Mazzy Star

In the event you didn’t see it before, my biography of Lee Mazzilli was recently published at SABR’s Biography Project. I thought Mazzilli made an interesting topic if I may say so myself!

Not mentioned there (but always mentioned here), Mazzilli wore 3 different numbers as a Met. He debuted wearing No. 12 in 1976, but switched assignments with fellow youngsterJohn Stearns in 1977. It’s not clear exactly why this happened, but the accompany photo of Stearns here in his Colorado Buffalos gear presents a compelling suggestion. Mazzilli’s No. 16, which he wore through his glory years and the Mets’ worst years, was issued to Dwight Gooden when the Mets miraculously reacquired Maz in 1986. Mazzilli wore No. 13 thereafter.

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One comment

  1. Jon Springer says:

    Submitted by gored82 on Mon, 08/20/2012 – 9:37pm.
    Great read Jon! Just one detail:

    “After Keith Hernandez tagged up to score the winning run on a shallow fly ball to Mazzilli in center field in a 1983 game” conflicts with the reality that the Mets “swapped him to the Texas Rangers during spring training of 1982.”

    Perhaps the Hernandez play was in 1980 or ’81? Unless it was in a Pirates-Cards game.

    Submitted by Dave G (not verified) on Tue, 08/21/2012 – 7:55am.
    After Keith Hernandez tagged up to score the winning run on a shallow fly ball to Mazzilli in center field in a 1983 game, the slow-footed Cardinals player remarked that Mazzilli was “the only guy I would attempt to score against [on such a play] in the big leagues.”vi

    Submitted by Jon Springer on Tue, 08/21/2012 – 8:24am.
    Yes it was a Cards-Pirates game in June of 1983, shortly before Hernandez was traded to the Mets — and because of plays like that — Marvell Wynne was traded to the Pirates to take over Maz’ role in CF.

    It wasn’t the best chronological fit for that point in the story, but it was the anecdote that best described his arm troubles.

    Submitted by gored82 on Tue, 08/21/2012 – 2:44pm.
    If memory serves, Wynne went to Pittsburgh in exchange for the immortal Junior Ortiz.

    Submitted by Jon Springer on Tue, 08/21/2012 – 7:43pm.
    I liked Junior. Ironically the Pirates got him back from the Mets in that winter’s Rule 5 draft.

    Wynne was a pretty good outfielder but never became much of a hitter.

    Submitted by (not verified) on Tue, 08/21/2012 – 8:58pm.
    Junior Ortiz was the Alberto Castillo of the 1980s, though with more attitude than Bambi. I remember watching Maz throw a ball home on a game-winning hit in Pittsburgh in 1987. On Astroturf, when the ball arrived home, the Pirates were already done celebrating. I finally understood why they moved excellent 1B-man Mike Jorgenson to the outfield and put All-Star Maz at first in 1980.

    Submitted by Jon Springer on Tue, 08/21/2012 – 9:06pm.
    Ortiz later in his career would be known for wearing number 0 (at least known to me for that). I happened to be at the Mets debacle last night where the Rockies pitched a No. 6 against us.

    Thanks Matt for the early read-thru!

    Submitted by Ranjrz5 on Tue, 08/21/2012 – 9:45pm.
    I remember several occasions when the bottom of the Mets lineup in late games was three guys with the initials JO–Ortiz, Oquendo, and Orosco.

    Submitted by gored82 on Tue, 08/21/2012 – 11:40pm.
    Actually, the Pirates took him back in the 1984 Rule 5 draft, ironically a matter of days before the Gary Carter trade. Perhaps the Mets left him off the 40-man roster in anticipation of the Carter deal going down.

    I had a chance to interview him when he was with the Indians in 1993 for a freelance piece I wrote for a magazine called the Shureck Baseball Report. It was about the impact on the team of the boating accident that spring involving Steve Olin, Tim Crews, and Bobby Ojeda. As you might expect, he got very emotional and found it difficult to talk about. He showed me a very warm and tender side of himself in those few minutes we spent talking.

    Submitted by Matt B on Wed, 08/22/2012 – 7:09pm.
    will be wearing #36 on Thursday night….according to Mets game day notes.

    Submitted by Gordon Handler (not verified) on Thu, 08/23/2012 – 10:26am.
    With the addition of Collin McHugh, I figured it was time to create an all time McMet team. Unfortunately, it looks like the team will be full of pitchers and outfielders plus a few coaches and a manager. Not even enough to field a complete infield.

    Infield: Joe McEwing, Jeff McNight, Roy McMillan
    Outfield: Kevin McReynolds, Brian McRae, Rodney McDaniel
    Pitchers: Jim McAndrew, Tug McGraw, Roger McDowell
    Coach: Tom McCraw
    Manager: Roy McMillan

    Submitted by Ranjrz5 on Thu, 08/23/2012 – 11:58am.
    Your first baseman can be Ryan McGuire.

    Submitted by gored82 on Thu, 08/23/2012 – 12:55pm.
    You forgot Rodney McCray in the outfield.

    Submitted by Gordon Handler (not verified) on Thu, 08/23/2012 – 3:38pm.
    McCray was coming off the bench.

    Submitted by gored82 on Thu, 08/23/2012 – 5:49pm.
    But who’s Rodney McDaniel? They never had a player by that name. Unless you meant Terry McDaniel, who was no better than McCray.

    Submitted by Gordon Handler (not verified) on Thu, 08/23/2012 – 6:14pm.
    Meant Terry. Not better than McCray. Just picked one over the other. This topic really didnt deserve much effort.

    Submitted by gored82 on Thu, 08/23/2012 – 6:41pm.
    True enough!

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