Mel Ott, a former major league player and a native of Gretna, is widely regarded as the best baseball player from the New Orleans area. He was 16 when he signed his first professional baseball contract in 1926 with the New York Giants for a bonus of $ 400. He then played 22 seasons in the majors. Today, one of the jerseys worn by Ott with the Giants in 1931 is auctioned off by Lelands, one of the leading sports auction houses. The starting bid is $ 100,000.
The press release from the public auction which ends Dec. 11 states: “Less than five jerseys worn by the Hall of Fame hitter and one of the greatest hitters in MLB history have survived the passage of time and were offered for public sale. The press release also points out that one of the hallmarks of this rare item is that “the jersey has been definitely photo-matched, referencing a rare baseball card from Ott in 1933”.
Ott was inducted into the National Baseball Hall of Fame in 1951. At the time of his retirement as a player in 1947, he was the leader of the National League for the homestays (511). The left-handed hitter with a unique hitting style has been an All-Star selection in 12 seasons. Ott had a career slash line of .304 / .414 / .533. He still ranks 15th all-time for runs scored, 25th for home runs and 13th for RBIs. He coached the Giants from 1942 to 1947, while managing part of the 1948 season.
Ott died in 1958 after being seriously injured in a car crash on the Mississippi Gulf Coast. He was 49 years old. Mel Ott Park in Gretna is named after him.
Click on here to access the Lelands website for Mel Ott’s jersey auction page.
New Orleans baseball historian
Richard Cuicchi, founder of the Metro New Orleans Baseball Players Database and New Orleans Area Baseball Historian, manages the TheTenthInning.com website. He is also the author of the book Family Ties: A Comprehensive Collection of Facts and Trivia About Baseball’s Relatives. He has contributed to numerous Bio Project and Games Project books sponsored by the SABR.