Introducing the newest Red Sox, Kevin McCarthy (the pitcher, not the politician)


“Kevin McCarthy!@”

Just a few hours after news came down regarding the Red Sox’ first signing of the offseason, this was the name awaiting anyone tuning into one national news network. What did the pitcher do to warrant such treatment on what should be a celebratory Friday night? Nothing. This has been McCarthy’s lot in life for some time.

Google has done the reliever no favors thanks to the House of Representative’s Minority Leader, who just happens to share the same moniker.

“I will always get messages from some people who are P.O.’d about something going on, thinking I’m the congressman,” McCarthy said in a phone interview with “I’m like, ‘I can’t help you out here.’ I’m sure he might have it vice versa. If I have a bad game he might get some hate mail.”

Now, it’s not all bad. There was that time McCarthy’s agent David Pepe ran into the representative from the California’s 23rd district at a restaurant.

“(Pepe) introduced himself and said, ‘Hey, I represent Kevin McCarthy.’ And he was like, ‘Oh, the baseball player.’ We just happened to play the Nats that year so when we went my agent texted him, he had his assistant bring us right in,” the 28-year-old sinkerballer said. “We got a behind stage tour fo the Capitol Building. It was sick. … The Democrats have their own locker room. The Republicans have their own locker room. I thought that was pretty funny.”

But here’s the thing: If you go past that first layer of search engine information you’ll find the Red Sox’ Kevin McCarthy presents a pretty interesting story.

A kid from Uniondale, N.Y. (“I grew up a Mets fan. I dodged a bullet there,” he said) who got one Division 1 offer, landing him at Marist College whose previous only athletic claim to fame was the No. 2 overall pick in the 1988 NBA Draft Rik Smits. For McCarthy, it wasn’t complicated. His other option was Division 2 Molloy College — which was too close to home — and Marist. “I went to a camp, threw well and they gave me a little money to go,”

And then people started taking notice. “They came out with some draftable prospects from the MAC and I was No. 2. I was like, ‘Huh. Maybe I can go this route.’”


In the 16th round of the 2013 MLB Draft the Royals called McCarthy’s name and he was on his way. Three years later — after being taught what has become his go-to two-seam fastball by pitching coach Steve Luebber — he found himself in the major leagues.

And two years after that came his most memorable moment to date as a big leaguer, which just so happened to take place at Fenway Park. May 1, 2018. McCarthy mowed down the eventual world champion Red Sox for three innings — Innings 9-11 — leading Kansas City to an extra-inning win. The pitcher who “got a little money” from the school that still hasn’t produced another big leaguer mowed down Christian Vazquez, Eduardo Nunez, Andrew Benintendi, Hanley Ramirez, Mookie Betts, Mitch Moreland, Xander Bogaerts, Rafael Devers and Jackie Bradley Jr.

“That,” he remembered, “was a cool movie moment.”

By the time 2020 rolled around the right-hander had appeared in 164 major league games, totaling a 3.78 ERA. But as was the case with so many big leaguers, things were just a little off this past season, resulting in just five appearances and ultimately Kansas City taking him off its roster. That led McCarthy to a whole new world — free agency.

“It’s part of the business,” said McCarthy, who was slated to become arbitration-eligible. “I have no bad feelings toward (the Royals) at all. I’m extremely grateful for everything they’ve done for me, just taking a chance. They have some great talent coming up. They’re going to be young and they’re going to impress some people I think.

“This year I sort of got lost in the shuffle. I wasn’t pitching a whole lot. I couldn’t get anything rolling. It just comes with the shortened season and how people were attacking games this year. I think a full season with right the ship.”

The Red Sox called almost immediately, with Director of Pro Scouting Gus Quattlebaum first relaying the team’s interest in the ground-ball pitcher before pitching coach Dave Bush started laying the foundation for McCarthy’s new program.

For the pitcher, it wasn’t complicated. The Red Sox’ offer of a minor-league deal gave him the chance to pitch close to home for the first time in his career. And the uncertainty of baseball’s economics were also going to lead nothing to chance.

“From the get-go they started talking to me and were saying the right things,” McCarthy said. “(Bush) liked the type of pitcher I am, attacking the strike zone, efficient, ground balls, work to contact, just try to eat up innings.”

Now comes the next chapter. Same old somewhat awkward name recognition. Brand new lease on his baseball life.

“I’m definitely a little nervous,” McCarthy admitted. “It’s like going to the first day of school, or a new job. You want to make a good first impression. I’m excited for the opportunity.”