Mel Ott

Melvin Thomas Ott (March 2, 1909 – November 21, 1958), nicknamed "Master Melvin", was an American professional baseball right fielder, who played in Major League Baseball (MLB) for the New York Giants, from 1926 through 1947.

Ott was born in Gretna, the seat of government of Jefferson Parish in suburban New Orleans. He batted left-handed and threw right-handed. He was an All-Star for eleven consecutive seasons[a], and was the first National League player to surpass 500 career home runs. He was unusually slight in stature for a power hitter, at 5 feet 9 inches (1.75 m), 170 pounds (77 kg).[1]

He was elected to the National Baseball Hall of Fame in 1951.

Mel Ott
Right fielder / Manager
Born: March 2, 1909
Gretna, Louisiana
Died: November 21, 1958 (aged 49)
New Orleans, Louisiana
Batted: Left Threw: Right
MLB debut
April 27, 1926, for the New York Giants
Last MLB appearance
July 11, 1947, for the New York Giants
MLB statistics
Batting average.304
Home runs511
Runs batted in1,860
Managerial record464–530
Winning %.467
As player
As manager
Career highlights and awards
Member of the National
Empty Star.svg Empty Star.svg Empty Star.svg Baseball Hall of Fame Empty Star.svg Empty Star.svg Empty Star.svg
Vote87.2% (third ballot)

Playing career

Power hitter

Ott was a six-time NL home run leader, in 1932, 1934, 1936–38, and 1942. From 1928 to 1945, he led the New York Giants in home runs. This 18-season consecutive dominance is a record; no other player has ever led his team in more consecutive years in a single Triple Crown category. He was both the youngest player to hit 100 home runs and the first National Leaguer to hit 500 home runs. He passed Rogers Hornsby to become the all-time NL home run leader in 1937 and held that title until Willie Mays passed him in 1966.

Mel Ott 1940 Play Ball card.jpeg
Ott's 1940 Play Ball baseball card

Because of his power hitting, he was noted for reaching base via the base on balls. He drew five walks in a game three times. He set the National League record for most walks in a doubleheader with six, on October 5, 1929 and did it again on April 30, 1944. He tied an MLB record by drawing a walk in seven consecutive plate appearances (June 16 through 18, 1943). He also led the NL in walks six times: in 1929, 1931–33, 1937 and 1942. He twice scored six runs in a game, on August 4, 1934 and on April 30, 1944. He is the youngest major leaguer to ever hit for the cycle. Ott was the first NL player to post eight consecutive 100-RBI seasons, and only Willie Mays, Sammy Sosa, Chipper Jones, and Albert Pujols have since joined him.

He used a batting style that was then considered unorthodox, lifting his forward (right) foot prior to impact. This style helped with his power hitting. More recent players who used a similar style include Harold Baines and Kirby Puckett, as well as the Japanese home run king, Sadaharu Oh.

In 1943, all of his 18 home runs came at home; only two others ever had a greater number of all-homefield home runs. Of Ott's 511 career home runs, 323 of them, or 63 percent, came at home. (Home Run Handbook, John Tattersall, 1975). Because of this, his home run record historically has been downplayed, suggesting that a 257-foot (78 m) foul line at the Polo Grounds resulted in higher numbers at home. Sportswriters often jokingly referred to him as the master of the "Chinese home run" as such short homers were called at the time; Ott would often respond by noting that if it was so easy to inflate his homer totals by hitting over that fence, all other hitters in the league would be doing it.[2]

As a balance, the Polo Grounds had the deepest power alleys in baseball. Also, he hit more career home runs in foreign stadiums than any other National League hitter at the time of his retirement. In some of his better seasons, he hit more homers on the road than in the Polo Grounds.

There may be reason to believe that he was a better hitter than his record suggests because of differences in National League and American League ball specifications ("All too forgOtten" Steve Treder, October 2, 2007). Those differences are considered the most outstanding in the history of the game and made it considerably harder for National League hitters to achieve home runs.

During the prime of Ott's career, eleven seasons from 1931 through 1941, American League batters averaged 21% more home runs—peaking at 41% more home runs—than their National League counterparts. Babe Ruth and Jimmie Foxx, contemporaries, and both American League players, were the only batters to surpass Ott's record during this time.

