Long-time pitching coach Stottlemyre dies at 77

January 14th, 2019

SEATTLE -- Mel Stottlemyre, who served as pitching coach of the Mariners in 2008 and is the father of recent Mariners pitching coach Mel Stottlemyre Jr., died Monday after a lengthy battle with bone marrow cancer at the age of 77.

Stottlemyre is a life-long Washington state resident, growing up in Mabton in the Yakima area and retiring in Issaquah with Jean, his wife of 55 years, after his extensive career in Major League Baseball.

"Mel was an outstanding pitcher, earning his place among the best Yankees pitchers ever, and won five World [Series] titles as a pitching coach, as well as the thanks and respect of a legion of pitchers he coached from youth baseball to the Majors," Mariners president and CEO Kevin Mather said in a statement. "But more than that, he was truly one of the great gentlemen of our game.

"I was honored to get to know him when he was our pitching coach and was always pleased to see him in Seattle or in the ballpark when his son, Mel Jr., coached for us. Our thoughts are with his wife, Jean, sons, Mel Jr. and Todd, and his grandchildren."

Stottlemyre was a five-time All-Star pitcher for the Yankees and posted a 164-139 record and 2.97 ERA in 11 seasons in the Majors, then went on to become one of the most-respected pitching coaches in the game while working for the Mets (1984-93), Astros (1994-95), Yankees (1996-2005) and Mariners (2008).

Stottlemyre also worked as a roving Minor League pitching instructor with the Mariners from their inception in 1977 through the '81 season, and did a handful of games as a color commentator on TV with Dave Niehaus in '77.

Stottlemyre was diagnosed with multiple myeloma in 2000. He underwent a stem-cell transplant and four months of chemotherapy, and eventually remission was attained. But the cancer reappeared in '11. He was honored with a plaque in Yankee Stadium in a surprise ceremony in 2015, saying at the time that he expected it would be his final visit there.

Two of his sons, Todd and Mel Jr., pitched in the Major Leagues. A third son, Jason, died of leukemia in 1981 at age 11.

Mel Jr. worked as the Mariners' pitching coach the past three seasons before being released after the 2018 campaign. He's since been hired as pitching coach of the Marlins.