Mel Ott's Last Game
When I first became interested in the game Mel Ott was the greatest player in the game, at least in the NY area during the last part of WW2.
I saw him homer in each game of a twin bill vs. the Reds, lining balls into the upper stand in right at the PG with that rapid jackknifing of his front leg and arms before his swing. Nobody else had a swing like this, and he basically did it on every pitch whether he swung or not. This was in 1945, and they were HR #'s 503 and 504. I found that out by looking on Retrosheet.
Two years later, July 1947, he pinch hit against the Cardinals and drove a couple of hard fouls down the 1st base line that bounced off the low screen in front of those boxes that jutted out almost to the foul line. He then grounded to Musial unassisted for his final MLB AB. At the time of course no one knew (except maybe Mel) that it would be his final appearance. The paper the next day said it was his fourth pinch hitting appearance of the year, and next year's Guide said Mel played in 4 games in his final year, so I kind of knew then but Retrosheet confirmed it.
In looking at the box score of that game I saw in '47, there were seven future HOFers (including Medwick for the Cards and Lombardi who singled even though Marion and Kurowski were playing on the OF grass).
Thanks for sharing that with us Bob. We always love hearing from people that were eye witnesses to the history of the game. You certainly picked one of the greats to become a fan of.
Nice contribution; thanks for it.
I was at a game at Ebbets Field during the War ('43-45, I think) and the Giants were behind the Dodgers by several runs in the ninth inning.
Mel Ott came up to pinch-hit in the ninth, and to my astonishment he was greeted with a standing ovation by the mostly pro-Brooklyn crowd. Musial and Hubbell were appreciated by those fans, but I think their feelings were stronger for Ott.