Yeah I know its a stupid question but do you remember Lee Mazzilli? I sure do seeing that he came from my old neighborhood of Sheepshead Bay Brooklyn. His father was a piano repair man and his mother was a beautician. Lee was important to me as he was to many young Mets fans that grew up as part of that lost generation that grew up during the lost years of the mid to late '70's . Lee had it all , matine quality good looks, a great arm - powerful bat - and he was a Brooklyn boy that was making good on the ball field of Flushing Queens. So do you remember Brooklyn's finest?
Lee Louis Mazzilli was born on March 25, 1955, in Brooklyn, New York, Lee was selected by the Mets with the 14th pick in the first round of the June 1973 draft.While in the minor leagues, Mazzilli showed off his speed by setting a California League record -and possibly a professional record, when he stole seven bases in a game for the Mets' minor league affiliate Visalia against San Jose in 1975. Mazzilli made his major League debut in late September of 1976 and he was a mainstay for the team until being traded in 1981. I remember in '78 Lee Mazzilli poster day when all us kids got a poster of Lee posing in the dugout with a bat in his hand. It was for teenage girls what the Farrah Fawcett poster was for us adolescent boys
.In 1979, Mazzilli led the Mets with 181 hits, and 79 runs batted in, and was their sole representative at the All-Star Game in Seattle. Mazzilli hit a game tying solo home run in the eighth inning of that All-Star Game, and drew a bases-loaded walk in the 9th to bring in the winning run of the National League's 7â€“6 victory. The following year, he had his best statistical season, leading the Mets with 162 hits, 31 doubles, 16 home runs, 76 RBIs, 82 runs, and 41 stolen bases.Following the 1981 season, where he hit only .228 and was hampered by injuries to his back and elbow, he was traded by the Mets to the Texas Rangers. Though initially unpopular with Met fans, the deal would prove to be a good one, bringing minor league pitchers Ron Darling and Walt Terrell in return. Darling would go on to be a key starter on Mets' 1986 World Series championship team, while Terrell was traded to the Detroit Tigers for another important player on that team, third baseman Howard "HoJo
"Johnson following the 1984 season.Mazzilli played only 58 games with Texas and was traded to the Yankees for Bucky Dent midway through the 1982 season. This killed me like it did for many Mets fans because we felt that Lee was a met and should never wear a Yankees uniform ( we would later feel alot more regret about this during the Yankee dynasty of the late '90's early '00's). Prior to the 1983 season, Mazzilli was traded to the Pirates for Tim Burke, Don Aubin, John Holland and Jose Rivera.The Mets were early favorites to reach the post season in 1986, and prior to the start of the season offered third baseman Ray Knight to the Pirates for Mazzilli. The Pirates turned them down, but as destiny would have it, the Pirates released him in July 1986, and he re-signed with the Mets on August 3.Upon signing with the Mets, Mazzilli was assigned to their triple-A affiliate, the Tidewater Tides. Interestingly enough, this was his first tour of duty with the Tides as he had made the jump to the major leagues from double-A. On August 7, the Mets released left fielder George Foster and called Mazzilli up to the majors. Foster was very critical of this move by the Mets, and accused his former employers of racism. Like I have said I had met Foster a week prior to his release and he was shall we say not ha happy camper - so it is obvious that I was happy to see him go .
Mazzilli turned out to be an important part of their championship team. His career with the Mets continued until 1989 when he was claimed by the Blue Jays on waivers. Mazzilli retired after the 1989 season, his 14th in the Major Leagues.At the end of his career, the versatile Mazzilli took up acting, starring as Tony in an off-Broadway production of Tony n' Tina's Wedding.He was first base coach to the New York Yankees from 2000 to 2003 .In 2004, Lee was hired as manager of the Baltimore Orioles. He was fired on August 4, 2005, during the team's worst losing streak of the season. He was rehired as the Yankees bench coach in 2006. Although I have forgiven him for working for the Yankees , it still pains me to remember that play during the inter league series in '00 when he persuaded a rookie umpire to call interference on Todd Zeile when it was clearly not the case.Until last season Lee was the in studio color analyst for the Mets cable network , SNY , And he received a loud, long ovation at the "Shea Goodbye" closing ceremonies at Shea Stadium.Although Lee never did attain the superstar player status that us Mets fans bestowed on him , He truly bled the Blue and Orange on the field and off . He will forever be considered a true Met in my eyes.
"HE SHOULDA BEEN THE ROOKIE OF THE YEAR