best teams, offered the hope of things to come; Odom started three more games and was hit hard in each one. He ended the season 1-2 with a 10.06 ERA. Whether his victory over Orioles was an anomaly remained to be seen.
It was obvious Odom needed more seasoning. He was assigned to Lewiston for the 1965 season. During the offseason, he married Perrie Washington, whom he had met while in high school. They later had a son.[fn]Colton, 297.[/fn]
At Lewiston, Odom came under the tutelage of Posedel, who began the season as manager of the Broncs. His performance was mediocre, 11-14 with a 4.27 ERA, with too many hits and walks to be effective as a pitcher. Called up at the end of the season, he pitched one inning of relief against the Washington Senators. In 1966 he was back in the Southern League, this time with the Mobile A’s under John McNamara. He improved; for the first time he gave up fewer hits than innings pitched and sharply decreased his walks allowed.
Called up to Kansas City at the end of July, Odom made 14 starts and threw four complete games, two of which were shutouts in a ten-day span against the Cleveland Indians. He recorded a 5-5 record to go with a sparkling 2.47 ERA. Odom regressed in 1967, though, posting a 3-8 record and a 5.04 ERA with no complete games in 17 starts. The A’s, sent him down to the minors to straighten himself out. Once again Odom hooked up with Posedel, this time working on his windup and delivery motion. Posedel’s efforts must have helped straighten Odom out. While his demotion to the minors proved to be a blessing in disguise, he did not forget that A’s manager Alvin Dark had sent him down. When Dark moved on to manage the Indians the next season, Odom pitched against them with a bit of an edge, beating them five times over the next two seasons, four on shutouts.
Odom blossomed in 1968. Inserted into the Oakland A’s rotation (they had moved from Kansas City after the 1967 season), he led the team in victories with 16 and posted a 2.45 ERA, ninth in the league. Included in his victories was a one-hitter against Baltimore on June 7. He was picked for the All-Star Game and threw two innings of scoreless ball in a 1-0 win for the National League, the eight hits between both teams epitomizing how pitching dominated the game in the late 1960s.
Like most pitchers, Odom enjoyed hitting. On June 12, while fashioning a shutout over Cleveland — again — Odom hit his first major-league home run. During his career, he hit 12 home runs, including five in 1969.[fn]Once Odom was helping a charity effort at spring training in Scottsdale, Arizona, signing autographs. When asked by the author to choose from among several pictures to sign, without hesitation he chose one of him sliding into third with a triple, rather than the several others showing him on the mound.[/fn] He was also an accomplished baserunner and appeared as a pinch-runner in 105 games during his career, scoring 31 runs in that role.
Long a doormat in the American League, the A’s began showing signs of improvement. Catfish Hunter, signed within a week of Odom, was beginning to show the form that would mark him a Hall of Fame pitcher. Chuck Dobson and Rollie Fingers also provided solid pitching. Sal Bando, Reggie Jackson, Joe Rudi, and Odom’s teammate from the Barons, Campy Campaneris, generated solid defense and offensive efforts. In 1968, their first year in Oakland, the A’s ended at 82-80. Not since 1952 had they finished above .500.
The A’s further improved in 1969, finishing second to the Minnesota Twins in the American League West with an 88-74 record. Odom shined, tying with Dobson for the team lead with 15 wins, finishing 15-6 with a 2.92 ERA. He was also picked for the All-Star team again although he was roughed up in the one inning he worked, giving up five runs, four earned in one-third of an inning. The chief blow was a two-run homer by Willie McCovey, the first of two McCovey hit that day.
