Mel Ott was highly sought after as a teen, but his slight 5’ 9” frame made scouts pause. The Giants signed him in 1926, and he would play for them that year, and was a starter in the Outfield two years later, making every team that passed on him curse their hesitation.
Ott did not look like a power hitter, but he was. Smacking 42 Home Runs in 1929, Ott never had another 40-plus year, but he had seven more 30-plus ones, six of which were good enough to lead the National League. No other player in the National League smacked more taters than Ott did in the 1930s.
Throughout that decade, the Giants were also very good. Winning the pennant three times, Ott led New York to a title in the first one, 1933. Ott was not just a power hitter; he batted over .300 ten times and knew how to work the count to get on base. Ott led the NL in free passes six times and On Base Percentage four times.
When the Majors began the All-Star Game in 1933, Ott participated in the second one, beginning 11 straight. A two-time OPS leader, Ott was a fixture of greatness for years, but that was aided in that late in his career; he was not one of the players in the American Military during World War II. Ott was also named a Player/Manager in 1941, though his skills were declining.
After barely playing in 1946 and 1947, Ott was released after the season. Over his career, Ott blasted 511 Home Runs and had 1,860 RBI, 2,876 hits, and a 3/4/5 career Slash Line.
In 1951, Ott entered Cooperstown in his third year on the ballot, three years after the Giants retired his #4.
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