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Jim Furtado
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Sunday, June 21, 2015

Yankees Surprise Mel Stottlemyre With Plaque

Old Timers Day at Yankee Stadium, a day like no other:

Stottlemyre, who had to convince his oncologist to let him fly to New York, sat in the Yankees’ dugout as Randolph received his Monument Park plaque. He watched as his fellow Old-Timers were introduced, a history of the club unfurling in front of him. He waited for his name to be called until he was the last one left. “I was sitting there by myself, and I actually thought they forgot me,” he said.

As Stottlemyre sat in the dugout, he saw his family come out and line up in the middle of the diamond. He saw the veiled plaque in front of them, the bouquet of roses in his wife’s arms. The ‘30’ was his, too. Much to his surprise, the Yankees had a spot for Stottlemyre in Monument Park, as well. His plaque was already sculpted, his honorary ring already crafted. All that was left was to tell him.
.  .  .
Stottlemyre pitched 11 seasons for the Yankees, returning as a coach in 1996. He won four World Series under Joe Torre before resigning in 2005. Months after the first of those championships, a routine blood test showed Stottlemyre was at risk for multiple myeloma, a plasma-cell cancer that accumulates in bone marrow. He was diagnosed with the disease during Spring Training in 2000, underwent treatment and spent a decade healthy. The cancer returned in 2011, and Stottlemyre has spent the past four years fighting it. A series of side effects and medical complications ranging from heart conditions to thyroid deficiencies have followed.
.  .  .
“If I never get to come to another Old-Timers’ Game, I will take these memories that I have today, and I will start another baseball club, coaching up there whenever they need me,” he said.

Mel was the best part of the unfortunate CBS years. If he’d played on the Yankee teams before or after, and stayed healthy, he’d likely have been in Hall of Fame territory.



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