Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Mel Stottlemyre (#225)

Here's my first Mel Stottlemyre card. Mel was somewhat of a favorite player of mine as a kid, not because I liked the Yankees, or Mel in particular, but mainly because my earliest baseball glove that I can remember was a Mel Stottlemyre model, by Wilson. (In later years, I think I had (and still have) a Rod Carew glove.)

Mel was signed by the Yankees in 1961, and played in the minors for 3 1/2 seasons. After compiling a 13-3 record at triple-A Richmond for most of 1964, Mel made his major-league debut on August 12th, with a complete-game 7-3 victory over the White Sox. He also saw his only post-season action in 1964.

In his first full season (1965) Mel went 20-9 with a league-leading 18 complete games, while edging out long-time Yankees' kingpin Whitey Ford. His personal success didn't extend to the team, as the Yanks slipped from 1st place in 1964 to 6th place in '65.

Stottlemyre slumped to 12-20 in 1966, as the Yankees plummeted to the AL basement. They say a 20-game loser is a sign of a good pitcher, otherwise he wouldn't get the playing time.

Mel had some good seasons on a bad team. He won 20 games in '68 and '69, led the league with 24 complete games in '69, and made 5 all-star appearances between 1965 and 1970. Stottlemyre remained at the top of the Yankees' rotation from 1965-1973, winning in double figures each year.

In his final season (1974), he only appeared in 16 games, making his last appearance on August 16th, 10 years and 4 days after his debut.

After his playing career, Mel was a minor-league instructor for the Mariners for 5 seasons, and then a pitching coach from 1984 to 2008 for the Mets (10 seasons), Astros (2), Yankees (10), and Mariners (1).

Two of Mel's sons were also major-league pitchers: Todd (1988-2002 with the Blue Jays and others), and Mel Jr (1990 Royals).

Sunday, July 1, 2012

Final Card: Recapping all 80

For the past few years, one of the recurring series on this blog has been a player's final card. The 1967 set includes the final card for 77 players and 3 managers. Here is a quick recap of them all, in order of years of service, from Curt Simmons' 20 years to Bruce Brubaker's 2 games:

Some, like these 11, had already played their last big-league game before these cards came out. Others like Dennis Bennett, would remain in the majors for 2 more seasons, but most saw their careers end in 1967.

Also check out the 1966 and 1968 final cards.