He was the minor league player traded for 10 maple bats.
It became a big joke last May, when word of the unusual swap jumped off the sports pages, and Odom went from pitcher to punch line.
He seemed to handle it well, too. A former prospect in the San Francisco Giants' chain future Cy Young winner Tim Lincecum bunked on his couch in Class A ball Odom gladly agreed to interviews. He kidded about the kooky deal that made him famous, saying it would make a better story if he reached the majors someday.
"People are like, 'I'd kill myself' and stuff," Odom said at the time, dismissing any such notion.
Three weeks after the trade, he abruptly left the team.
Six months after the trade, he was dead.
The medical examiner said Odom's death in Georgia on Nov. 5 at age 26 was an accidental overdose from heroin, methamphetamine, the stimulant benzylpiperazine and alcohol.
Odom's death had drawn little notice by the start of spring training this year. Now, former teammates, managers and club officials keep asking a question for which there is no satisfying answer.
"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?"