Out of My League

A Rookie's Survival in the Bigs
Buy the BookRead an Excerpt

“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.

Welcome to the Big Leagues, Meat

In his previous book, The Bullpen Gospels, Dirk Hayhurst writes the story of the minors so vividly, it leaves readers wondering, “what if he wrote like this about life in the big leagues?”

Out of my League answers that questions, and then some. The book details rookie hazing, the “unwritten rules” of life in a major league locker room for rookies, and how to “play the game the right way.” If you ever want to know how to behave when you’re called to “the show” for the first time, consider this book your guide.

Indeed, Out of My League has been referenced in the growing debate on the ethicality of the vast earnings and treatment imbalance between minor leaguers and their major league counterparts. While it was Hayhurst’s intention that Out of My League become a lightning rod in these conversations, the popularity of the book made it a go-to reference guide for those who don’t understand the dynamic.

Life In the Show 

Fact: big league baseball players have a pretty cushy life. Out of My League explores this through Hayhurst’s eyes, by contrasting his poverty level existence leading up to his arrival in the majors. The five-star hotels, private jets, luxury cars, custom wardrobes, groupies…
Of course, all of the treatment is given to ensure players perform at their best on the field. Here, too, Hayhurst shines, putting you in the head of a pitcher struggling in real time to validate the long pursuit of his life; major league success. You’ll sweat each out, each pitch, with Hayhurst as he tries to prove the book’s title wrong, and show the world he belongs in big leagues.

Out of My League does not require the reader to have read The Bullpen Gospels first, but it adds a lot to the tale, and picks up where the previous left off.

Praise for Dirk's Writing 

“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

“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

“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

“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

“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

ESPN The Magazine

"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

“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 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


“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

“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


“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

World Series MVP

“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

“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

“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


“The best writer in a baseball uniform.”

The New York Times

“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%

“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


“A must read”

David Price

Cy Young Winner, MVP

“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

MLB Pitcher