Friday, July 22, 2011

#354 Cubs Rookie Stars: Billy Ott and Jack Warner

#354 Cubs Rookie Stars: Billy Ott and Jack Warner
Wow, this is another one of those two-player rookie cards in which one player looks old enough to be the other's father. For your information, the baby-faced Billy Ott was actually 23 in 1964, when this photo was likely taken. Warner, who looks a little more world-weary, was also 23 at that time, and is only 4 months older than Ott.

Fun facts about Billy Ott:

-A native of New York City, Billy attended St. John's University before signing with the Cubs in 1960.

-He got off to a fast start in the minors, hitting .307 for Class C St. Cloud in 1961 and jumping to AA San Antonio the following year. There, he hit .281 and slugged .521, with 33 doubles, 23 home runs, and 88 RBI.

-Chicago made Ott a September callup in 1962. Just 21 years old, he appeared in 12 games as a pinch hitter and right fielder. He struggled in 30 trips to the plate, managing 4 hits and 2 walks for a .143 average and .200 on-base percentage.

-Billy did hit his first and only big league homer on September 17, 1962, a seventh-inning solo shot against Ray Washburn of the Cardinals.

-His bat went cold after being promoted to AAA Salt Lake City in 1963. He batted .234/.326/.331 for the season, and improved only marginally to .249/.359/.371 the next year.

-Despite his subpar numbers at AAA, the Cubs promoted Billy to the big leagues again in June 1964. He stayed for a month, appearing in 20 games and batting .179 with a single RBI in 39 at-bats.

-Ott got a rare start on June 21, 1964, and celebrated by singling and doubling in four trips to the plate against hard-throwing Bob Veale of the Pirates. He scored both Cubs runs in a 2-1 victory; it was the only multi-hit game of his career.

-The Orioles acquired him prior to the 1965 season. He played 88 games for AAA Rochester, hitting .264 with 2 home runs. It was his final season as a pro.

-In parts of 2 big league seasons, Billy hit .164 with a home run and 3 RBI.

-Had a post-baseball career as a police officer and professional locksmith back in New York City.

Fun facts about Jack Warner:

-Jack was born in Brandywine, WV. He attended high school in Alliance, OH, then signed with the Cubs in 1958.

-He made Chicago's Opening Day roster in 1962, in his fifth professional season. His big league career started with five straight scoreless relief appearances, but he allowed seven runs total in his next two outings and was sent back to the minors with a 7.71 ERA in seven innings.

-Warner fared better in a few cups of coffee at the major league level in 1963, posting a 2.78 ERA in 8 appearances totaling 22.2 innings.

-He was saddled with a tough loss on July 21, 1963. He entered a Cubs-Pirates game in the bottom of the eleventh inning in relief of Jim Brewer, who had allowed back-to-back one-out singles. Jack wriggled out of the jam by striking out Donn Clendenon and inducing a popup off the bat of Bob Bailey. He kept Pittsburgh off the scoreboard with perfect frames in the twelfth and thirteenth innings, and even singled against Don Cardwell in the top of the fourteenth for his only big league hit. But he was stranded at first base, and the Bucs finally solved him in the bottom of the fourteenth with three singles to win the game.

-Jack kept riding the Salt Lake City-to-Wrigley Field shuttle in 1964, allowing three earned runs in nine and one-third innings of big league work (2.89 ERA). He was up with the Cubs in late May, again in mid-June, and once more in September.

-Though he spent most of the first half of the 1965 season with the Cubbies, Warner was used sparingly and with terrible results. He allowed runs in 8 of his 11 appearances, leaving him with an 8.62 ERA in 15.2 innings. The Cubs shipped him out at the end of June, and he caught on with the Mets' AAA Buffalo squad for the rest of the season.

-He spent one more year at AAA, splitting time with Seattle and Phoenix before hanging up his spikes at age 25. In parts of 9 minor league seasons, he was 51-30 with a 3.21 ERA.

-In parts of 4 seasons with the Cubs, Jack was 0-2 with a 5.10 ERA.

#354 Cubs Rookie Stars: Billy Ott and Jack Warner (back)


  1. Kevin, I think that this is the 2nd Jack Warner that appears on a '65 Topps rookie card. The other guy I believe was an infielder on an L.A. Angels card posted earlier.

  2. Yep. In fact the Diamond Giveaway at the Topps site lists both cards when Jack Warner comes up.

  3. You're both correct! For what it's worth, Baseball Reference goes with "Jackie" Warner for the Angels infielder.