Mel Stottlemyre, who pitched for the New York Yankees for 11 seasons and won five World Series titles as a pitching coach for the Yankees and the Mets, died Sunday in Seattle after battling cancer for almost 20 years. He was 77.
Stottlemyre’s wife, Jean, told the New York Times that he died as a result of complications of multiple myeloma, a type of blood cancer.
Enshrined in Monument Park by the Yankees on Old Timers Day in 2015, Stottlemyre had a career record of 164-139 with a 2.97 ERA and 1,257 strikeouts from 1964-74. He won 20 games or more in a season on three occasions (1965, ’68 and ’69), lost 20 games in a season (1966) and was a five-time All-Star selection. He had seven career home runs, including an inside-the-park grand slam in 1965, and once had five hits in a game.
“Today in this Stadium, there is no one that’s happier to be on this field than myself,” Stottlemyre said after being surprised by the Yankees with his plaque in 2015. “This is such a shock to me because the era I played in is an era where, for the most part, the Yankees have tried over the years, I think, somewhat to forget a little bit. … If I never get to come to another Old Timers Day, I will take these memories and I’ll start another baseball club, coaching up there, wherever they need me.”
After his playing career, Stottlemyre was a scout with the Seattle Mariners before he was hired as the pitching coach for the Mets in 1984. In 10 seasons there, he mentored the likes of Doc Gooden, Ron Darling and Sid Fernandez and won his first World Series ring in 1986.
After a two-season stint as pitching coach of the Houston Astros, Stottlemyre rejoined the Yankees in 1996 and quickly factored into the team’s success as they won the World Series that season — the first of four championships, including three straight from 1998-2000, with him in that role. Roger Clemens, Andy Pettitte and Mariano Rivera were some of the pitching stalwarts of that era.
Stottlemyre resigned from the Yankees in 2005, and he served as pitching coach of the Mariners in 2008 before retiring after that season.
The Yankees and people associated with the team expressed their condolences on social media Monday.
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. We extend our deepest condolences to Mel’s wife Jean & the entire Stottlemyre family. – Hal Steinbrenner pic.twitter.com/wc3X2jbiQ3
So sad to hear of the passing of Mel Stottlemyre a very decent and kind man to say the least. Tremendous pitching coach & pitcher in his day. #RIPMel
Mel Stottlemyre was class personified. What a battle he waged with multiple myeloma. 20 years ago he was given about 5 years. He never stopped fighting. RIP.
He was more than a great pitcher and fantastic pitching coach. He was a father figure and touched so many in a positive way. We lost a great man. RIP Mel Stottlemyre
Two of his sons — Todd Stottlemyre and Mel Jr. — were second-generation major league pitchers. Another son, Jason, died of leukemia at age 11.
“He is the greatest champion that I ever met,” Todd Stottlemyre posted on Facebook on Dec. 23 when his father was ill. “… I love you pops.”