If you came here for information on the Pokemon cards of Meloetta, click here. If you came here for information on the Indiana town of Mellott, click here. This article is about the retired baseball player Mel Ott (disambiguation).
While my “modern collection” consists solely of a Dwight Gooden binder and about 10 other cards, I was thrilled to add this to my collection. Not having actively collected or even really looked much at Heritage or Archives, the anachronisms of the concept still mess with me in a fun way.
When I look at the photograph I don’t see 2019. I see 1929.
When I look at the card design (but not too closely) I don’t see 2019. I see 1975.
Then again, the last line of stats is from 1947, which better suggests a 1948 issue than a 2019. (And yes, there is such a thing as 1948 Topps.)
I haven’t looked at any other Archives cards of all-time greats, but I hope they’re all this chronologically ambiguous. Part 1929, part 1948, part 1975, part 2001, but ultimately 2019…
This Mel Ott is hard to date!
But is that all I got? Just another run-of-the-Mel “new cards are confusing” article? What every reader Ott to know by now is that is that it ain’t over ’til I run out of bad puns. Seriously. Would a “groan man” kid? By the time I’m done here there will be so much melottery tomfoolery you’ll feel like you won the #MELottery!
The second half of our story comes from a practice I recommend highly to any collector wanting to turn a few moments appreciation of a card into the destruction of an entire weekend. Yes, I’m talking about tracking down the source image in print.
Getty dated the photograph as from March 1, 1929, and included a caption that was either psychic or not used until several months later. (Also see RMY Auction archive for same result.)
“The Giants’ baby home run slugger…Here is another new photograph of Melvin Ott, 20-year-old outfielder of the N.Y. Giants, who has stepped to the fore as one of the leading home run busters of the National League. On July 15th, Chuck Klein took the lead leadership at 25, by hitting three over the fence, but Ott is right behind him with 25 to his credit.”
Now this is exactly what I bought my newspapers.com subscription for. Could I find the home run buster’s baseball card photo in an actual newspaper? As it turns out, I could not. Still, I found some pretty good stuff.
In the days after Chuck Klein put three over the fence in a doubleheader, no fewer than 43 sports pages from around the country sought to reassure readers that the Giants wunderkind in pursuit of the Philadelphia slugger did indeed like women!
This lengthy caption was provided along with the headline and non sequitur photo collage…
While some papers, but not all, included an actual article, in which Ott proclaimed himself 100% masher, 0% mashee.
Ott’s first person protests aside, the article would have us believe that Master Melvin is “misunderstood girl-wise,” “flees at the sight of a girl,” and “is afraid of women.” In other words, he was me in high school but handsome and good at sports.
Like I said, this Mel Ott is hard to date!
Lest you wonder if the mash notes simply piled up in vain, this October 23, 1930, article from The Town Talk (Alexandria, LA) should settle the matter.
So there you have it: the bashful young slugger is now married–and to a playmate no less! I have to imagine this Mel Ott would have been really hard to date!
extra for experts
I know among our readership we have some historians and SABR high rollers who are no doubt aware that Master Melvin died at the age of 49 following injuries from a car accident. If you find yourself in the New Orleans area, his memorial at Metairie Cemetery is hard to miss and is even visible from the interstate. Here is a pic I took on my first trip home with my fiancee.
So yes, our handsome slugger has gone from just under six feet to just six feet under, and I know some of you are just waiting for me to go there…
We started this post trying to figure out what the hell year it was. Well now, if bot-generated personal ads for dead guys ain’t peak 2019, I don’t know what is!