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.

Sample Chapters & Cover Art

Praise for The Bullpen Gospels

"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,

“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,

“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,

“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
“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

Bullpen Gospels Interviews, Videos, and Photo Journal

  • Interviews

  • The Bullpen Gospels on Video

  • The Bullpen Gospels Photo Journal