Mele was a basketball star at NYU in the early 1940s, but pursued a pro baseball career. A journeyman player with a respectable bat, he played for seven teams in eight years. He tied for the AL lead with 36 doubles as Washington’s right fielder in 1951. After the Senators moved to Minneapolis in 1961, Mele replaced Cookie Lavagetto as manager mid-season. He brought the Twins in second in 1962, and in 1965 he took them to the World Series, which they lost to the Dodgers in seven games.