Rare Mel Ott game-used jersey up for auction by Leland’s
Mel Ott, former major league player and native of Gretna, is widely appreciated as the best ballplayer to come out of the New Orleans area. He was 16 years old when he signed his first professional baseball contract in 1926 with the New York Giants for a bonus of $400. He went on to play 22 seasons in the majors. Now, one of the jerseys worn by Ott with the Giants in 1931 is being auctioned by Lelands, a leading sports auction house. The starting bid is $100,000.
The press release for the public auction that ends on December 11 states, “Fewer than five jerseys worn by the Hall of Fame slugger and one of the greatest hitters in MLB history have survived the passage of time and been offered for public sale.” The press release also points out one of the features of this rare item is that “the jersey has been definitively photo-matched, referencing a rare baseball card of 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 National League leader in home runs (511). The left-handed-hitting slugger with a unique batting style was an All-Star selection in 12 seasons. Ott had a career slash line of .304/.414/.533. He still ranks 15th all-time in runs scored, 25th in home runs, and 13th in RBIs. He was the player-manager for the Giants from 1942 to 1947, while also managing for part of the 1948 season.
Ott died in 1958 after being seriously injured in an automobile accident on the Mississippi Gulf Coast. He was 49 years old. Mel Ott Park in Gretna is named for him.
Click here to access the Lelands website for the Mel Ott jersey auction page.
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New Orleans baseball historian
Richard Cuicchi, Founder of the Metro New Orleans Area Baseball Player Database and a New Orleans area baseball historian, maintains TheTenthInning.com website. He also authored the book, Family Ties: A Comprehensive Collection of Facts and Trivia About Baseball’s Relatives. He has contributed to numerous SABR-sponsored Bio Project and Games Project books.