Post-season play

Ott played in the World Series in 1933, 1936 and 1937, winning in 1933. He hit two home runs during the 1933 series. In game 1, he had four hits, including a two-run home run in the first inning. In game 5, he drove in the series-winning run with two outs in the top of the 10th, driving a pitch into the center-field bleachers. In the 1936 World Series, Ott had 7 hits and 1 home run. In 1937, he had 4 hits and 1 home run. Playing in 16 World Series games, Ott batted .295 (18-for-61) with 8 runs, 4 home runs and 10 RBI.

Career statistics

In his 22-season career, Ott batted .304 with 511 home runs, 1,860 RBIs, 1,859 runs, 2,876 hits, 488 doubles, 72 triples, 89 stolen bases, 1,708 base on balls, .414 on-base percentage and a .533 slugging average. Defensively, he recorded a .974 fielding percentage. He hit better than .300 ten times in his major league career.

Managerial career

Ott managed the Giants from 1942 until being succeeded by Leo Durocher midway through the 1948 season. The Giants' best finish during that time was third place in 1942. It was in reference to Ott's supposedly easy-going managing style that then-Dodgers manager Durocher made the oft-quoted and somewhat out-of-context comment, "Nice guys finish last!" Ott was the first manager to be ejected from both games of a doubleheader, when the Giants lost both games to the Pittsburgh Pirates on June 9, 1946.[3]

In 1951, Ott succeeded Chuck Dressen as manager of the Oakland Oaks of the Pacific Coast League, leading the club to an 80–88 finish (seventh place). In 1952, the Oaks finished 104-76 under Ott, good for second place in the PCL.[4]

MLB honors

SFGiants 4
Mel Ott's number 4 was retired by the New York Giants in 1949.

Ott was elected to the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1951 with 87% of the vote. His number "4" was also retired by the Giants in 1949, and it is posted on the facade of the upper deck in the left field corner of AT&T Park.

He was a National League All-Star for eleven consecutive seasons, from 1934 through 1944 (MLB cancelled the 1945 All-Star Game and selections).[5]

He is one of only six National League players to spend a 20+ year career with one team (Cap Anson, Stan Musial, Willie Stargell, Tony Gwynn, and Craig Biggio being the others).

He was a nominee for the Major League Baseball All-Century Team.

Broadcasting career

Mel Ott with Van Patrick
Ott (left) in the broadcast booth with Van Patrick, 1957

After his playing career ended, Ott broadcast baseball on the Mutual radio network in 1955. From 1956 to 1958, Ott teamed with Van Patrick to broadcast the games of the Detroit Tigers on radio and television.

Death and legacy

Ott was involved in an auto accident in Bay Saint Louis, Mississippi in 1958.[6] He was transferred to a hospital in New Orleans, where he died one week later. He was interred in Metairie Cemetery. Ott died in a similar manner to two other New York Giants Hall of Famers: Frankie Frisch in 1973 and Carl Hubbell in 1988 (the latter 30 years to the day after Ott's death). Ott is remembered in his hometown of Gretna, where a park is named in his honor. Since 1959, the National League has honored the league's annual home run champion with the Mel Ott Award.[7][8] In the 1989 film Field of Dreams, Ott was one of several deceased players portrayed in farmer Ray Kinsella's Iowa cornfield. In 2006, Ott was featured on a United States postage stamp, as one of a block of four honoring "Baseball Sluggers" — the others being Mickey Mantle, Hank Greenberg, and Roy Campanella. In announcing the stamps, the U.S. Postal Service stated, "Remembered as powerful hitters who wowed fans with awesome and often record-breaking home runs, these four men were also versatile players who helped to lead their teams to victory and set impressive standards for subsequent generations".[9] Ott is also remembered in the name of the Little League of Amherst, New York. The Mel Ott Little League began in 1959, named for the recently deceased superstar.

Ott's name frequently appears in crossword puzzles, on account of its letter combination and brevity.[10]

Ott is mentioned in the poem "Line-Up for Yesterday" by Ogden Nash:

Line-Up for Yesterday
O is for Ott
Of the restless right foot.
When he leaned on the pellet,
The pellet stayed put.

