Called up from Richmond in midsummer 1964 for the pennant race, the sinkerballer went 9-3 to help the Yankees win their fifth consecutive AL pennant. In the World Series against the Cardinals, he won Game Two with a complete-game 8-3 victory and pitched well in Game Five, surrendering two runs in seven innings for a no-decision. But, coming back on two days’ rest (ace Whitey Ford had arm trouble), Stottlemyre lost the final game when he surrendered three runs in the fourth inning.
Even as the Yankee dynasty collapsed around him in 1965, Stottlemyre went 20-9, leading the AL in innings and complete games. He led the league with 20 losses in 1966, and tied for the lead with 18 losses in 1972, his only losing seasons before his final campaign. Through the Yankees’ fallow period he remained the classy, reliable staff ace and had two more 20-win seasons (1968-69), serving as one of the team’s few ties to a more successful era. He pitched at least 250 innings in each of his nine full seasons. A torn rotator cuff forced his retirement in 1974, just before the Yankees began a new era.
Stottlemyre is currently the Mets’ pitching coach, and supervised the conversion of Dwight Gooden from a pure power pitcher to a wilier and hopefully more durable style. His son Todd pitches for the Blue Jays, and Mel Jr. played in the Mets’ farm system.