Mel Stottlemyre: Former New York Yankees Ace Pitcher, Coach Better After ‘Fighting For His Life’

The latest news on New York Yankees great, Mel Stottlemyre, Sr., offers a glimmer of hope. The former MLB pitcher and coach has battled cancer for over a decade. According to a family member, Stottlemyre was hit with another health scare this week but is faring better, according to the New York Daily News.

Mel Stottlemyre, 75, was admitted to a hospital in Seattle after falling ill from complications due to his cancer treatment. On Thursday, sources quoted his wife, Jean, after she offered an early update on his health scare.

“He’s doing much better. We saw a big turnaround with Mel over the last 24 hours. He’s not in a life-threatening situation right now.”

Some speculated that Stottlemyre was losing his battle with cancer. However, the wife clarified that her husband became ill after contracting an infection during a round of chemotherapy.

On Friday, one of Stottlemyre’s sons, Todd, took to Facebook and offered more insight into what has stricken the former All-Star. Earlier, he informed fans on social media that his father was “fighting for his life.”

“Our family has been overwhelmed with Joy at the amount of love and prayers for my father and family. Please know that the greatest warrior I have ever known is doing a lot better. He is recovering at God speed and he is looking forward to getting out of the hospital. It’s just a matter of time before he is fishing again. Please share this post so that all the people who have been praying know that their prayers have been answered and that our family is forever grateful. We will continue to pray for the less fortunate during this holiday season. May God Bless You and Merry Christmas”

Newsday wrote that Stottlemyre was diagnosed with multiple myeloma in 1999 while still coaching the Yankees. The Mayo Clinic describes the conditions as one that forms in a type of white blood cell called “plasma” cell. The onset of the disease takes place when cancer cells in the blood crowd out healthy ones in the bone marrow.

Stottlemyre’s son says his father suffers from a litany of ailments. Still, he applauds the baseball great for his strength and resilience in the face of the blood malignancy.

After retirement, Stottlemyre went on to coach for New York. He underwent an operation using his stem cells to treatment cancer. He continued coaching in 2000 until his retirement from baseball five years later.

He remained in good health until he fell ill again in 2011; reportedly, cancer returned — “this time with a vengeance.” A string of hospitalizations followed, with some lasting for several weeks.

Last year in June, Stottlemyre sought and received permission from his treatment team to attend Old-Timers Day in New York. At that time, he wasn’t in good health. He spoke about how his life is “controlled by cancer.” Still, he remained in good spirits.

At the event, his former team surprised the Yankee star with an honorary plaque. He followed up with a riveting speech.

“If I never get to come to another Old Timers Day. I will take these memories and I’ll start another baseball club, coaching up there, wherever they need me.

“The pinstripes, to me, they mean everything. It’s my ballclub. This is my second home. It’s been a thrill over the years to wear this uniform. I can honestly say every time I put this uniform on — even though we weren’t — I felt unbeatable.”

For a short time in early 2016, Mel Stottlemyre’s health improved. Doctors credited the improvement to a new chemotherapy drug.

Fans and friends are relieved about the good news, especially during the holiday season.

[Featured Image by Jim McIsaac/Getty Images]