Ogden Nash, Sport magazine (January 1949)[11]

Baseball records and accomplishments

Home runs

  • Six-time NL home run leader (1932, 1934, 1936–38, 1942).
  • Was the youngest player to hit 100 home runs and the first NL player to reach 500 home runs.
  • Passed Rogers Hornsby to become the all-time NL home run leader in 1937 and held that title until Willie Mays passed him in 1966.
  • Holds major league record by leading his team 18 consecutive years in home runs (1928–1945).


  • Drew five walks in a game three times, and six walks in a doubleheader twice.
  • Shares MLB record by drawing a walk in seven consecutive plate appearances (June 16 through 18, 1943).
  • Led NL in walks six times (1929, 1931–33, 1937, 1942).

Other offense



See also


  1. ^ MLB cancelled the 1945 All-Star Game and did not name All-Stars that season.


  1. ^ "Mel Ott Overview". Retrieved July 10, 2017.
  2. ^ Hardy Jr., James D. (2007). Baseball and the Mythic Moment: How We Remember the National Game. Jefferson, North Carolina: McFarland & Company. pp. 32–34. ISBN 9780786426508. Retrieved March 18, 2015.
  3. ^ Pellowski, Michael J (2007). The Little Giant Book of Baseball Facts. United States: Sterling Publishing Co. p. 352. ISBN 9781402742736.
  4. ^ "Oakland Oaks". Retrieved July 11, 2017.
  5. ^ "Baseball Did You Know? – VII Phillies Renamed Blue Jays". Retrieved July 11, 2017.
  6. ^ "Mel Ott, 49, Dies of Crash Injuries". The New York Times. November 22, 1958. Retrieved July 11, 2017.
  7. ^ "Baseball Quick Quiz". Baseball Digest. 31 (12): 77. December 1972. Retrieved December 16, 2011.
  8. ^ MacMullan, Jackie (October 17, 2002). "A bronze homage to Babe". The Boston Globe. p. E3. Retrieved November 8, 2011. The National League honors its sluggers with (here's a trivia question for your next cocktail party) the Mel Ott Award, with about the same amount of fanfare as the AL.(subscription required)
  9. ^ "Postal Service Unveils 2006 Commemorative Stamps; 50 stamps highlighting four subjects to be dedicated at Washington 2006 Stamp Exhibition". Retrieved July 11, 2017.
  10. ^ "Talk to The Times: Crossword Editor Will Shortz". The New York Times. July 19, 2009. Retrieved July 11, 2017.
  11. ^ "Line-Up For Yesterday by Ogden Nash". Baseball Almanac. Retrieved July 11, 2017.

Further reading

External links

Preceded by
Bob Meusel
Hitting for the cycle
May 16, 1929
Succeeded by
Ski Melillo
1933 New York Giants (MLB) season

The 1933 New York Giants season was the franchise's 51st season. The team won the National League pennant and beat the Washington Senators of the American League in the World Series.

1934 Major League Baseball season

The 1934 Major League Baseball season.

1938 New York Giants (MLB) season

The 1938 New York Giants season was the franchise's 56th season. The team finished in third place in the National League with an 83-67 record, 5 games behind the Chicago Cubs.

1942 New York Giants (MLB) season

The 1942 New York Giants season was the franchise's 60th season. The team finished in third place in the National League with an 85-67 record, 20 games behind the St. Louis Cardinals.

1943 New York Giants (MLB) season

The 1943 New York Giants season was the franchise's 61st season. The team finished in eighth place in the National League with a 55–98 record, 49½ games behind the St. Louis Cardinals.

1944 New York Giants (MLB) season

The 1944 New York Giants season was the franchise's 62nd season. The team finished in fifth place in the National League with a 67-87 record, 38 games behind the St. Louis Cardinals.

1945 New York Giants (MLB) season

The 1945 New York Giants season was the franchise's 63rd season. The team finished in fifth place in the National League with a 78-74 record, 19 games behind the Chicago Cubs.

1946 Major League Baseball season

The 1946 Major League Baseball season. Due to the end of World War II many drafted ballplayers returned to the majors and the quality of play greatly improved.

1946 New York Giants (MLB) season

The 1946 New York Giants season was the franchise's 64th season. The team finished in eighth place in the National League with a 61-93 record, 36 games behind the St. Louis Cardinals.

