The Bullpen Gospels



From the humble heights of a Class-A pitcher's mound to the deflating lows of sleeping on his gun-toting grandmother's air mattress, veteran reliever Dirk Hayhurst steps out of the bullpen to deliver the best pitch of his career--a raw, unflinching and surprisingly moving account of his life in the minors.

"I enjoyed the visualizations, maybe a little too much, and would stop only when I felt I'd centered myself...or after one of my teammates hit me in the nuts with the rosin bag while my eyes were closed."

Hilariously self-effacing and brutally honest, Hayhurst captures the absurdities, the grim realities, and the occasional nuggets of hard-won wisdom culled from four seasons in the minors. Whether training tarantulas to protect his room from thieving employees in a backwater hotel, watching the raging battles fought between his partially paralyzed father and his alcoholic brother, or absorbing the gentle mockery of some not-quite-starstruck schoolchildren, Dirk reveals a side of baseball, and life, rarely seen on ESPN.

"My career has crash-landed on the floor of my grandma's old sewing room. If this is a dream come true, then dreams smell a lot like mothballs and Bengay."

Somewhere between Bull Durham and The Rookie, The Bullpen Gospels takes an unforgettable trot around the inglorious base paths of minor league baseball, where an inch separates a ball from a strike, and a razor-thin margin can be the difference between The Show or a long trip home

Read Sample Chapters

Out Of My League


Out of My League Paperback Cover 200x300

"Once the baseball leaves your hand, the rest is out of your control. I knew what would happen this year about as well as a gambler knew what would happen before he let the dice go. The trouble was, this year, I had the biggest bets of my life on the table, and I couldn’t afford to lose…"

After six years of laying it on the line in the minors, pitcher Dirk Hayhurst hopes 2008 is the year he will break into the big leagues. But every time Dirk looks up, the bases are loaded with new challenges, on and off the field: a wedding balancing on a blind hope, a family in chaos, and paychecks that beg Dirk to ask, “How long can I afford to keep doing this?”

Then it finally happens—Dirk gets called up to the Majors, to play for the San Diego Padres. A dream comes true when he takes the mound against the San Francisco Giants, kicking off forty insane days and nights in the Bigs—with a big paycheck, bigger-than-life personalities, and the biggest pressure he’s ever felt.

Like the classic games of baseball’s illustrious history, Out of My League entertains from the first pitch to the last out, capturing the gritty realities of playing on the big stage, the comedy and camaraderie in the dugouts and locker rooms, and the hard-fought, personal journeys that drive our love of America’s favorite pastime.

Read Sample Chapters

Bigger Than The Game

200:300 BTTG

Old demons together with new enemies and a season ending— possibly career ending— injury look to knock Hayhurst out of baseball forever.

Isolated from his family, broken, and branded a traitor by his teammates for writing inside the locker room, Hayhurst finds himself at a crossroads: should he continue down the spiral of depression and prescription drug abuse he's falling into, or seek psychological help at the risk of being labeled a "head case" by an industry biased against that which it cannot quantify?

Or maybe Hayhurst just needs to show them all how much fun being a head case can be? In a crazy world of injured athletes, autograph-seeking nuns, angry wrestlers, and trainers with a taste for torture, Hayhurst learned lessons about the game—and himself—that were not in any rulebook.

Like all of Hayhurst's writing on baseball, Bigger Than The Game tells a story about what lies beneath the often gilded uniform of the professional player in the honest, often hilarious, and self effacing way Hayhurst has become so renown for—even while exploring often shunned topics like the rampancy of prescription drug abuse among major league athletes, the stigma of depression among athletes, and the damning consequences of violating the codes of the locker room.

Bigger Than The Game is Hayhurst most compelling book to date and is a must read for those who truly wish to know what their favorite player goes through when they break.

Read Sample Chapters

Wild Pitches




Wild Pitches is an Ebook only companion to Out Of My League that expands and lengthens the original story by featuring cut chapters, new stories, pictures, author commentary, and a foreword by Keith Olbermann. The Ebook also features over 100 pages of never before seen journal entries from Dirk's personal journal.

Wild Pitches tips the scales at over 200 pages and is sure to deliver more of what made both Out Of My League and The Bullpen Gospels so enjoyable. More player hijinks (complete with picture evidence) more dramatic encounters, and more behind the scenes looks at life in America's greatest pastime.

Now available wherever fine Ebooks are sold.

