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.
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.