Odom’s success derived from his sinking fastball. While there was talk in the league that the pitch might be a spitter, most observers of Odom’s game felt he had a “heavy” fastball that just dropped coming to the plate. “I don’t know where it’s going,” Odom said. “It’s kind of hard for me to be a control pitcher because my ball moves so much. Some games it just moves a lot. Other times it doesn’t move as much. It takes me about the first or second inning to see how it’s going. I’ll either have a good sinker or I have to pitch to spots.”[fn]Ron Bergman, “Blue Moon Mystery — Fast Ball That Sinks,” May 31 ,1969, unidentified publication in Odom’s Hall of Fame file.[/fn]
The 1970 season was almost identical to 1969; the A’s improved their record by one game, as did the Twins, Oakland again coming in second. Odom had an offyear, however, finishing 9-8 with a 3.80 ERA. His elbow gave him problems and he missed six weeks, pitching only 156 innings after having thrown 230-plus the previous two years. After the season he had a bone chip removed from his elbow at the Mayo Clinic.[fn]Ron Bergman, “New Moon…,” July 3, 1971 (full title of article not available), unidentified publication in Odom’s Hall of Fame file.[/fn]
In 1971 Oakland won 101 games to finish 16 games ahead of the Kansas City Royals before they lost the league championship in three straight games. Vida Blue and Hunter combined to win 45 games and were backed by Dobson’s 15 wins and Diego Segui’s 10. Odom, whose recovery from surgery prevented him from pitching until mid-May, posted a mediocre 10-12 record. His arm was giving him enough problems that he stopped pitching in late September, thus missing the championship series against Baltimore, in which the A’s were swept three straight. He underwent physical therapy at the Mayo Clinic to rebuild strength in his arm, his dipping fastball having deserted him.[fn]Skinner, “On The Way Back,” Odom’s Hall of Fame file.[/fn]
The A’s had turned into a juggernaut team that won three straight World Series from 1972 through 1974. While Odom contributed to this run, and to the drama that constantly surrounded the team, he was lucky to be part of the effort — an encounter with three thieves nearly ended his career, and life.
On the afternoon of January 6, 1972, Odom’s wife, Perrie, noticed several youths breaking into a house near their offseason home in Macon. She called the police and Odom, who was working as a clerk in a nearby liquor store during the offseason. The fleeing youths ran past the store. Odom gave chase. One turned and shot at him, hitting him once in the neck and side, dropping him to the sidewalk. Perrie, who had followed their escape, came on the scene and — seeing her husband wounded — put him into the car and drove straight to the hospital. Odom was lucky; neither wound was life-threatening and three days later he was released from the hospital. Soon thereafter, the three young men were arrested; Odom identified them at their trial. They were convicted on several charges.[fn]Ron Bergman, “Shots Fail to Alter Odom’s Comeback Plans,” January 1972, unidentified publication in Odom’s Hall of Fame file; Colton, 296. Several descriptions of the incident in articles and books describe the incident, with varied versions of what took place.[/fn] By the time spring training began, Odom had fully recovered.
Odom had the best season of his career in 1972, fashioning a 15-6 record and a 2.50 ERA, ninth in the league. He joined Ken Holtzman and Hunter to give Oakland a solid trio of pitchers, leading to their second straight division championship. The A’s bested Detroit in five games in the ALCS. Odom led the way with a three-hit shutout in Game Two and five innings of effective pitching in Game Five, giving up an unearned run before Blue came in to shut out Detroit to save Odom’s 2-1 victory. Odom’s line for the championship series read 14 innings, one unearned run, five hits, and only two walks.
During the A’s championship years, the team always seemed to be embroiled in controversy. Perhaps it was the mix of talent, perhaps it was dealing with Charlie Finley’s constant machinations; whatever it was, nothing seemed to go smoothly. Barely had the A’s beaten Detroit when Odom and Vida Blue got into an argument. Blue, who disappointed that season, finishing with a 6-10 record, had been demoted to the bullpen. He began to kid Odom about having had to save his win. The kidding turned serious, quickly escalated into a shouting match, and almost got physical.[fn]“Athletics Blue Not Happy,” The Phoenix, October 14, 1972 ,13.[/fn]
The A’s faced Cincinnati in a hard-fought World Series that went to seven games. Odom started two games and although he gave up only two runs in 11-plus innings, one of the runs was in a 1-0 loss in Game Three. He appeared in two games as a pinchrunner. His speed was not enough when he ran for Gene Tenace in Game Five. With the A’s down 5-4 in the ninth, Odom tried to score from third on a popup to Joe Morgan — a make-or-break play. Morgan nailed Odom on a close play at the plate to end the game. The play was close, and Odom got into an intense argument with umpires Bob Engel and Jim Honochick. He bumped Engel and was fined $500 for misconduct.[fn]“Odom of A’s Fined $500 For Misconduct In Series,” November 17, 1973, unidentified publication in Odom’s Hall of Fame file.[/fn]
Two days later Odom started Game Seven, pitching into the fifth nursing a 1-0 lead. When he tired, Hunter relieved him with runners on second and third. Hunter gave up the tying run, but Oakland broke the tie in the sixth inning with two runs that held up for a 3-2 victory and the world championship. Odom had topped off a fine season with an even better postseason. His share of World Series earnings came to $20,705.01.[fn]1981 Baseball Guide (St. Louis: The Sporting News), 281.[/fn] He had reached the height of his career at the age of 27.
