Cover image for Mel Ott : the little giant of baseball
Mel Ott : the little giant of baseball
Stein, Fred.
Personal Author:
Publication Information:
Jefferson, N.C. : McFarland, [1999]

Physical Description:
vi, 233 pages : illustrations ; 23 cm
Personal Subject:
Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
GV865.O8 S84 1999 Adult Non-Fiction Non-Fiction Area

On Order



Melvin Thomas Ott was smaller than most home run sluggers, at 5'9", 170 pounds, but he could sure hit 'em as far as the big boys. Over a 22-year playing career with the New York Giants, Ott slapped 511 homers, then a National League record. At the tender age of 20, he erupted on the scene with career highs of 42 home runs and 152 RBIs. He went on to win or share six home run titles, appear in 11 All-Star Games and play in three World Series. It was a foregone conclusion when Ott was elected to the National Baseball Hall of Fame in 1951. This is the first-ever biography of baseball's renowned "nice guy." Every aspect of his remarkable baseball career is covered, from his jump to the big leagues at age 17 to his tragic death at age 49. Ott's managerial and broadcasting careers are also discussed.

Author Notes

The late Fred Stein was a retired federal official and environmental consultant and a member of the Society for American Baseball Research since 1976. He wrote written three books on the Giants and contributed articles to USA Today Baseball Weekly and the SABR publications. A native New Yorker, he lived in Springfield, Virginia.

Reviews 1

Booklist Review

Mel Ott hit 511 home runs for the New York Giants between 1926 and 1947, and he managed the Giants from 1942 through 1948. What makes his story of interest today, however, is the way it captures baseball in a very different era: before and during World War II. Stein evokes the period nostalgically but accurately: a time when fans followed the game on the radio and when the press, given to hyperbole, created archetypes out of star athletes. Ott was the nice guy, the 17-year-old from Gretna, Louisiana, who impressed hard-bitten Giants manager John McGraw with his sweet stroke and odd stance (right leg lifted off the ground). And yet, as Stein recounts, Ott's very niceness led to the inevitable rap of being not tough enough, and when he was replaced as manager by the fiery Leo Durocher ("Nice guys finish last"), the nice guy had come full circle. The best baseball myths always carry a bittersweet tang, and this first biography of Mel Ott passes that taste test with ease. --Leon Wagner