Mel Ott

I think I’ve just set a record for the shortest name of any person profiled on the blog. Huzzah!

Melvin Thomas Ott (1909-1958) was a major league right fielder. And he was a heck of a right fielder, to say the least. A career-long New York Giant (he played with them from 1926-1947), the diminutive Ott – 5’9”, 170 pounds – was the first National League player to surpass 500 home runs. He racked up 511 career dingers to go along with an impressive .304 average and 2,876 hits. Amazingly, from 1928-1945, he led his team in home runs. His 18-year streak is a major league record – no other player has led his team in home runs that many years in a row. Another neat fact about Ott is that he started his Big League career at the age of 17, and he hit for the cycle at age 20 – wow! He is still the youngest man to hit for the cycle.

Thank you 1940's baseball card makers for the quote marks. I wouldn't have had a clue that "Mel" is short for something.

Thank you 1940’s baseball card makers for the quote marks. I wouldn’t have had a clue that “Mel” is short for something.

Ott’s managerial career was also of some note, and helped spawn a famous quote. Ott’s easy-going managing style, and the fact that he was managing a bad Giants team, led Leo Durocher to coin the now famous phrase “nice guys finish last!” in reference to Ott and his 1946 Giants. Actually, the story is a bit muddier than that , as Durocher may not have said exactly that line, but the phrase became attributed to Durocher, and a famous saying was born.

You go, Mel!

Here’s Ogden Nash (who else?) to close it out, as only he can.

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

About Rob

Huge San Diego Padres fan, working as an economic consultant in Pasadena, CA. Contributor to the Funny Names Blog.
This entry was posted in funny names in baseball and tagged , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

39 Responses to Mel Ott

  1. unfetteredbs says:

    This was great!! I ready for baseball season!!

    • Dave says:

      It’s starting soon. I’m just hoping the Padres perform better than they have recently. Not hoping too hard, though.

      • unfetteredbs says:

        My Red Sox aren’t much better

        • Dave says:

          Haha, I beg to differ. Last year was a bad year for the Sox, no doubt, but in 15 years, we’ve only had one playoff win (that’s one game, not one series) in two appearances. In 43 years, we’ve had only 13 winning seasons, and the Sox have had as many 90-win seasons in the last 5 years as we have had in our entire history. No world series, zero no-hitters (only team in MLB with that distinction), and zero players to hit for cycle (along with the Rays, who have only been around for about 15 years). We’re a pretty impressive benchmark of major league futility 🙂

          • unfetteredbs says:

            I suppose you are right. I’m still high off of 2004 so they can stink to high heaven for the rest of my life. I can die happy 🙂

          • Dave says:

            Unfortunately Rob (who is a diehard Padres fan… poor guy) can’t say the same 🙂 I like the Sox though. We Padres fans have bad blood with the Yanks because of the 1998 World Series. Don’t tell Mark (one of our other columnists)… he’s a hardcore Yankees fan.

          • unfetteredbs says:

            Hate hate the Yanks. I cannot believe Youk went there.
            We all have our wounds as fans 🙂

          • Dave says:

            It’s true. And that was a shame about Youk, definitely.

          • Rob says:

            But hey, Chase Headley led the league in RBIs and Everth Cabrera led the league in steals last year! Go Padres! One day, one day, the Padres will win the Series…we’re just like Lefty before he won a major…best MLB team to never win the Series, perhaps? Hahaha.

  2. amb says:

    Your photo caption cracked me up!

  3. dental eggs says:

    I went to high school with a girl named Sunshine Trucker. She’s was cool.

  4. Dave says:

    That is a record! That breaks the previous record of 7 letters held by Kip Sopp and Ed Balls. Just wait until I get to “The Artist Formerly Known as Prince” whose name was a single, unpronounceable character!

    Great post today.

    • Rob says:

      Haha. I have another name in mind that is just as short, if you count the space in Mel Ott’s name as a character. You might get the name if you think carefully. I’ll probably write about him next week.

  5. Dave says:

    P.S. What is Ogden Nash saying when he talks about the pellet?

    • Rob says:

      I’m actually not sure! I tried to find someone who explains it on the internet, but no luck so far. I’ll keep looking though.

  6. Liz says:

    for those who know very little about baseball, please ‘splain “hit for the cycle.” If you enlighten me I will have learned two new sports terms this week, the first being tomato cans in boxing:-) Ott is a good last name, but it looks like someone forgot the last letter. Otto? Otte? Otta?

    • Liz–my guess is the batter must have at least four “at bats” where they must make it to first base, second base, third base and home plate respectively. I’m not certain they need to do it in order.

      • Dave says:

        You’re right. It doesn’t have to be in order. However, if you do get those hits in order, it’s called a “natural cycle.” I just looked that last little detail up. I’m thinking of renaming us “The blog of funny names and random trivia”!

        • Rob says:

          The natural cycle is extremely uncommon, it’s quite the feat! Yes, you all have it right. I don’t think a cycle is nearly as impressive as a no-hitter, but they’re about equal in terms of rarity.

      • Liz says:

        I wish I could say that makes sense… I’d rather play that game where the servers at Lambert’s throw rolls at you:-) Thanks for trying to explain!

        • Dave says:

          One last stab: You may be more familiar with the terms “single,” “double,” “triple” and “home run.” Basically if you hit all four of those in the same game, it’s a cycle.

          In either case, Lambert’s game sounds tastier! 🙂

          • Liz says:

            ah–a cycle even though you may have hit your home run first, the double next, etc as long as all four were covered in a game. And considered “natural” if they are done in ascending order. This has been the most educational week yet for me here 🙂 Refreshing to learn something outside of the food world every now and again.

        • Rob says:

          What is this game, Liz? I am not familiar with Lambert’s, or their roll throwing.

          • Liz says:

            read Fannie’s comments under my last BoFN post (elegantly named “Dining at Dickey’s” or some such thing) for more on that. You should really pay more attention 😉

  7. Pingback: New Funny Names Theory! The Ogden Nash Omission Prohibition | The Blog of Funny Names

    • Rob says:

      Haha, I see. Lambert’s sounds amazing, looks like a lot of fun! And yes, I should pay more attention, I tend to have a little trouble following all the blog happenings!

  8. bcpkid says:

    I believe Ed Ott (late 70s Pirates catcher) has the shortest name in MLB history. No relation to Mel.

  9. Bumba says:

    They often use Ott in crossword puzzles. Baseball’s Mel. He was my father’s favorite player, so I have a warm place in my heart for him.

  10. Pingback: The Blog of Funny Names Turns 500! | The Blog of Funny Names

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