Lee Mazzilli was one of the biggest fan favorites in New York Mets history. Brooklyn-born and immensely talented, Mazzilli made his way through the Mets’ farm system and made it to the show as a September call up at the end of the 1976 season. While he only made one All-Star game appearance during his time in the majors, Mazzilli’s performance in the 1979 season was a memorable one and earned his spot on this week’s Mets101 All-Star Memories series.
The 1979 Major League All-Star Game was the 50th rendition of the Midsummer Classic. Played in the Kingdome in Seattle in front of 58,905 fans, the National League defeated the American League by a score of 7-6.
Mazzilli entered the game as a pinch hitter in the eighth inning with the NL trailing 6-5. He sent an opposite field home run into the seats off of Jeff Kern to tie the game at 6. Mazzilli’s game tying home run was the first pinch-hit home run in All-Star Game history.
After surrendering the AL in the bottom of the eighth, the NL came back to bat in the top of the ninth to try and take the lead for good. Joe Morgan walked with one out and was balked over to second. Kern intentionally walked Dave Parker and then walked Ron Cey to load the bases.
The AL turned to Ron Guidry to relieve Kern. Guidry retired Craig Reynolds for the second out and Mazzilli came to the plate. Mazzilli worked a walk to bring home Morgan and give the NL a 7-6 lead and secure victory for the National League.
The 1979 All-Star Game was Mazzilli’s all-star appearance. He finished with a career .259 average with 93 career homers and 460 career RBIs. He had two stints with the Mets, one from 1976-82 and again at the tail end of his career from 1986-89. Since retiring, Mazzilli has gone into coaching and broadcasting.
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