 Read Sample Chapters

Praise for Hayhurst's Work

"Once again, Dirk Hayhurst brings readers into a world they rarely see: the hardscrabble world of minor-league baseball. It is a world full of political drama, financial stress and daily heartache. These are players you rarely hear about, players who rarely become rich or famous. Most, in fact, face the same kinds of struggles as the rest of us.”

—Ken Rosenthal, Fox Sports.

“Hayhurst isn’t afraid to tell it like it is. He has a genuine gift for telling the stories of his life in such a way that they reveal profound truths. I find his writing both entertaining and thought provoking… unlike his fastball.”

—Ben Zobrist, Tampa Bay Rays All-Star

“If they ever open a Players/Authors Hall of Fame next to the larger one in Cooperstown, Dirk Hayhurst will be a first ballot electee.  Out of My League contains enough laughs and terrors to keep any baseball fan – or just any person – riveted. A fun read.”

—Keith Olbermann, MLB Blogs

“Extraordinary experiences, plenty of ‘dirty laundry’ . . .  Hayhurst creates forward momentum and we want him to succeed.”

—Kirkus Reviews

“Honest, insightful, fascinating . . . Hayhurst does a great job of letting us see the inside of baseball’s most elite level through his eyes.”

—The Score.CA

“Hayhurst has done it again. I was blown away by every page, every chapter, every twist, every turn. I kept thinking that if I could only pitch as well as Dirk can write, I might have more Cy Youngs than Greg Maddux.”

—Jayson Stark, ESPN

"A must read"

—David Price, Tampa Bay Rays, Cy Young Winner.

"After many minutes, hours, days, weeks, months and years spent in the bullpen, I can verify that this is a true picture of baseball.”

—Tim McCarver

“One of the funniest baseball books since Jim Bouton reinvented the player diary by being honest in Ball Four…Hayhurst does a wonderful job of capturing the contradictory essence of life in the minors, of apprentice heroes struggling on a burrito budget, thrown together and whirled apart by an impersonal business that eats its young..”

—Jeff Nueman, Clear Channel Sports

“Bull Durham meets Ball Four in Dirk Hayhurst’s hilarious and moving account of life in baseball’s glamor-free bush leagues.”  

—Rob Neyer, SB Nation

“Everyone he describes you can say I played with someone just like that.Any pro baseball player can relate to his stories, but for anyone who enjoys baseball, it’s a good read too.”  

—Daniel Bard, Pitcher for the Boston Red Sox

“This is the long-awaited, much-needed minor-league equivalent of Ball Four. It’s eloquent. It’s insightful. It’s poignant. It’s hilarious. Sometimes all in the same paragraph. I loved it. All of it.”  

—Jayson Stark, ESPN.com

“After THE BULLPEN GOSPELS, people will know exactly who Hayhurst is and they should see ballplayers as more than just numbers on the backs of jerseys. Much like Hayhurst and others who spend careers fighting labels, it is too simple to call this a baseball book. It is so much more. It is a book about life, with baseball as the backdrop….Hayhurst has written a big-time book. That much is clear.”  

—Jordan Bastian, MLB.com

“A highly compelling and great read…Hayhurst takes you on bus rides, in the clubhouse, and, of course, in the bullpen with in-depth descriptions and terrifically written passages.”

—Ian Browne, MLB.com.

“Dirk Hayhurst has written a fascinating, funny and honest account on life in the minor leagues. I loved it. Writers can’t play baseball, but in this case, a player sure can write.”

—Tim Kurkjian, Senior Writer, ESPN The Magazine, analyst/reporter ESPN television

Bullpen Gospels is a rollicking good bus ride of a book.Hayhurst illuminates a baseball life not only with wit and humor, but also with thought-provoking introspection.

—Tom Verducci, Sports Illustrated.

“Baseball is a game governed by countless rules, none bigger than this one: Don’t over think it. Dirk Hayhurst takes us down the rabbit hole that is his mind, to a place where that rule is constantly violated, every decision, every move, every breath over thought. In the process, he provides a brutally honest take on life in the majors–the oversized ballparks, hotel rooms, and personalities, but also the self-doubt, loneliness, and despair. I laughed, I cried, I even learned how to doctor a baseball.”

—Jonah Keri, Author of The Extra 2%

“One is torn about wanting Hayhurst’s baseball career to continue versus his writing career. It would be great to have both.”