1947 New York Giants (MLB) season

The 1947 New York Giants season was the franchise's 65th season. The team finished in fourth place in the National League with an 81-73 record, 13 games behind the Brooklyn Dodgers. It was the first season to be broadcast on television, with WNBT acting as the official team television broadcast partner.

1951 Baseball Hall of Fame balloting

Elections to the Baseball Hall of Fame for 1951 followed the same rules as 1950.

The Baseball Writers' Association of America (BBWAA) voted once by mail to select from major league players retired less than 25 years. It elected two, Jimmie Foxx and Mel Ott.

Meanwhile, the Old-Timers Committee, with jurisdiction over earlier players and other figures, did not meet.

500 home run club

In Major League Baseball (MLB), the 500 home run club is a group of batters who have hit 500 or more regular-season home runs in their careers. On August 11, 1929, Babe Ruth became the first member of the club. Ruth ended his career with 714 home runs, a record which stood from 1935 until Hank Aaron surpassed it in 1974. Aaron's ultimate career total, 755, remained the record until Barry Bonds set the current mark of 762 during the 2007 season. Twenty-seven players are members of the 500 home run club. Ted Williams (.344) holds the highest batting average among the club members while Harmon Killebrew (.256) holds the lowest.

Of these 27 players, 14 were right-handed batters, 11 were left-handed, and 2 were switch hitters. The San Francisco Giants and Boston Red Sox are the only franchises to see four players reach the milestone while on their roster: for the Giants, Mel Ott while the team was in New York, Willie Mays, Willie McCovey, and most recently Bonds, and, for the Red Sox, Jimmie Foxx, Williams, and more recently Manny Ramirez and David Ortiz. Six 500 home run club members—Aaron, Mays, Eddie Murray, Rafael Palmeiro, Albert Pujols, and Alex Rodriguez—are also members of the 3,000 hit club. Gary Sheffield's 500th home run was his first career home run with the New York Mets, the first time that a player's 500th home run was also his first with his franchise. Rodriguez, at 32 years and 8 days, was the youngest player to reach the milestone while Williams, at 41 years and 291 days, was the oldest. The most recent player to reach 500 home runs is Ortiz, who hit his 500th home run on September 12, 2015. As of the end of the 2018 season, Albert Pujols is the only active member of the 500 home run club.Membership in the 500 home run club is sometimes described as a guarantee of eventual entry into the Baseball Hall of Fame, although some believe the milestone has become less meaningful in recent years. Five eligible club members—Bonds, Mark McGwire, Palmeiro, Sheffield and Sammy Sosa—have not been elected to the Hall. Bonds and Sosa made their first appearance on the Hall of Fame ballot in 2013; Bonds received only 36.2% and Sosa 12.5% of the total votes, with 75% required for induction. Eligibility requires that a player has "been retired five seasons" or be deceased for at least six months. Some believe the milestone has become less important with the large number of new members; 10 players joined the club from 1999 to 2009. Additionally, several of these recent members have had ties to performance-enhancing drugs. Some believe that by not electing McGwire to the Hall the voters were establishing a "referendum" on how they would treat players from the "Steroid Era". On January 8, 2014, Palmeiro became the first member of the 500 Home Run Club to be removed from the BBWAA Hall of Fame ballot. As the BBWAA announced the selections for the Baseball Hall of Fame Class of 2014, Palmeiro appeared on just 4.4% of the ballots. Players must be named on at least of 5.0% of ballots to remain on future ballots.

History of the New York Giants (baseball)

The San Francisco Giants of Major League Baseball originated in New York City as the New York Gothams in 1883 and were known as the New York Giants from 1885 until the team relocated to San Francisco after the 1957 season. During most of their 75 seasons in New York City, the Giants played home games at various incarnations of the Polo Grounds in Upper Manhattan.

Numerous inductees of the National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum in Cooperstown, New York played for the New York Giants, including John McGraw, Mel Ott, Bill Terry, Willie Mays, Monte Irvin, and Travis Jackson. During the club's tenure in New York, it won five of the franchise's eight World Series wins and 17 of its 23 National League pennants. Famous moments in the Giants' New York history include the 1922 World Series, in which the Giants swept the Yankees in four games, the 1951 home run known as the "Shot Heard 'Round the World", and the defensive feat by Willie Mays during the first game of the 1954 World Series known as "the Catch".

