Forty years ago, Lee Mazzilli was sitting in class at Lincoln High in Brooklyn when his baseball coach walked in and informed him that he was the Mets' No. 1 choice in the 1973 draft. On Friday, Mazzilli was sitting in his office with his wife and son L.J., monitoring MLB.com's draft coverage, when they heard L.J.'s name called by the Mets in the fourth round.
"We had an idea the Mets were looking to take me in the fourth round," said L.J., a 22-year-old second baseman who was a ninth-round draft pick last year by the Twins but returned to play his senior season at UConn. "As soon as we heard 'Mets re-draft' and my name was called, me and my dad just hugged instantly. It was an amazing moment for us and our family . . . I'm excited to try to bring another Mazzilli to the Mets."
The elder Mazzilli, who spent 10 of his 14 seasons with the Mets and also played for the Yankees, for whom he now works as an adviser, was beside himself with joy. "This is a very happy moment for me as a dad to see my son, some 40 years after I was drafted, go to a team I grew up with. I work for the New York Yankees, and my son now works for the New York Mets.
"I cannot be happier to be part of two great organizations in this city of New York. It's just absolutely amazing, a wonderful feeling."
L.J. Mazzilli said it was the right decision to return to Connecticut, where he hit .354 with six home runs, 51 RBIs and 28 stolen bases. He helped the Huskies win the Big East Tournament title, homering in the championship game against Notre Dame.
L.J. fondly recalled his father's stories about homering at Wrigley Field in his first Mets game and about the 1986 World Series. His dad told him New York City "is the toughest market," but L.J. added that he feels no pressure following in his dad's footsteps. "I look forward to carrying the Mazzilli name with a lot of pride," he said.
Notes & quotes: Besides Mazzilli, the Mets' second-day picks include third-round CF Ivan Wilson (Ruston, La., H.S.) and RHP Casey Meisner (Cypress Woods, Texas, H.S.), fifth-round LF Jared King (Kansas State), sixth-round CF Champ Stuart (Brevard, N.C., College), seventh-round 1B Matthew Oberste (Oklahoma), eighth-round RHP Ricky Knapp (Florida Gulf Coast), ninth-round CF Patrick Biondi (Michigan) and 10th-round SS Luis Guillorme (Coral Springs, Fla., Charter H.S.).