Oakland started slowly in 1973. By late May, although slightly over .500 at 23-21, they were languishing near the bottom of their division. On May 28 the Tigers knocked Odom out of the game in the fifth inning and won, 4-3, Odom having given up all four runs. At this point, he was 1-8 with a 6.75 ERA. Manager Dick Williams took him out of the rotation. “He’s been getting behind a lot of hitters. He walks quite a few,” Williams said. “I’m concerned enough that we’re going to put him in the bullpen.”[fn]“Wild Blue Moon Banished to Bullpen,” May 29, 1973, unidentified publication in Odom’s Hall of Fame File.[/fn] Although Odom got back into the starting rotation, going 4-4 the rest of the way and somewhat regaining his control, the regular season disappointed as he finished 5-12 with a 4.49 ERA. In six relief appearances and 18-plus innings, he did not give up any runs. His performance out of the bullpen must have registered with the A’s as he exclusively relieved against Baltimore during the Championship Series and against the New York Mets in the World Series. Odom gave up three runs in nine-plus innings in three World Series games. The A’s beat New York in seven games, earning their second straight World Series and Odom earning over $24,000 for his postseason efforts.
In 1974 Odom again got off to a slow start. This time his old nemesis, manager Al Dark, who replaced Williams, did not wait long to take Odom out of the rotation and put him in the bullpen. Odom made five starts and 29 relief appearances for the year, going 1-5 with just one complete game. The A’s beat Baltimore in the ALCS once again and went after their third straight World Series title.
But not before Odom got into another fight, this time with teammate Fingers on the eve of the opening World Series game against the Los Angeles Dodgers. The altercation made coast-to-coast headlines. Fingers was having marital difficulties, spawning ribbing from several teammates. Odom pushed Fingers too far and the two went at it, Fingers ending up needing several stitches in the back of his head. The A’s took it in stride. As Coach Bobby Winkles said, “Just a normal day.”[fn]“Fingers vs. Odom Latest Fighting A’s bout,” October 27, 1973, unidentified publication in Odom’s Hall of Fame File. Fingers and Odom had engaged in a shouting match the year before, when Odom was defending, of all teammates, his former antagonist, Vida Blue. “A’s Snap at Each Team Up to Hoist,” Hall of Fame file. [/fn]
The incident had little effect on either player; Fingers recorded two saves and a win and Odom won Game Five. The Series was a close one; one run settled four of the five games. Odom had pitched one scoreless inning through the first four games and got a crucial out in Game Seven.
The score was tied 2-2 in the top of the seventh when Blue gave up a two-out walk to Steve Yeager. He was on the verge of walking pitcher Mike Marshall when Dark called for Odom. Odom completed the walk and got Davey Lopes to ground out, ending the threat. Joe Rudi led off the bottom of the inning with a home run and Fingers came in to hold the lead, giving Odom the victory and Oakland its third straight world championship.
Despite their success, the A’s had peaked. Hunter was embroiled in a dispute with Finley that resulted in his being declared a free agent. He signed with the Yankees for 1975, the first of the core A’s to leave Oakland. Dick Green, the A’s second baseman, was released before the 1975 season began. The next to go was Odom. Off to another poor start, he was 0-2 with a 12.27E RA when he was traded to the Indians for Dick Bosman and Jim Perry — three dominating pitchers in their time, each at the end of his career. Less than a month later, Odom went to the Atlanta Braves after pitching only three games for Cleveland, one of which was a two-hit shutout over the Royals. It was the last of Odom’s 15 career shutouts and his last complete game. With Atlanta, Odom proved as ineffective as he had been in his beginning for the A’s. He pitched in 15 games — ten starts, no complete games, a 1-7 record, and a 7.07 ERA. This was enough for Atlanta to assign Odom to Triple-A Richmond.
