Mel Wright

Mel Wright
Born: (1928-05-11)May 11, 1928
Manila, Arkansas
Died: May 16, 1983(1983-05-16) (aged 55)
Houston, Texas
Batted: Right Threw: Right
MLB debut
April 17, 1954, for the St. Louis Cardinals
Last MLB appearance
July 18, 1961, for the Chicago Cubs
MLB statistics
Win–loss record 2–4
Earned run average 7.61
Strikeouts 36

Melvin James Wright, Jr. (May 11, 1928 – May 16, 1983) was an American Major League Baseball pitcher, pitching coach and scout. A native of Manila, Arkansas, who attended Ouachita Baptist University, Wright threw and batted right-handed and was measured during his playing days at 6 ft 3 in (1.91 m) tall and 210 lb (95 kg).

Wright was a longtime associate of former MLB center fielder and manager Bill Virdon. Originally signed by the New York Yankees in 1950, Wright was traded with Virdon to the St. Louis Cardinals on April 11, 1954, in a multiplayer transaction that sent eventual Baseball Hall of Fame outfielder Enos Slaughter to the Yanks. But while Virdon enjoyed a decade-plus-long Major League playing tenure, Wright spent most of his pitching career at the Triple-A minor league level. In 543 minor league games, he won 85 games, losing 61 with an earned run average of 3.01.

Wright appeared in 58 games with the Cardinals (1954–55) and Chicago Cubs (1960–61), winning two of six decisions, surrendering 119 hits in 84 innings pitched, and compiling a poor earned run average of 7.61.

Wright began his coaching career in 1962 with the Salt Lake City Bees of the Triple-A Pacific Coast League, then was a member of the Cubs' experimental College of Coaches in 1963–64 before becoming a Chicago scout, minor league pitching instructor, then Major League pitching coach for one season (1971) on the staff of Leo Durocher. In 1973, Virdon, then in his second and final season as manager of the Pittsburgh Pirates, named Wright as his Major League pitching coach. Virdon then appointed Wright to posts with the Yankees (1974–75, as bullpen coach), Houston Astros (1976–82) and Montreal Expos (1983).

However, Wright was suffering from cancer when Virdon asked him to join the Montreal coaching staff. He was hospitalized one week into the 1983 season and died of heart failure on May 16, in Houston, Texas, at age 55.[1]


  1. "Wright dies". Tuscaloosa-Northport, Alabama: The Tuscaloosa News. Associated Press (AP). May 18, 1983. p. 16. Retrieved July 26, 2016.
Preceded by
Verlon Walker
Chicago Cubs pitching coach
Succeeded by
Larry Jansen
Preceded by
Don Osborn
Pittsburgh Pirates pitching coach
Succeeded by
Don Osborn
Preceded by
Jim Hegan
New York Yankees bullpen coach
Succeeded by
Preceded by
Roger Craig
Houston Astros pitching coach
Succeeded by
Les Moss
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