The Giants had intense rivalries with their fellow New York teams the New York Yankees and the Brooklyn Dodgers, facing the Yankees in six World Series and playing the league rival Dodgers multiple times per season. Games between any two of these three teams were known collectively as the Subway Series. The rivalry with the Dodgers continues to be played as the Dodgers joined the Giants in moving also to along the Pacific Ocean on the West Coast in California after the 1957 season when they relocated to Los Angeles. The New York Giants of the National Football League are named after the team.

List of Major League Baseball annual home run leaders

In baseball, a home run is scored when the ball is hit so far that the batter is able to circle all the bases ending at home plate, scoring himself plus any runners already on base, with no errors by the defensive team on the play. An automatic home run is achieved by hitting the ball on the fly over the outfield fence in fair territory. More rarely, an inside-the-park home run occurs when the hitter reaches home plate while the baseball remains in play on the field. In Major League Baseball (MLB), a player in each league wins the home run title each season by hitting the most home runs that year. Only home runs hit in a particular league count towards that league's seasonal lead. Mark McGwire, for example, hit 58 home runs in 1997, more than any other player that year. However, McGwire was traded from the American League's (AL) Oakland Athletics to the National League's (NL) St. Louis Cardinals midway through the season and his individual AL and NL home run totals (34 and 24, respectively) did not qualify to lead either league.The first home run champion in the National League was George Hall. In the league's inaugural 1876 season, Hall hit five home runs for the short-lived National League Philadelphia Athletics. In 1901, the American League was established and Hall of Fame second baseman Nap Lajoie led it with 14 home runs for the American League Philadelphia Athletics. Over the course of his 22-season career, Babe Ruth led the American League in home runs 12 times. Mike Schmidt and Ralph Kiner have the second and third most home run titles respectively, Schmidt with eight and Kiner with seven, all won in the National League. Kiner's seven consecutive titles from 1946 to 1952 are also the most consecutive home run titles by any player.

Ruth set the Major League Baseball single-season home run record four times, first at 29 (1919), then 54 (1920), 59 (1921), and finally 60 (1927). Ruth's 1920 and 1921 seasons are tied for the widest margin of victory for a home run champion as he topped the next highest total by 35 home runs in each season. The single season mark of 60 stood for 34 years until Roger Maris hit 61 home runs in 1961. Maris' mark was broken 37 years later by both Mark McGwire and Sammy Sosa during the 1998 home run record chase, with McGwire ultimately setting the mark at 70. Barry Bonds, who also has the most career home runs, set the current single season record of 73 in 2001. The 1998 and 2001 seasons each had 4 players hit 50 or more home runs – Greg Vaughn, Ken Griffey, Jr., Sosa, and McGwire in 1998 and Alex Rodriguez, Luis Gonzalez, Sosa, and Bonds in 2001. A player has hit 50 or more home runs 42 times, 25 times since 1990. The lowest home run total to lead a major league was four, recorded in the NL by Lip Pike in 1877 and Paul Hines in 1878.

List of Major League Baseball single-game runs scored leaders

In Major League Baseball, players have scored six or more runs in one game 16 times. This record has been achieved by 15 players, the most recent being Joe Randa of the Kansas City Royals on September 9, 2004. Mel Ott is the only player to accomplish the feat twice, doing so nearly a decade apart.

Three players — Ott, Cap Anson, and King Kelly — have been elected to the Baseball Hall of Fame. A player's team has never lost a game in which he scored six runs. None of the players who have scored six runs are currently active in MLB.

Guy Hecker scored seven runs for the Louisville Colonels against the Baltimore Orioles in the American Association on August 15, 1886, setting the record for professional baseball. Hecker is also the only pitcher to score as many as six runs in a game. In addition, Hecker collected six hits, another unique accomplishment for a pitcher.

Shawn Green's six run game set the Major League record for total bases (19) and tied the Major League records for home runs (4) and extra-base hits (5).