—Joe Gross, Austin American Statesman

"…The Bullpen Gospels is a damn good book, and in it Hayhurst acts as a unique prism (a literate ballplayer!?!?) through which the inglorious life of minor league ball is reflected. It’s a thoughtful, funny, touching memoir … The Bullpen Gospels is an enjoyable, interesting read that will give you a new kind of appreciation for the many, many under-appreciated who make the game we love what it is. Yet at the same time, it will have you questioning the deification of the uniform—which, after all, is worn by men just like you and I (uh… unless you’re a woman)—and consistently laughing along the way .

 —Drunk Jays Fans.com

“Brutally candid, funny and heartbreaking, yet surprisingly inspiring…For me, the best part of THE BULLPEN GOSPELS is the frankness with which Hayhurst assesses himself and his baseball career…It’s a look at baseball with all the machismo and glitter wiped away…When I got done reading it, I loved the game more than I had before.”  

—Patrick Saunders, The Denver Post

“What Hayhurst has done with this book, which is filled with humor, honesty and self-doubt, is write the best baseball autobiography since Jim Bouton’s Ball Four. Hayhurst has written a book that is about more than baseball. It’s about life, the lessons we learn from our family, both good and bad, and the struggle of a non-mega star to make it in a game that has far more heartbreaks than successes.”

— Houston Mitchell, The Los Angeles Times

“What Hayhurst does, more than anything else, is remind us about just what it is we like about baseball and sports. It’s not Carlos Lee walking around the bases after a home run. No, it’s seeing the joy on the faces of guys like Hayhurst when they make that perfect pitch, a pitch they didn’t think was possible.”

—John Royal, The Houston Press

“If Holden Caulfield could dial up his fastball to 90 mph, he might have written this funny, touching memoir about a ballplayer at a career — and life — crossroads. Might have called it “Pitcher in the Rye.” Instead, he left it to Dirk Hayhurst, the only writer in the business who can make you laugh, make you cry and strike out Ryan Howard.”

 —King Kaufman, Bleacher Report

“Hayhurst has a message to deliver about the things that matter in life—and those that don’t. And he offers sage observations about the nature of celebrity and ambition, forgiveness and family.”

—The Wall Street Journal

“Get your hands on THE BULLPEN GOSPELS…In a culture in which self-reflection usually is all about physique rather than psyche, and uber-masculine behavior is the norm,Hayhurst not only fearlessly exposes his sensitive side but lives to tell about it.”  

—Michael Silverman, The Boston Herald

“Brutally candid, funny and heartbreaking, yet surprisingly inspiring…For me, the best part of THE BULLPEN GOSPELS is the frankness with which Hayhurst assesses himself and his baseball career…It’s a look at baseball with all the machismo and glitter wiped away…When I got done reading it, I loved the game more than I had before.”  

—Patrick Saunders, The Denver Post

“What Hayhurst has done with this book, which is filled with humor, honesty and self-doubt, is write the best baseball autobiography since Jim Bouton’s Ball Four. Hayhurst has written a book that is about more than baseball. It’s about life, the lessons we learn from our family, both good and bad, and the struggle of a non-mega star to make it in a game that has far more heartbreaks than successes.”

— Houston Mitchell, The Los Angeles Times

“What Hayhurst does, more than anything else, is remind us about just what it is we like about baseball and sports. It’s not Carlos Lee walking around the bases after a home run. No, it’s seeing the joy on the faces of guys like Hayhurst when they make that perfect pitch, a pitch they didn’t think was possible.”

—John Royal, The Houston Press

“If Holden Caulfield could dial up his fastball to 90 mph, he might have written this funny, touching memoir about a ballplayer at a career — and life — crossroads. Might have called it “Pitcher in the Rye.” Instead, he left it to Dirk Hayhurst, the only writer in the business who can make you laugh, make you cry and strike out Ryan Howard.”

 —King Kaufman, Bleacher Report

“Hayhurst has a message to deliver about the things that matter in life—and those that don’t. And he offers sage observations about the nature of celebrity and ambition, forgiveness and family.”

—The Wall Street Journal

“Get your hands on THE BULLPEN GOSPELS…In a culture in which self-reflection usually is all about physique rather than psyche, and uber-masculine behavior is the norm,Hayhurst not only fearlessly exposes his sensitive side but lives to tell about it.”  

—Michael Silverman, The Boston Herald

“Hayhurst keeps the pace brisk and deftly mixes in bawdy clubhouse episodes with deeper reflections on the journey no one thought he’d make—the journey to the big leagues… As an author, he’s certainly a prospect.”

—John Manuel, Baseball America

“Hayhurst has written a book that’s a treat for anyone who loves baseball — or loves to read, for that matter.”

