LSU BASEBALL AND FOOTBALL LETTERMAN, LONGTIME MLB EXECUTIVE MEL DIDIER DIES AT AGE 90
BATON ROUGE, La. – Longtime Major League Baseball executive Mel Didier, a baseball and football letterman at LSU and a former Fighting Tiger assistant football coach, died Sunday night in Phoenix. Didier, who was 90 years old, was employed by the Toronto Blue Jays as a special assignments scout at the time of his death.
Didier, a Baton Rouge native, was inducted into the Louisiana Sports Hall of Fame in 2003. He was an all-around athlete at Catholic High and competed for the LSU football and baseball teams in the mid-1940s.
The brother of former LSU baseball coach Ray Didier, he signed with the Detroit Tigers as a pitcher after his junior year at LSU, only to have his professional career cut short by an arm injury after two seasons in the minor leagues.
He returned to Catholic High as a football assistant coach and baseball coach, and he coached his alma mater to the state baseball championship in 1953.
Didier served as coach of the LSU freshman football team in 1967 and 1968, leading the squad to two consecutive undefeated seasons. He took over as varsity defensive coach prior to the Tigers' 31-27 victory in the inaugural Peach Bowl over an offensively explosive Florida State team.
He moved from LSU in 1969 to become the director of scouting and player development with the Montreal Expos, beginning a highly successful career with several MLB organizations in the scouting and personnel departments.
Didier is most renowned for his work with the Los Angeles Dodgers, whom he helped win the 1988 World Series over the Oakland Athletics. Didier is credited with giving Dodgers slugger Kirk Gibson detailed scouting information about Oakland reliever Dennis Eckersley that Gibson used to hit his famous home run against Eckersley in Game 1 of the ’88 Series.
Didier’s grandson, Beau, played baseball at LSU from 2009-12, and his son, Bob, was an Major League catcher from 1969-74 with the Atlanta Braves, Detroit Tigers and Boston Red Sox.