Best Mets who have had two tours with the orange and blue
By Alan Karmin
How many outfields can boast that they had both Willie Mays and Duke Snider patrolling centerfield? Okay, so they were both well past their primes, but they were there. Tommie Agee was there, as was Carlos Beltran. Beltran, well, he almost made it back. Okay, not as a player, but still. Sometimes someone comes back and provides that same old spark…and sometimes the flame has burnt out.
Lee Mazzilli (12, 16, 13) was a matinee idol. OK…maybe that’s a stretch. But perhaps nobody looked better in a uniform. He was even on billboards that said, “Hi, I’m Lee Mazzilli. Come see what a kid from Brooklyn can do in Queens. Come see me at Shea.”
Maz arrived on the scene during the lean years of the late 70’s when the Mets were fighting for a new identity after the departure of Tom Seaver. Mazzilli wasn’t just good looking, he was a good player. He was a switch hitter and was also ambidextrous and could throw with both hands as well. He would patrol centerfield with grace and make a Willie Mays-signature basket catch. He hit for average, he hit for some power, and he stole some bases.
And then…Joe Torre got a hold of him and tried to convert him into a power-hitting first baseman. Grrrrr So he was then used as trade bait to get two guys named Walt Terrell and Ron Darling from the Texas Rangers in 1982. Mazzilli never achieved the success he enjoyed with the Mets anywhere else. After his release from the Pittsburgh Pirates during the 1986 season, the Mets scooped him up and he immediately came back to life and played a big part during the second half of that championship season.
Jeromy Burnitz (5, 20) was a first-round draft pick of the Mets and was less than spectacular when he debuted during the 1993 and ’94 campaigns. So he was shipped out to Cleveland and after a brief stay ended up with the Milwaukee Brewers. It was in Milwaukee that Burnitz flourished and in five seasons averaged 33 home runs and 102 RBI. So the Mets brought him back in time for the 2002 season and, again, he was less than spectacular. And so, again, he was shipped out during the 2003 season.