Legendary Baseball Scout, Former UL Coach & LSU Player Mel Didier Passes Away
The baseball world lost a great man on Sunday night as the legendary Mel Didier passed away in Phoenix, Arizona. He was 90.
A native of Baton Rouge, Didier was UL’s athletic director and baseball coach in 1981 and 1982 as well as a LSU football and baseball player in the mid 1940s.
His biggest mark on the sports world came as Major League Baseball scout. He worked with nine different teams from the 1950s up until his death.
Didier was still in baseball at the time of his death as he was a special assignment scout for the Toronto Blue Jays.
Mel Didier was inducted into the Louisiana Sports Hall of Fame in 2003.
One of the most famous home runs in baseball history has a bit of Mel Didier behind it. During a pre-World Series scouting meeting in 1988 he tipped off the Dodgers about Oakland A’s closer Dennis Eckersley. He told the team that the pitcher tended to throw a backdoor slider on a full count if first base was open.
That was the situation when Dodgers pinch-hitter Kirk Gibson entered the game with two outs in the bottom of the ninth. Remembering what Didier said, Gibson sent that backdoor slider over the right field wall to give the Dodgers a 5-4 win. They would win the World Series that year four games to one.
Didier is survived by his wife, Elena, and children Melvin “Skip” Didier Jr., Robert “Hiya” Didier, Cindee Didier and Lori Didier Stevens.