One of the great joys of baseball is the way people you have known through the years, even casually, keep reappearing.
It was enjoyable seeing Ed Ott recently, especially since he was in a more relaxed environment as a coach for the Can-Am League’s New Jersey Jackals as they visited the New Haven County (CT) Cutters. Ott, who was the Pittsburgh Pirates’ No. 1 catcher during some of their good years from 1977-1980, had managed Allentown, PA for several seasons. He was a bit feisty, as Northeast League umpires would attest, although once again he had success, including divisional titles in both 1998 and 1999.
Now 55 and years removed from hitting .333 during the Pirates’ 1979 World Series championship as well as from the rigors of managing, Ed was playful on his way to the third base coaching box at Yale Field. I watched with amusement as he toyed with the sumo wrestlers and when he tipped one of the contestants how to win prizes in an on-field card game.
We even had a chance to reminisce about the time we had four lefthanders, including Ed and myself, in a five-man scramble at the Little League World Series Golf Tournament in Williamsport, PA. “We finished two over—and it was in a scramble,” Ott lamented. Needless to say, we didn’t win any prizes that day.