—Tyler Kepner, The New York Times

“Hayhurst has a good story to tell, indeed an American classic. It feels true, and Hayhurst knows how to keep the reader turning pages. In fact, THE BULLPEN GOSPELS may be the funniest baseball memoir since Jim Bouton’sBall Four…I hope he recovers and continues to pitch—and write. If Hayhurst can be as honest about the big leagues as he was about the minors, we’re in for a treat.”

—The New York Times Book Review

“Hayhurst does the best job I’ve ever seen of capturing the minor-league life. He pulls the curtain back on the off-the-field life, and it’s riveting – there’s a rawness to this book that I’ve never read about baseball before…Strongly, strongly recommended.”

—Peter King, Sports Illustrated

“A bit of Jim Bouton, a bit of Jim Brosnan, a bit of Pat Jordan, a bit of Crash Davis, and a whole lot of Dirk Hayhurst. Often hilarious, sometimes poignant. This is a really enjoyable baseball read.”    

—Bob Costas

“There are great truths within, of the kind usually unspoken. And as he expresses them, Dirk Hayhurst describes himself as “a real person who moonlights as a baseball player.” In much the same manner, while The Bullpen Gospels chronicles how all of us face the impact when we learn reality is both far meaner and far richer than our dreams – it also moonlights as one of the best baseball books ever written.”

—Keith Olbermann

“Hayhurst does the best job I’ve ever seen of capturing the minor-league life. He pulls the curtain back on the off-the-field life, and it’s riveting – there’s a rawness to this book that I’ve never read about baseball before…Strongly, strongly recommended.”

—Peter King, Sports Illustrated

“A bit of Jim Bouton, a bit of Jim Brosnan, a bit of Pat Jordan, a bit of Crash Davis, and a whole lot of Dirk Hayhurst. Often hilarious, sometimes poignant. This is a really enjoyable baseball read.”    

—Bob Costas

“There are great truths within, of the kind usually unspoken. And as he expresses them, Dirk Hayhurst describes himself as “a real person who moonlights as a baseball player.” In much the same manner, while The Bullpen Gospels chronicles how all of us face the impact when we learn reality is both far meaner and far richer than our dreams – it also moonlights as one of the best baseball books ever written.”

—Keith Olbermann

“This book quickly grabbed my attention span and kept me interested until its very end. Hayhurst does a wonderful job of describing the physical and emotional struggles players go through. This is not just a great baseball story, it is an insightful life story and one I strongly recommend you pick up.”

—Jason Collette, Baseball Nation

“By the time you finish Out Of My League — which is so compulsively readable and enjoyable that it could be the same day you start – you’ll feel like you’ve just sat with an old pal who clawed his way into the bigs and couldn’t wait to tell you everything about the experience. Apparently it’s not enough for him to be a major league pitcher; Dirk has to be a fantastic writer, too. This is because God is cruel and unfair. You, however, are lucky: you get to read Out Of My League.”

—Matt Fraction, Marvel Comics

“The most candid portrayal of life as a professional athlete I’ve ever seen.Out of My League is a must for anyone who has dreamed of making the Major Leagues and has wondered what they missed.”

—Michael Dolan, Athlete's Quarterly

“Derek Jeter may get the fame because he plays the game right. Dirk Hayhurst deserves the fame because he plays life right.”

—Zach Summers, The Good Point.

"Dirk Hayhurst has done it again. His second book is a good as, if not better than is first. Turns out he's a starter and a closer."

—Tim Kurkjian, ESPN

"Dirk Hayhurst Writes about baseball in a unique, Observant, insightful, poignent and hilarious."

—Bob Costas

"The best writer in a baseball uniform."

—The New York Times

“Hayhurst keeps the pace brisk and deftly mixes in bawdy clubhouse episodes with deeper reflections on the journey no one thought he’d make—the journey to the big leagues… As an author, he’s certainly a prospect.”

—John Manuel, Baseball America

“Hayhurst has written a book that’s a treat for anyone who loves baseball — or loves to read, for that matter.”

—Tyler Kepner, The New York Times

“Hayhurst has a good story to tell, indeed an American classic. It feels true, and Hayhurst knows how to keep the reader turning pages. In fact, THE BULLPEN GOSPELS may be the funniest baseball memoir since Jim Bouton’sBall Four…I hope he recovers and continues to pitch—and write. If Hayhurst can be as honest about the big leagues as he was about the minors, we’re in for a treat.”

—The New York Times Book Review