The sad news broke earlier today that former Yankees pitcher and coach Mel Stottlemyre passed away at the age of 77. Stottlemyre lost his fight with bone marrow cancer, the disease he battled bravely since being diagnosed nearly two decades ago.
Stottlemyre was a star pitcher with the Yankees during the 60s and 70s and won several rings as a coach, both with the Mets in 1986 and as a member of Joe Torre’s Yankees coaching staffs. Moreover, though, Stottlemyre was a beloved member of the baseball community, a man adored just as much for his decency as for his ability.
The outpouring of support around MLB and the Yankees community has been tremendous in the wake of Stottlemyre’s death:
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— New York Yankees (@Yankees) January 14, 2019
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— Ken Singleton (@29alltime) January 14, 2019
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— David Cone (@dcone36) January 14, 2019
Saddened to hear of the passing of Mel Stottlemyre. Such a classy and kind man. Epitome of a true Yankee. He’ll be missed— Phil Hughes (@PJHughes45) January 14, 2019
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.— Michael Kay (@RealMichaelKay) January 14, 2019
Mel Stottlemyre was rich in the trait that separates great baseball coaches: Relentless empathy. I remember the day he told reporters, in his stoic manner, about his cancer diagnosis -- back in 2001. His handling years and years of illness was remarkable.— Buster Olney (@Buster_ESPN) January 14, 2019
We are devastated to hear about the loss of our friend Mel Stottlemyre. An excellent player and coach, and an even more incredible man. Our thoughts are with the entire Stottlemyre family. pic.twitter.com/vb7AmomaKE— Yogi Berra Museum (@Yogi_Museum) January 14, 2019
Mel Stottlemyre sharing a laugh with Mariano Rivera in Seattle, 2013. RIP Mel. #yankees https://t.co/hYH5kUXeqY— Sweeny Murti (@YankeesWFAN) January 14, 2019
Saddened to learn of the passing of Mel Stottlemyre. A nice, honest man. His pitchers so respected him because he was not a fair weather coach. He would ardently defend a Cone, Gooden or Pettitte in their tough moments. And the players felt his loyalty and sincerity. #RIP— Joel Sherman (@Joelsherman1) January 14, 2019
Saddened to read the news of Mel Stottlemyre's death; he was a good man with a good heart. Mel was the Yankees' pitching coach during my first five years on the beat and he was always friendly and happy to answer questions. Glad I had a chance to get to know him. RIP, Mel.— Mark Feinsand (@Feinsand) January 14, 2019
Mel Stottlemyre, RIP. Excellent pitcher and pitching coach, very nice man.— Jon Heyman (@JonHeyman) January 14, 2019
I met Mel Stottlemyre for the first time before a Subway Series game in 2004, when he was on the Yankees' coaching staff. He was a gentleman in every sense of the word. A fantastic pitcher, coach and person. RIP, Mel. https://t.co/fdewPFnFBJ— Bryan Hoch (@BryanHoch) January 14, 2019