Five players on this list also collected six hits on their way to scoring six runs: King Kelly, Ginger Beaumont, Edgardo Alfonzo, Shawn Green and Joe Randa.

The record for runs in a postseason game is five.

List of San Francisco Giants managers

The San Francisco Giants are a Major League Baseball team that plays in the National League Western Division. Since their inception as the New York Gothams in 1883, the Giants have employed 36 managers. The duties of the team manager include team strategy and leadership on and off the field.The franchise's first manager was John Clapp, who managed the team for one year before being replaced in 1884 by Jim Price. The Giants won two World Series championships during the 19th century, in 1888 and 1889, with Jim Mutrie as their manager both years. John McGraw became the Giants' manager during the 1902 season, beginning a streak of 54 consecutive years in which the Giants were managed by a Baseball Hall of Famer. McGraw himself managed for more than 30 years, until the middle of the 1932 season, the longest managerial tenure in Giants history. McGraw won 2,583 games as the Giants manager, the most in Giants history. While managing the Giants, the team won the National League championship 10 times—in 1904, 1905, 1911, 1912, 1913, 1917, 1921, 1922, 1923 and 1924. They played in the World Series nine times (no World Series was played in 1904) and won three, in 1905, 1921 and 1922.McGraw's successor was Hall of Famer Bill Terry, who managed the team from the middle of the 1932 season until 1941. He won 823 games as the Giants' manager, fourth most in Giants history, and won three National League championships, in 1933, 1936 and 1937, winning the World Series in 1933. Hall of Famers Mel Ott and Leo Durocher managed the team from 1942 through 1955. Durocher was the manager for the Giants' World Series championship in 1954.The Giants moved from New York to San Francisco in 1958, with Bill Rigney as their manager. They won their first National League championship in San Francisco under Alvin Dark in 1962 but lost the World Series that year. In their first 28 years in San Francisco, they had 14 managers (including two terms by Rigney). Since 1985, the Giants' managerial situation has been more stable. Roger Craig managed the team for more than seven seasons, from the middle of the 1985 season until 1992, including a National League championship in 1989. His successor, Dusty Baker, managed the team for ten years from 1993 through 2002, winning the National League championship in 2002. Baker has the third highest win total of any Giants manager with 840. Felipe Alou replaced Baker in 2003 and managed the team until 2006. The current Giants manager, Bruce Bochy, has managed the team since the 2007 season, winning World Series championships in 2010, 2012, and 2014, and has the second most wins among all Giants managers. Mutrie has the highest winning percentage of any Giants manager, with .605. Heinie Smith has the lowest, with .156, although he managed just 32 games. The lowest winning percentage of any Giants manager who managed at least 100 games is .389, by Jim Davenport in 1985.

Rufus Meadows

Rufus Rivers Meadows (born August 25, 1907 in Chase City, Virginia) was a left-handed pitcher in Major League Baseball for the Cincinnati Reds in 1926. He appeared in just one game, an 18-1 loss to the Chicago Cubs. Meadows faced the Cubs' final batter of the game, inducing an out to finish off the blowout loss by his Reds. He holds the record for facing the fewest batters by a pitcher who played only one MLB game. He also batted once in the game and did not reach base, finishing with a lifetime batting average of .000 to match his lifetime ERA of 0.00.

Meadows was only 18 when he had his brief moment as a major leaguer, and he was the second-youngest player to play in the National League that season, trailing only future Hall of Famer Mel Ott.

Meadows died May 10, 1970 in Wichita, Kansas.

Stanley Joseph Ott

Stanley Joseph Ott, S.T.D., (June 29, 1927 – November 28, 1992) was an American prelate of the Roman Catholic Church. He served as Bishop of Baton Rouge from 1983 until his death in 1992. Stanley Ott was the cousin of Mel Ott and celebrated the Funeral Mass for Elmo Patrick Sonnier, a convicted murderer who was buried near the graves of bishops.

Retired numbers
Pre-World Series Champions (2)
Temple Cup Champions (1)
World Series Champions (8)
National League
Championships (23)
Division titles (8)
Wild card (3)
Minor league affiliates
Veterans Committee
First basemen
Second basemen
Third basemen
Designated hitters
Executives /
Inducted as a Giant
Inductees who played
for the Giants
Giants managers
Frick Award

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