Today in Tribe History: October 20, 2002
Bob Toth | On 20, Oct 2020
Mel Harder, who spent all 20 of his Major League seasons as a pitcher in a Cleveland Indians uniform, passes away in Chardon, Ohio, five days after celebrating his 93rd birthday.
Harder was a four-time American League All-Star and won as many as 22 games in 1935 on his way to 223 career victories. He is regularly considered to be one of the better pitchers not enshrined in the Hall of Fame.
He spent time following his playing career as a pitching coach for the team for 16 years before holding coaching positions with four other clubs – the New York Mets (1964), the Chicago Cubs (1965), the Cincinnati Reds (1966-1968), and the Kansas City Royals (1969) for manager and former teammate Joe Gordon. Harder was also a perfect 3-0 as manager in interim roles for the Indians in 1961 and 1962.
He worked alongside Bob Feller, helped convert Bob Lemon into the Hall of Fame pitcher he became, and coached the 1954 World Series staff of Feller, Lemon, Early Wynn, and Mike Garcia. He later had a chance to work with a young Sam McDowell before his coaching time in Cleveland ended.
His number 18 uniform was retired by the club in 1990.