Former ace, longtime pitching coach Mel Stottlemyre dies at 77

Manager Joe Torre (L) and pitching coach Mel Stottlemyre of the New York Yankees look on from the bench after their team fell behind 8-0 to the Boston Red Sox in the second inning at Fenway Park on July 15, 2005 in Boston, Massachusetts. (Photo by Jim McIsaac/Getty Images)

NEW YORK — Mel Stottlemyre, the former ace who later won five World Series rings as the longtime pitching coach for both the New York Yankees and Mets, has died. He was 77.

The Yankees said Stottlemyre died Sunday. He had been living in the Seattle area and had multiple myeloma for nearly 20 years.

Stottlemyre grew up near Yakima in Mabton, Washington. He also served as pitching coach for the Seattle Mariners in 2008.

“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,” said Mariners President & CEO Kevin Mather. “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.”

A five-time All-Star and three-time 20-game winner, Stottlemyre went 164-139 with a 2.97 ERA in 11 seasons, all with the Yankees. He is the last pitcher to hit an inside-the-park grand slam, accomplishing the feat in 1965.

Stottlemyre made his major league debut in August 1964, providing a big boost in the pennant race. The 22-year-old rookie then started three times against St. Louis great Bob Gibson in the World Series, eventually losing Game 7 on two days’ rest.

The Yankees went into a tailspin after that, never again reaching the postseason during his playing days. But the right-hander wound up as a key member of five teams that won the World Series as a pitching coach, working with the likes of Dwight Gooden, David Cone and Roger Clemens.

Stottlemyre oversaw the Mets’ staff that won the 1986 title during a decade in Queens and earned four rings as Yankees manager Joe Torre’s pitching coach during a decade in the Bronx.