COOPERSTOWN, N.Y. – Robin Yount was an every day Major League Baseball player at age 18. He debuted with the Brewers just one year after being selected by Milwaukee as the third overall pick of the 1973 draft.
Yount's early success at the big league level was similar to that of another Hall of Famer: Mel Ott. Ott was one of very few players in the history of baseball to jump from high school baseball to the majors. Ott debuted with the New York Giants in 1926 at age 17.
This week, 36 years ago, 19-year old Robin Yount played his 242nd game as a teenager, breaking the record set by Ott.
Ott spent his entire 22-year professional baseball career with the Giants. He was the youngest player to hit 100 home runs. And he remains the youngest player to hit for the cycle at 20 years old on May 16, 1929.
"He is a standout with me," legendary Giants manager and Hall of Famer John McGraw once said. "Ott is the best-looking young hitter in my time with the Giants."
In 1937, Ott passed Rogers Hornsby to become the National League's all-time home run leader. Ott held that record until 1966 when Willie Mays surpassed him.
Ott was the first National League player to exceed 500 home runs. He was also the first National League player to post eight consecutive seasons with over 100 runs batted in. Since Ott first accomplished this feat, Willie Mays, Sammy Sosa, Chipper Jones and Albert Pujols have done the same.
Similar to Ott, Yount played his entire 20-year career with the team who first signed him: the Brewers.
Despite going hitless in his first four major league games, Yount became an excellent hitter and collected more hits in the 1980s than any other MLB player. He had his best offensive season in 1982 with 210 hits, 46 doubles, 29 home runs and 114 runs batted in. That same year, Yount was named American League Most Valuable Player and was the recipient of the Silver Slugger and Gold Glove awards.
Yount won the 1982 AL MVP as a shortstop, then posted another MVP season in 1989 as a center fielder.
On Sept. 9, 1992 Yount became the 17th member of baseball's prestigious 3,000-hit club. Yount would retire after the following season, with 3,142 career hits.
Following stellar careers that began in their teens, both Mel Ott and Robin Yount were elected into the National Baseball Hall of Fame. Ott was selected by the Baseball Writers Association of America in 1955 and Yount was selected on his first ballot in 1999.
"I never dreamed of being in the Hall of Fame," Yount said in his induction speech. "Standing here with all these great players was beyond any of my dreams."
Nicole Pappas was the public relations intern in the Class of 2011 Frank and Peggy Steele Internship Program at the Baseball Hall of Fame