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Former Mariners pitching coach Mel Stottlemyre Sr. dies at 77

Mel Stottlemyre Sr. spent the 2008 season as Seattle Mariners pitching coach. (AP)

Mel Stottlemyre Sr., a five-time All-Star pitcher and legendary MLB pitching coach, has died at the age of 77.

Stottlemyre spent the 2008 season as Seattle Mariners pitching coach, but he is perhaps best known as pitching coach for the New York Yankees from 1996 to 2005, a tenure during which the Yankees won four World Series championships (1996, 1998-2000). As a player, Stottlemyre made his MLB debut for the Yankees in 1961 and spent 11 seasons with New York, compiling a 164-139 record with a 2.97 ERA and registering three 20-win seasons.

“Mel was an outstanding pitcher, earning his place among the best Yankees pitchers ever, and won five World 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.”

Though born in Missouri, Stottlemyre grew up in Washington and starred at both Mabton High School and Yakima Valley Community College. Following his playing career, Stottlemyre was a roving minor league pitching instructor for the Mariners from their inception in 1977 through 1981, as well as serving as Dave Niehaus’ color commentator in a few TV broadcasts in 1977.

He won his first World Series in 1986 as pitching coach for the New York Mets. In addition to the Mets (1984-93), Yankees (1996-2003) and Mariners (2008), he spent time as pitching coach for the Houston Astros (1994-95).

Stottlemyre, who retired to Issaquah, was diagnosed in 2000 with multiple myeloma, a cancer of the blood plasma. He underwent a stem cell transplant in September 2000, and was in remission until the cancer returned in 2010.

Two of Stottlemyre’s sons had careers in baseball: Todd Stottlemyre spent 14 years in the majors as a pitcher, while Mel Stottlemyre Jr. had a brief run with the Kansas City Royals before following in his father’s footsteps as a pitching coach, including three years with the Mariners from 2016-18.

In addition to Mel Jr. and Todd, Stottlemyre Sr. is survived by his wife Jean. He was preceded in death by a son, Jason, who died from leukemia as a child.