There isn’t much to say about the 1979 New York Mets we haven’t already whined about in a Google review for a contractor who either never showed up or did a terrible job at fixing a preposterous request from your home insurance. They were downright awful, but one player actually put together possibly the most underrated offensive season in club history.
Lee Mazzilli was one of the small number of bright spots for the Mets in the dark days without Tom Seaver. The 24-year-old center fielder was an All-Star for the National League team that season. If you weren’t around back then, you might think this was simply a case of every team needing a representative. Not Mazzilli.
The numbers don’t explode off of the page and yet everything about Mazzilli’s campaign screams excitement.
Why NY Mets outfielder Lee Mazzilli had the most underrated offensive season in team history
These are the basics. Mazzilli slashed .303/.395/.449 while hitting 15 home runs and driving in 79. He stole 34 bases and added an impressive 93 walks.
These numbers should be enough to convince any Mets fan of how good the campaign was. What made this especially impressive is how many times he got on base and where the total stands in team history.
Mazzilli was able to reach base 274 times. This ranks seventh in Mets history for a single season. Only John Olerud, David Wright, and Edgardo Alfonzo had years where they got on base more. Those three managed to do so twice each.
Backed with 181 hits to go with those 93 walks, Mazzilli had the kind of pesky season you want out of a leadoff hitter. He’d begin the season at the top of the order then slide down to the third spot for much of the season. Pitchers were still unable to stop him from having maybe the most underrated offensive year in Mets history.