Miami Marlins pitching coach Mel Stottlemyre Jr. worked the 2021 MLB season while battling cancer. Stottlemyre, who had his prostate removed in October, revealed the diagnosis to the Miami Herald on Friday.
Stottlemyre, 57, said he was diagnosed with prostate cancer in February, but decided to continue working. He only revealed the diagnosis to three people in the organization during the season: manager CEO Derek Jeter, Don Mattingly and general manager Kim Ng.
“I didn’t want anyone to know,” Stottlemyre said. “I didn’t want people feeling sorry for me.”
Stottlemyre was originally supposed to undergo surgery to remove his prostate around the All-Star break, but decided to wait until the season was over. Stottlemyre knew there were risks involved in waiting, but described the cancer as "relatively slower growing."
There's a history of cancer in Stottlemyre's family. His father, Mel Sr., died of blood cancer in 2019. Stottlemyre's brother, Jason, died of leukemia at age 11.
Stottlemyre said it would take months to recover after surgery, but still plans to serve as the team's pitching coach in 2022. He also expressed a desire to become a spokesperson for prostate cancer.
Mel Stottlemyre Jr. pitched with Royals in 1990
The Houston Astros selected Stottlemyre in the first round of the 1985 MLB draft. He was part of the league's second yearly draft, which was reserved for players who graduated in the winter.
Stottlemyre reached the majors with the Kansas City Royals in 1990. He spent one season with the team, posting a 4.88 ERA over 31 1/3 innings.
After his playing career, Stottlemyre went into coaching. Before joining the Marlins, Stottlemyre served as a pitching coach with the Arizona Diamondbacks and Seattle Mariners. He's been with the Marlins since 2018.