Former Jays pitching coach Mel Queen dies
Toronto Blue Jays pitcher Pat Hentgen falls under the watchful gaze of manager Tim Johnson (Left) and pitching coach Mel Queen as he throws in the rain at Jays Spring Training camp in Dunedin, Fla., Wednesday March 3, 1999.(CP PHOTO/Frank Gunn)
TORONTO - Mel Queen, the Toronto Blue Jays former pitching coach and manager who rejoined the organization in 2008 at its player development senior advisor, has died. He was 69.
The cause of death was not divulged.
"Our organization would not be what it is today without the contributions of Mel Queen," Blue Jays president Paul Beeston said in a statement. "In Toronto he was both the major league pitching coach and manager but his real strength was in the minor leagues.
"He joined us in 1986 and whether he was serving as the farm director, minor-league pitching co-ordinator or in a number of other roles, Mel was instrumental to our system being one of the most respected in the game. He was not only a great coach and passionate instructor; he was a great friend to me and everyone in the organization and he earned the utmost respect from the young men who had the pleasure of working with him. We were fortunate to have Mel rejoin the organization in 2008 to assist with the rebuild. Our sincere sympathies go out to his wife and family."
Queen's father, Melvin, was a major league pitcher for the New York Yankees and Pittsburgh Pirates from 1942-52.
Queen was an outfielder who became a pitcher and played for both the Cincinnati Reds (1964-69) and California Angels (1970-72). He posted a 20-17 career record with 389.7 innings pitched, 306 strikeouts, and a career earned-run average of 3.14.
Following his career as a player, Queen began coaching with the Cleveland Indians in 1979 before joining the Blue Jays in 1986 as a pitching instructor. He was named director of player development in 1990 before becoming the team's pitching coach in 1996.
In his four seasons in Toronto, Blue Jays pitchers captured three Cy Young awards -- Pat Hentgen in 1996 and Roger Clemens in '97-'98. He served as the club's interim manager for the final five games of 1997 after the firing of Cito Gaston. He eventually moved to pro scouting for three seasons before leading the organization.
He returned to the Blue Jays in 2008 as a senior advisor to the player development department.