Thursday, March 19, 2009
How Much Are You Worth?
Most people think that they can't be bought. The truth is that most of us make a salary and, as one person I know claims, we have been "bought" for whatever that amount is. Athletes are bought, sold, and traded all the time and are acutely aware of what their value is. For example, Manny Ramirez is considered to be worth more than Andruw Jones.
Last year, we heard the story of John Odom. He was a minor league pitcher and a prospect for the San Fancisco Giants at one point. Odom made headlines last year when he was traded from the Laredo Broncos to the Calgary Vipers. This pitcher wasn't traded for another player or cash. He was traded for ten maple bats (about $665 US).
Sports media picked up the story of Odom and made a big joke of the whole thing. He seemed to take it very well. Heck, in the video above he's joking around and seemingly taking it in stride. I don't know, maybe the fact that he won't take his sunglasses off for an ESPN interview and the nervous laugh say something else.
Apparently it did. Reader Doret sent me an email yesterday with the sad conclusion of this story. John Odom died of a heroin overdose.
The warning signs were probably there. From the Yahoo! Sports article:
“I guarantee this trade thing really bothered him. That really worried me,” said Dan Shwam, who managed Odom last year on the Laredo Broncos of the United League. “I really believe, knowing his background, that this drove him back to the bottle, that it put him on the road to drugs again.”
Shwam added: “There were some demons chasing him, they’d been after him for a long time. But there’s no way to really know whether the trade did it, is there?”
Sadly, what was a big joke to everyone turned out to be much more serious.
The medical examiner’s office figured out Odom’s fame when they saw a tattoo on his right elbow over suture marks that read “Poena Par Sapientia”—a rough Latin translation of “Pain equals wisdom”—and did a Google search.
Details of his final days are elusive. His death was obscure. There is no record on where he was living, no explanation of how his body wound up at a hospital, no police report, no public record of where he is buried. Numerous telephone messages left for his family and friends were not returned.
How much are you worth?