February 27, 2021

The Baseball 100: No. 32, Mel Ott (The Athletic)


Starting in December and ending on Opening Day, Joe Posnanski will count down the 100 greatest baseball players by publishing an essay on a player every day for 100 days. In all, this project will contain roughly as many words as “Moby Dick.” Yes, we know it’s nutty. We hope you enjoy. 

Mel Ott was a nice guy. No, sorry, that’s not exactly what I meant: Mel Ott was the nice guy. You know Leo Durocher’s famous quote, “Nice guys finish last?” What he actually said was this:

“Take a look at that No. 4 there. A nicer guy never drew breath than that man there … Take a look at them. All nice guys. They’ll finish last. Nice guys. Finish last.”

So Durocher wasn’t saying “Nice guys finish last” — at least originally — as one broad statement about how all nice guys finish last. No, he was talking specifically about the New York Giants baseball club being filled with nice guys, particularly that No. 4, and how…

Read “The Baseball 100: No. 32, Mel Ott” at The Athletic