Ryczek: My favorite player, Mel Stottlemyre

From SABR member Bill Ryczek at The National Pastime Museum on January 13, 2014:

The first time I ever heard of Mel Stottlemyre was while vacationing with my family in Virginia during the summer of 1964 — long before every tidbit about minor leaguers like him could be accessed from a desk or from the palm of one’s hand. In 1964, what was happening in Richmond might as well have been happening on Mars.   

The first thing that struck me about Stottlemyre was his unusual name, a long, four-syllable moniker that came at you not with Latin lyricism but with a Teutonic bang-bang-bang-bang. The second was that he appeared to be the best pitcher in the International League during a summer when the parent New York Yankees were locked in a tight pennant race and burdened with a staff of sore-armed pitchers.

The fact that Stottlemyre was dominating the International League had come as a surprise to the Yankee brass, for he had not been a highly touted prospect. After he graduated from Yakima Valley Junior College, the Yankees signed him but did not have to give him a bonus, for no other teams were interested.

Stottlemyre did not have the type of blazing fastball that dazzled major league scouts; he relied on a sinker and excellent control. Mel pitched very well in Class A ball during his second professional season but in 1963, appearing both as a starter and reliever for Richmond, he was a mediocre 7-7 in 39 games.

Read the full article here: http://www.thenationalpastimemuseum.com/article/my-favorite-player-mel-stottlemyre

Originally published: January 13, 2014. Last Updated: January 13, 2014.