The son of a former Met will be in the Cyclones dugout this season — not far from where his Brooklyn-born dad learned the family trade.
L.J. Mazzilli, whose dad Lee Mazzilli was the shining star on some really bad Mets teams in the late 1970s and early ’80s before coming back to help lead the team to a World Series championship in 1986, is set to help the Cyclones to greatness during the team’s lucky 13th season in Coney Island.
“I’m so grateful for this opportunity, and will work hard and try to bring another Mazzilli to the Mets,” LJ said Friday night on a conference call. “It’s a cool opportunity to be drafted by the same team as my dad, who was picked 40 years ago. I’m going to carry the Mazzilli name with a lot of pride and make my own career.”
The Mets selected L.J. in the fourth round of this year’s draft with the hope he will bring his father’s slugging legacy to MCU Park, according Cyclones spokesman Billy Harner.
The University of Connecticut second baseman was selected in the ninth round last June by the Minnesota Twins, but decided to return to his school for his senior year, where he helped the Huskies win the Big East Tournament with a home run in the championship game against Notre Dame. The 22-year-old finished with a .354 batting average, six homers, 51 RBI, 28 steals and a .923 OPS in 63 games.
The sight of Mazzilli on the field should bring a smile to the face of Cyclones skipper Rich Donnelly, who will return for a record third season at the helm of the good ship Cyclone, which has a streak of 12 consecutive seasons above .500, a feat only three other franchises have accomplished in the history of professional baseball.
A Lincoln High School product who grew up in Bensonhurst, Mazzilli’s dad played for the Mets from 1976 to 1982, and again from 1986 to 1989, and has the 14th-most hits and runs in Mets history. He went on to be a coach for the Yankees, and managed the Baltimore Orioles for a bit less than two seasons. He presently works for the Yankees.
The elder Mazzilli was known for his matinee-idol good looks and patented basket catch that he routinely used while patrolling center field in Shea Stadium.
The Cyclones’ season starts with a three-game series against the hated Staten Island Yankees. They will play at Richmond County Bank Ballpark on June 17 and June 19. Opening Night at MCU Park, where artificial turf was installed earlier this year, will be June 18, the middle game of the series.
Brooklyn Cyclones Opening Night at MCU Park (Surf Avenue and W. 16th Street in Coney Island, www.brookl