4/24/21 : Family Legacy
I had the pleasure of speaking with Rudy Rott II ( pronounced “wrote” ) yesterday at BayCare Ballpark. He’s the father of Rudy Rott III who’s a first baseman in the Phillies minor league organization. Rudy III was drafted by the Phillies in the 9th round of the 2019 draft out of Ohio University where he played four years and became the team’s all time hits leader. He earned the MAC ( Middle Atlantic Conference ) player of the year award in both his junior and senior year becoming the first player ever to win the honor twice. Prior to attending Ohio U he played four years of varsity baseball for La Crosse Aquinas High School in Wisconsin. Rudy played his initial pro season with Williamsport in 2019 and was slated for full season baseball in 2020 before the pandemic shut down the season.
One of the best things about watching Phillies minor league play on the backfields and stadiums for me is meeting the family members and chatting with them a bit. It’s great to get to know the people, even if it’s just brief conversations.
It turns out that Rudy Rott I ( Rudy II’s dad ) was a very good ballplayer himself. In fact he was on an amateur travel squad back in the 1930’s, a pioneer of sorts in travel ball in what has evolved today into a much larger scale. Rudy I eventually turned pro and played in the then Class D Florida State League for both the Deland Red Hats and Orlando Senators. He was a right handed pitcher. WWII eventually interrupted his pro career but not his love for and participation in baseball as he continued to play for military teams while serving in the Marine Corps.
While at Deland Rudy I pitched at Conrad Park which was razed in 1998 and became Melching Field ... the current home of the Stetson University baseball team. On his way to Clearwater Rudy Rott II told me that he stopped at Stetson and asked the coach if he could have a moment to stand on the mound there and think about how his father had played ball on the very same site many years ago. He said it was an emotional moment for him in remembrance of his dad’s baseball career ... pretty cool stuff in my book👍.
Rudy III is having a great minor league camp thus far this spring. He’s playing with the High A group and has been hitting the baseball hard, loud and often. It would appear that he’s headed for Lakewood to open the season with the Jersey Shore Blue Claws.
Every family has history ... I think it’s pretty cool that the Rott’s have a legacy of excelling in baseball. From grandfather Rudy I’s experiences in the 30’s and 40’s to Rudy II who played at Milton College in the 1970’s and now Rudy III, a pro player in the Phillies system climbing the ladder. It’s more than just boxscores, game notes and wins and losses. Baseball is about people and families ... at least for this old “reporter”. It’s a legacy of life.
Happy Day, Happy Baseball ⚾️