Mel Stottlemyre in 2005

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Yankees Great Mel Stottlemyre Dies

5-Time All-Star Pitcher Won 5 World Series As A Coach

January 14, 2019 - 3:50 pm
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By WFAN.com

Mel Stottlemyre, a five-time All-Star pitcher for the Yankees who went on to become their pitching coach during the Joe Torre dynasty, has died.

Stottlemyre died Sunday after a long battle with bone marrow cancer. He was 77. 

Pitching for the Yankees from 1964-74, he was 164-139 with a 2.97 ERA and 1,257 strikeouts. He was a 20-game winner three times.

The native of Washington state had the misfortune of playing for the Yankees largely between their World Series runs in the early 1960s and late 1970s, playing only in the Fall Classic as a rookie -- in which the Yankees lost to the St. Louis Cardinals in seven games. 

Stottlemyre, however, found plenty of team success as a pitching coach. Not only did he win four World Series rings while on the Yankees' staff from 1996-2005, he also won a world title as the pitching coach for the 1986 Mets.

“Beyond his tremendous accomplishments as a player and coach, Mel Stottlemyre was beloved for his class, dignity and fighting spirit," Yankees owner Hal Steinbrenner said in a statement. "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."

“I am sorry to hear of Mel’s passing,” Torre, the Yankees' manager from 1996-2007, said in a statement. “Mel was a role model to us all and the toughest man I have ever met. Sometimes a manager hires a friend to be their coach but with Mel, as with (bench coach Don Zimmer), he was my coach who became a dear friend and someone who became very special to me."

Some of the pitching greats Stottlemyre mentored include Doc Gooden, Ron Darling, Andy Pettitte, Roger Clemens and Mariano Rivera. Stottlemyre also spent time as the pitching coach with the Houston Astros and Seattle Mariners.

"One of the classiest men I have ever known on or off the field," Darling said in a statement. "A wonderful pitching coach and father figure to the young pitchers on our Mets teams in the 1980's. Devotion to his wife Jean, his sons and his pitchers will never be forgotten by New York or those he mentored. Today is the saddest day."

"He was more than a great pitcher and fantastic pitching coach," David Cone, whom Stottlemyre coached on both the Mets and Yankees, wrote on Twitter. "He was a father figure and touched so many in a positive way. We lost a great man. RIP Mel Stottlemyre."

MORE: Mike Francesa: Mel Stottlemyre Was One Of The Classic Gentlemen That Baseball Produces

"Mel was more than a pitching coach to me. He was a dear friend," said Gooden, who also pitched for both New York teams under Stottlemyre's tutelage. "Everything I accomplished in the game was because of him. He taught me so much more than balls and strikes. I'll miss him dearly."

The Yankees dedicated a plaque to Stottlemyre in Monument Park in 2015, a surprise gesture on Old Timers' Day.

Stottlemyre was first diagnosed with multiple myeloma in 1999 and spent two decades fighting the disease, the Daily News reported

He is survived by his wife, Jean, and two sons -- Todd and Mel Jr. -- both of whom pitched in the majors. He had another son, Jason, who died of cancer in 1981 at age 11.