Mel Stottlemyre, a three-time 20-game winner and five-time All-Star who went on to become one of the Yankees’ most iconic coaches, has died at the age of 77.
Stottlemyre, the father of two Major League pitchers, had suffered from multiple myeloma for nearly two decades. The Yankees announced his death on Monday.
To younger baseball fans, Stottlemyre was best known as the Yankees’ pitching coach during their 1990s heyday. Stottlemyre joined the Bombers’ staff in 1996 when Joe Torre took over as manager and remained pitching coach for 10 of Torre’s 12 years as manager. He was a fixture during one of the most successful stretches in the team’s storied history. He also served for 10 years as pitching coach of the Mets, guiding the team to a World Series title in 1986 and helping to develop Dwight “Doc” Gooden, who quickly became one of the game’s most dominant pitchers in the mid-80s.
During his 10 years as pitching coach of the Yankees, New York won nine division titles, six American League pennants and four World Series titles. He was pitching coach when Gooden pitched a no-hitter in 1996, when David Wells pitched a perfect game in 1998 and when David Cone pitched one a year later.
Mel Stottlemyre’s Stats & Legacy
Stottlemyre’s Yankees legacy goes back decades further than his tenure as pitching coach. He pitched 11 Major League seasons, all in the Bronx, from 1964 through 1974, helping to lead the Yankees to the American League pennant in 1964 and pitching two games in New York’s seven-game World Series loss to the Cardinals.
Stottlemyre won 20 or more games in 1965, 1968 and 1969, at times serving as a rare bright spot on uncharacteristically bad teams in the late ’60s. He was a five-time All-Star who won 164 games and finished with a 2.97 career ERA. In 1965, his first full year in the majors, Stottlemyre went 20-9 with a 2.63 ERA and a league-leading 18 complete games and 291 innings pitched.
Stottlemyre is survived by his wife, Jean Stottlemyre, and the couple’s two sons, Todd Stottlemyre and Mel Stottlemyre Jr.
Mel Stottlemyre Jr. pitched just one season for the 1990 Kansas City Royals. Todd Stottlemyre, though, won 138 games during his 14-year career and was a member of the Blue Jays championship teams in 1992 and 1993.
The Yankees surprised Mel Stottlemyre Sr. with a plaque in Monument Park in 2015 during the team’s Old-Timers’ Day ceremony.
“This is, without a doubt, the biggest surprise I’ve ever had,” Stottlemyre said when presented with the plaque. “Today, in this stadium, there is no one that’s happier to be here on this field than myself.”
Watch the video of the presentation, MC’d by Yankees announcers Michael Kay and John Sterling, below:
Mel Stottlemyre’s Career Highlights
Here are some highlights from Stottlemyre’s career as a player:
- In 11 seasons (1964-1974), Stottlemyre went 164-139 with a 2.97 ERA.
- Stottlemyre was called up mid-way through the 1964 season and became an integral part of a Yankees team that won its fifth straight pennant, going 9-3 down the stretch with a 2.06 ERA.
- Stottlemyre had two decisions in the 1964 World Series against the Cardinals, getting the win in an 8-3 victory in Game 2 and the loss in the decisive Game 7 opposite Bob Gibson.
- On July 20, 1965, Stottlemyre hit an inside-the-park grand slam against the Red Sox — one of his seven career homers.
- Stottlemeyre won 12 or more games nine straight times from 1965 through 1973 despite being on teams that finished 10th in the American League in 1966 and ninth in 1967. He lost a league-leading 20 games in 1966, when the Yankees went 70-89.
- Stottlemyre is one of 38 people honored with a plaque in Monument Park at Yankee Stadium.