Professional Baseball Career
Otis was initially drafted by the Boston Red Sox in 1965 as a shortstop. However, he put in some time in the outfield, third base, and first base while playing in the minors. In November 1966, the Mets drafted him and jumped him all the way to Class AAA for 1967. He saw some time with the Mets late in the 1967 season, but spent 1968 in AAA again before making the major league roster for 1969. When the Braves asked for Otis when trying to trade Joe Torre, the Mets refused and Torre wound up going to the St. Louis Cardinals instead.
However, Otis immediately clashed with Mets manager Gil Hodges, who tried to make him a third baseman. After four games, Otis was sent back to the minors for a month. At the end of the season, Royals general manager Cedric Tallis sent third base prospect Joe Foy to the Mets, in exchange for the young Otis.
Foy was bogged by drug problems and was out of baseball by 1971. Meanwhile, the Royals immediately moved Otis to center field, and he became the starter for most of the 1970s. He made the American League all-star team each of his first four years with the team and won three Gold Gloves. His speed worked well with the Royals' team philosophy of speed and defense. On September 7, 1971, he became the first player since 1927 to steal five bases in one game. He led the American League with 52 stolen bases that year.
On September 18, 1977, Otis helped eight youths who were stranded after a Royals game had been rained out when flooding had prevented the boys' parents picking them up. "If it was my kids," Otis said, "I would have wanted someone to do something for them, too."
By the late 1970s and early 1980s, his fielding skills had declined, and he lost his center field job to Willie Wilson. He hit .478 with 3 home runs and 7 runs batted in the 1980 World Series. He spent a short time back in the National League with the Pittsburgh Pirates at the end of his career.
In a 17-season career, Otis posted a .277 batting average, with 193 home runs and 1,007 RBI in 1,998 games while stealing 341 bases.
In the early 1990's Otis admitted that he had used a corked bat during part of his Major League career.
Read more about this topic: Amos Otis
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