In 1928, starting his third year as a major leaguer, a 19 year-old Mel Ott arrived in Hot Springs for Spring Training. He arrived by car after being picked up at his home in New Orleans by New York Giants manager John J. McGraw.
As soon as McGraw and the teenaged Ott arrived in the city, and to the astonishment of fans and other players, McGraw began working the young outfielder at second base. It was a surprise because Mel Ott had never played second base or anywhere else other than outfield during his career. McGraw said that it was just an experiment because the position was open and that he was just exploring the change. Ott's intelligence was impressive and McGraw thought he would learn the position quickly.
Ott did play five games at second base during the 1928 season but he spent a majority as the starting right fielder for the Giants and ended the season with a batting average of .322.
Mel Ott was inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1951 after 22 seasons with the New York Giants. He ended his career with a lifetime batting average of .304 with 511 home runs.