A local boy made good for the Mets when on this day in 1973 they used their first-round pick to select Brooklyn Lincoln High School outfielder Lee Mazzilli.
Area kid, skilled and with movie star good looks, Mazzilli seemed destined to be a big New York star.
Three years later he debuted with the Mets and played with them through the 1982 season after which he was traded to the Texas Rangers for Ron Darling and Walt Terrell. It turned out to be a great deal for the Mets, who subsequently dealt Terrell to Detroit for Howard Johnson.
Mazzilli didn’t last a full season with the Rangers, who traded him to the Yankees. After the 1982 season, Mazzilli was traded to Pittsburgh, where he played three years. He was released, then re-signed with the Mets in July of the 1986 season.
Ironically, prior to that year, the Mets offered Ray Knight to Pittsburgh for Mazzilli, but the Pirates rejected the deal.
Mazzilli finished his career with Toronto in 1989, and managed the Baltimore Orioles in 2004, but was fired the following year.
Mazzilli’s best two years were 1979-80. In 1979, he represented the Mets in the All-Star Game at Seattle and hit a game-tying homer in the eighth inning and drove in the winning run in the ninth with a bases-loaded walk.
The following year, Mazzilli hit 18 homers with 76 RBI and 41 stolen bases.
Mazzilli will also be remembered for testifying for immunity in the Pittsburgh drug trials along with teammates Dale Berra, Lee Lacy, John Milner and Rod Scurry. Keith Hernandez also testified at the trial.