MOUNT CARMEL — Muncy native and former Major League Baseball player Edward Ott served as guest speaking during a gathering of the Line Drive Club Saturday evening at Mattucci’s Willow Cafe.
Ott, a member of the 1979 Pittsburgh Pirates World Series Champions, spoke for about 30 minutes to club members, coaches and players for the Mount Carmel Area High School baseball team, and others in a banquet room of the establishment.
He offered advice to the high school players who were present while recollecting his time as a right fielder in the minors, learning the position of catcher while transitioning into the majors and the World Series.
The 67-year-old recalled a moment in fourth grade when his classmates poked fun at him after proclaiming on an assignment that he wanted to become a major league baseball player.
Acknowledging his World Championship ring, he said, “I was born and raised in Muncy … (in) small towns you can still have big dreams and ideas.”
He said his “ticket” to a professional baseball career was a right-shoulder injury a week before a high school state wrestling tournament.
Ott, who played third base in American Legion baseball league in lieu of Muncy not having a high school baseball team, was picked by the Pirates in the 23rd round in the 1970 free-agent draft.
Ott said he spent the next five seasons in the minor leagues learning the outfield. He transitioned into catcher, making his major league debut June 10, 1974.
“Remember what I put down on that piece of paper. I wanted to be baseball league baseball player. I never wrote down I wanted to be a major league third baseman, an outfielder, catcher or pitcher,” he said to the high school players. “No matter what obstacle I had to overcome or go through; I was going to make it to the major leagues, one way or the other.”
Shutting down future Hall-of-Famer Eddie Murray at the plate led to the Pirates beating the Baltimore Orioles in the World Series, Ott said.
During the seven-game series, Ott posted a .333 batting average along with knocking in 3 runs.
Ott was traded to the California Angels in April 1981. He tore his rotator cuff in 1982, missing the entire season, then played 16 minor league games the next two season before retiring.
Ott told the young Red Tornadoes that the key to success is determination and hard work.
“Anything given to you is not worth it,” he added. “If you earned it, then it’s worth having.”