Major Deal for Minor Leaguer

Viking's Wendy Wolf preempted Matt McCarthy's Odd Man Out: A Year on the Mound with a Minor League Misfit with a substantial offer to Scott Waxman. McCarthy's fish-out-of-water memoir will describe getting drafted in the 21st round out of Yale to play in Provo, Utah, for the 2002 season alongside future stars like Prince Fielder, Bobby Jenks and Casey Kotchman. McCarthy, who never truly thought he'd make it in the majors, was nevertheless eager for the experience before attending Harvard Medical School, from which he graduated this spring. Waxman got on board after hearing about the project from a couple of his other sportswriting clients, including Sports Illustrated's Jon Wertheim; McCarthy, who finished a complete draft at the end of last year, had asked a friend at SI to show it to the magazine's baseball editor, Chris Stone. The manuscript languished in Stone's office for several months before Stone finally read it, loved it and passed it around to other writers, including Wertheim. Naturally, SI has agreed to do first serial. Viking has world rights and will publish in early 2009; McCarthy is already at work on a new book drawing on his current experience as a resident at Columbia Presbyterian.

Running on Empty

Rick Wolff at Grand Central bought world rights to Forbes reporter Christopher Steiner's $20 per Gallon via David Fugate at LaunchBooks, who ended up not having to conduct an auction after Grand Central's significant six-figure floor trumped other potential bids. Pitched by Fugate as a thought experiment on the same scale as The World Without Us, the book will look at how the rising cost of gas will radically change our lives, not just in terms of economics but also American society and culture. Wolff said the proposal “took our breath away.” The book will be published under the Grand Central imprint, not Business Plus (the business line Wolff runs within Grand Central).

Baking Auction

Bill LeBlond at Chronicle outlasted four other bidders for world rights to Flour: A Baker's Collection of Spectacular Recipes by Joanne Chang and Christie Matheson; Stacey Glick at Dystel & Goderich made the sale. Chang, the founder of Boston bakeries Flour, will share innovative recipes for favorites like homemade Oreos and Pop-Tarts and classics like éclairs, red velvet cake and tiramisu in her first book. She recently beat Bobby Flay in a sticky bun throwdown on the Food Network. Chronicle will publish as a lead title in fall 2010.

Moon's Story

Da Capo editor Kevin Hanover won an auction for Warren Moon's Shooting for the Moon via Dan Ambrosio at Vigliano Associates, who sold world rights. Pro football Hall of Fame quarterback Moon's inspirational autobiography will recount the obstacles he overcame in his career, from playing backup on his high school team to going undrafted and playing professionally in Canada; Moon will also describe fighting his way to the big-time as a star quarterback in the NFL. Moon is the first and currently only African-American quarterback in the Hall of Fame. Don Yaeger will co-write, and pub date is fall 2009.

Elsewhere at Da Capo, senior editor Wendy Francis acquired world rights to Ellyn Spragins's What I Know Now About Success via Debra Goldstein at the Creative Culture. This is the next installment in the bestselling What I Know Now series, a collection of letters by prominent women offering advice to their younger selves about the keys to success. Da Capo will publish under the Da Capo Lifelong imprint in fall 2009.