Longtime Jays coach Queen dies
By SPORTS NETWORK
|Former Blue Jays pitching coach Mel Queen, seen here offering some advice for infielder Felipe Crespo at spring training in 1997, has died. (QMI Agency Files/Michael Peake)
TORONTO -- Mel Queen, who had a brief stint as Toronto's interim manager and served the Blue Jays in numerous roles, has died. He was 69 years old.
Queen joined the Toronto organization as a pitching instructor in 1986 and was named director of player development in 1990, then became the club's big league pitching coach in 1996. He was also the interim manager for the final five games of the 1997 season after Cito Gaston's first stint in the dugout, then continued as pitching coach through 1999.
His pitchers captured three Cy Young Awards, as Pat Hentgen claimed the honor in 1996 and Roger Clemens won in 1997 and '98. He moved over to pro scouting following the '99 campaign and left after three seasons, then rejoined the organization in 2008 as senior advisor to the player development department.
"Our organization would not be what it is today without the contributions of Mel Queen," said Blue Jays president and CEO Paul Beeston 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 coordinator 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."
Queen played in the big leagues with Cincinnati from 1964-69 and with the Angels from 1970-72. He began his career as an outfielder, then turned to pitching in 1966 and posted a career mark of 20-17 with a 3.14 earned run average.