Odom was 4-3 as a starter with Richmond before being traded to the Chicago White Sox in June. Chicago sent him to the Triple-A Iowa Oaks, where he won his three starts before being recalled in July. With Chicago, he pitched in eight games and was ineffective in all but one. However, that one game produced baseball history. Ironically, it was against the A’s.
Starting against Oakland on July 28 at the Coliseum, Odom held the A’s hitless through the first five innings. He also walked eight batters. When he walked Billy Williams to lead off the sixth, manager Paul Richards had enough. He brought in Francisco Barrios to relieve. Barrios pitched the last four innings, walking just two — and not giving up any hits. A combined no hitter. After having come close to pitching one several times, Odom finally achieved it, even if partially. In the clubhouse he watched Barrios on TV. “I couldn’t take it, man. I was here pacing. Wow. This was like the World Series. Really exciting. This is the greatest experience I’ve ever had. It tops them all.” A’s manager Chuck Tanner was incredulous: 11 walks and a nohitter. “It was not your typical no-hitter, that’s for sure,” he said.[fn]“1976 Sox no-hitter no walk in park,” Unidentified publication in Odom’s Hall of Fame file.[/fn] It was the last of Odom’s 84 majorleague wins. Attendance was 3,367, less than half of the number who had watched him pitch his first professional game in Macon 12 years earlier.[fn]Colton, 296-297.[/fn]
Odom’s next start also came against Oakland. This time he was ineffective, removed after giving up four runs in less than three innings. He made his last majorleague appearance on August 17 against Boston and gave up six runs before leaving in the fourth. The loss made his major-league record 84-85. Chicago did not use Odom the rest of the year and he was released the following January. He hooked on with the A’s farm club in San Jose for the 1977 season, then moved on to the Mexican League, where he played in 1977-78 for the Mexico City Tigres and Tabasco Plataneros before retiring.
Odom’s professional career had been marked with colorful incidents, and life after baseball generated more of the same. Now divorced from Perrie, he remarried and appeared to have adjusted to a nonbaseball life, obtaining a job with Xerox in Southern California as a computer maintenance operator, never missing a day of work for six years. All went well until 1985, when Odom was arrested for selling cocaine to a co-worker. He lost his job and while waiting for his day in court, he became depressed. With financial strains mounting, he began to drink.
In December 1985 Odom threatened his wife with a shotgun. The police were called and after a tense scene with a SWAT team, he released her. Several hours later, with negotiations at a standstill, police discharged tear-gas into his apartment. Odom surrendered. He spent several weeks in an alcohol rehabilitation program. Later, he served 55 days in jail on two counts of selling cocaine. These incidents proved to be lifechanging. Looking back years later, Odom reflected, “What happened in the past probably happened for the best. It made a better man out of me.” He gave up drinking and smoking, dealing with what in part created a crisis in his life.[fn]Ron Kroichick, “Blue Moon’ Risen, San Francisco Chronicle, October 14, 2001, from Odom’s Hall of Fame file; Colton 297.[/fn]
Odom eventually went back to work, painting houses for a living, doing business as Blue Moon Odom’s Paint Service. He divorced and remarried, then retired to live on his major-league pension. As of 2014 he lived with his third wife, Maureen, in Fountain Valley, California, and enjoyed participating in baseball-related golf tournaments and autograph-signing sessions. After retirement, accounts of Odom reflected a man who was at peace with himself, or as writer Larry Colton put it in Southern League, one whose “pleasing and pleasant personality” came back.[fn]Colton, 297.[/fn]
Last revised: July 1, 2015
This article originally appeared in “Mustaches and Mayhem: Charlie O’s Three Time Champions: The Oakland Athletics: 1972-74″ (SABR, 2015), edited by Chip Greene.