Apr 25, 2014

Italian / American Father & Son Players: Steve Lombardozzi Sr. & Steve Lombardozzi Jr.

Stephen Paul Lombardozzi was born on April 26, 1960 in Malden, Massachusetts. He attended the University of Florida, getting drafted in the 9th round of the 1981 draft by the Minnesota Twins.

He was an excellent defensive second baseman known more for defense rather than his bat. After four years in the minors he was brought up in 1985 & the next year replaced Tim Tueful as the Twins regular second baseman.

In his rookie season he led all AL second baseman in fielding (.992%) & made just six errors in 701 chances. His locker at the Metro dome was right next to Kirby Puckett’s, & he joked that he knew the back of all the writers heads since they were always around Puckett. In the Twins 1987 Championship season, he batted just .238 with 8 HRs & 38 RBI but went on to have a great post season, becoming an unlikely hitting hero.

Post Season: In the ALCS against Detroit he hit .267 driving in a run, going 4-15.

In Game #1 of the World Series he hit a 5th inning two run HR off St. Louis’ Bob Forsch in a wild Metro dome as the Twins went on to win the game 10-1.

Quotes: "The feeling was unbelievable. As soon as I hit it I knew it was gone, but I didn't believe it. I hit first base and between first and third, I had all these thoughts about all the friends and family and relatives that were all back home. I was visualizing all these different families - there were probably 10, 12, 15 of them all huddled around a TV going, 'Oh my God, our Steve hit a home run in the World Series! It was a highlight of my whole career."

In Game #6 with the Twins trailing the Series three games to two, Lombardozzi singled home two runs breaking a 5-5 tie. Minnesota never looked back as they went on to beat the St. Louis Cardinals in that game & the next to earn their first Championship title.

Lombardozzi finished the series leading his team in hitting, batting .412. He was second with Tim Launder in hits (7) with a HR & four RBIs.

Despite his World Series heroics after just one more season, the Twins acquired veteran Tommy Herr by 1989 & Lombardozzi was traded to the Houston Astros. There he helped tutor Craig Biggio with his transition to second base. He played very brief in two seasons in Houston & his playing days were over by 1990.

In a six year career he hit .233 with 20 HRs 61 doubles 107 RBIs. He posted a .986 fielding% making 31 errors in 1837 chances.

Retirement: After his playing days, he ran a small business & raised his family. He eventually went into coaching & is a minor league instructor for the Pittsburgh Pirates.
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Steven Paul Lombardozzi Jr. was born on September 20th 1988 in Fulton Maryland. Steve Jr. was born with a clubbed foot deformity. At two years old he needed surgery which was done by the old NHL Minnesota North Stars hockey team surgeon. His clubbed foot never hurt his ability to play baseball.

The six foot switch hitter attended St. Petersburg College where he was drafted in the 19th round of the 2008 draft. In 2009 he hit .296 at A ball Hagerstown, then in 2010 he batted .294 between Potomac & AA Harrisburg.

In 2011 Lombardozzi batted .309 in 65 games at AA Harrisburg, getting promoted to AAA Syracuse where he also batted over .300. He earned himself a September call up debuting as a pinch hitter on September 6th in a game against the Los Angeles Dodgers. He played in 13 games batting .194.

In 2012 Lombardozzi found himself as the main left fielder on a surprising young Nationals team that has been in first place almost all season. Lombardozzi also has played at second & third base.

In an important three game series against the second place New York Mets in July, Lombardozzi drove in three runs in the midst of an eight game hit streak. On July 17th he drove in an 8th inning run with a single of Josh Edgin putting the Nats up 2-0. Although the Mets tied it up, the Nats went on to win it 4-3. The next day his 7th inning double off Miguel Batista put Washington up 4-1 and turned out to be the game winning runs in a 4-3 win.

Lombardozzi had a good year, as the Nationals made their first post season, batting .273 with 3 HRs 16 doubles & 27 RBIs posting a .317 on base %. In the post season he made three pinch hit appearances, going hitless in the NLDS loss to the St. Louis Cardinals.

In 2013 he played in 118 games batted  .259 with 15 doubles 2 HRs & 22 RBIs as a utility player. In a busy off season he was first traded to the Detroit Tigers & then to the Baltimore Orioles.

In a four year career he is hitting .264 while playing second base (86 games) outfield (64 games) third base (19 games) & two games at short stop.

Charity: The Lombardozzi family are helping relief efforts for victims of super storm Sandy.

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