Ex-Yankees Pitcher And Coach Mel Stottlemyre Dies At 77 After Battle With Bone Marrow Cancer
Mel Stottlemyre, a longtime Yankees pitcher and major league coach, died on Sunday after an eight-year battle with bone marrow cancer. He was 77.
Known as a dominant right-handed pitcher, Stottlemyre reached the big leagues with New York in 1964 and stayed with them for the rest of his 11-year career. Despite being on the winningest club in baseball history, Stottlemyre only went to one World Series, in his first year. He’d lose that series in a decisive Game 7. During his time in the majors, he went 164-139 with a career 2.97 ERA. He’d be an All-Star in five seasons and receive MVP votes in four. He also hit seven homers in his career, including one inside-the-park grand slam. Despite his individual success, Stottlemyre retired without a ring, joining the Yankees two years after their 1962 championship and leaving three years before their 1977 title.
After his retirement, the righty made his way back to baseball as a coach. He’d work his way up through the minors with the Seattle Mariners before cracking into the majors as a pitching coach with the New York Mets. He stayed with them for ten seasons and win his first ring in 1986. He then served for two years out in Houston with the Astros and then finally made his way back to the Yankees in 1996. He won four more rings with the Bombers and stayed on as pitching coach until 2005. He returned for one more season with Seattle in 2008 before finally retiring.
Yankees chairman Hal Steinbrenner issued the following statement after hearing about Stottlemyre’s passing:
“Beyond his tremendous accomplishments as a player and coach, Mel Stottlemyre was beloved for his class, dignity and fighting spirit. His contributions to different eras in our history guided us through difficult times and brought us some of our greatest all-time success,” Steinbrenner wrote. “As a result, Mel’s popularity transcended generations, all of whom thought of him as their own. His plaque in Monument Park will forever serve to celebrate the significance of his legacy. His passing is a tremendous loss to the Yankees and all those in the baseball community, and we extend our deepest condolences to Mel’s wife, Jean, and the entire Stottlemyre family.”
Stottlemyre grew up in Mabton, Washington. He’s survived by his wife Jean and their two sons, Todd and Mel Jr. Both also became big league pitchers. Stottlemyre had a third son, Jason, who died of leukemia in 1981.