Longtime Yankees ace and pitching coach Mel Stottlemyre passed away Sunday near his home in Seattle following a long battle with bone marrow cancer. He was 77.
Yankees chairman Hal Steinbrenner issued the following statement earlier today:
“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. 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, a right-handed pitcher, joined the Yankees at age 22 in 1964. He emerged as the team’s best starting pitcher in 1965 and served as the staff ace during the franchise’s lean years from 1965-74. Stottlemyre was part of the 1964 AL pennant-winning team as a rookie, but never returned to the postseason as a player.
In parts of eleven big league seasons Stottlemyre went 164-139 with a 2.97 ERA before shoulder trouble forced him into retirement. He was selected to five All-Star Games and received MVP votes in four different seasons. Stottlemyre fell off the Hall of Fame ballot in 1980, his first year of eligibility. He spent his entire playing career with the Yankees.
Following his playing career, Stottlemyre jumped into the minor league coaching ranks with the Mariners, and eventually worked his way up to the big leagues. He served as pitching coach with the Mets (1984-93), Astros (1994-95), Yankees (1996-2005), and Mariners (2008). Stottlemyre won World Series rings with the 1986 Mets as well as the 1996 and 1998-2000 Yankees.
In 2015, the Yankees surprised Stottlemyre at Old Timers’ Day and announced he would be honored with a plaque in Monument Park. It was a very touching moment and ceremony. Here’s the video: