Remembering Mets History (1979) Lee Mazzilli Is the Hero of the All-Star Game

Tuesday July 16th, 1979: The 1979 MLB All Star Game was held at the Seattle Kingdome, packed with 59,000 fans. The Kingdome was home to the Mariners who were in their third year of play.

The last place New York Mets had two players representing the team; catcher John Stearns & their new young star; Lee Mazzilli. 

John Stearns would make four All Star teams in his Mets career. On the first half of the season Stearns batted .242 with 5 HRs 17 doubles & 35 RBIs. 

The '79 NL All Star team had five talented catchers involved on its squad, Bob Boone started in place of the injured Ted Simmons. Gary Carter would play the last four innings of the game; John Stearns would not play. Johnny Bench was elected to the team but did not attend the game.

Lee Mazzilli came into the All-Star Game batting .320 with 9 HRs & 47 RBIs through the first half of the season. This was Mazzilli's first & only All-Star appearance. Although he did not win the game's MVP Award he certainly was one of it's top stars.



The N.L. banged out two runs in the 1st inning off the California Angels, Nolan Ryan. The Dodgers' Steve Garvey drew a two out walk, Philadelphia's Mike Schmidt then tripled bringing in Garvey for the first run of the game. Cincinnati's George Foster then doubled scoring Schmidt.

The A.L. responded quickly, as Kansas City's George Brett walked & was brought in by Don Baylor. Then with two outs, Boston's Fred Lynn hit a two run HR off the Phillies Steve Carlton, giving the A.L. the lead.

In the 2nd inning, Bob Boone led off with a single. Pittsburgh's Dave Par
ker later hit a sac fly scoring Boone & tied up the game. 

The A.L regained the lead, in the bottom of the 3rd, the Angel's Don Baylor singled & reached second base, when Houston's Joaquin Andujar's threw a wild pitch.

 He then hit the White Sox Chet Lemon with a pitch, putting two on. Boston's Carl Yastrzemski drove in Baylor with a base hit. Milwaukee's Darrell Porter then reached on an error, allowing Chet Lemon to score for a 5-4 lead.

In the 6th inning, San Diego Padres star Dave Winfield doubled off Angel's pitcher, Mark Clear. Then the Montreal Expos' Gary Carter singled to tie up the game at five. 

But in the bottom of the inning, Carl Yastrzemski singled. His team mate Rick Burlson came in tto run for him. Then Seattle's home town hero; Bruce Botche singled off  San Diego's Gaylord Perry driving in Burleson with the go ahead run.

The A.L. brought in Cleveland Indians relief ace Jim Kern, for the 7th inning. Kern gave up a base hit to the Reds' Joe Morgan then got the next three outs.

In the top of the 8th, N.L. manager Tommy Lasorda; put in the New York Mets Lee Mazzilli to pinch hit for Gary Matthews. 

In his first All Star at bat, Lee Mazzilli hit a long HR down the left field line to tie up the game at six. It was an exciting moment for the New York youngster.

It must be noted the Pirates Dave Parker won the MVP Award, defensively he had two assists on two put outs, including throwing out Brian Downing at home plate to end the 8th inning. Downing led off the inning with a base hit, was sacrificed over & tried to score on Graig Nettles single to right field.

In the top of the 9th inning, Jim Kern was tiring. He walked Joe Morgan, Pittsburgh's Dave Parker & the Dodgers Ron Cey to load the bases. The A.L. manager Bob Lemon brought in A.L. New York pitcher Ron Guidry to face Lee Mazzilli.

Guidry walked Mazzilli on five pitches, in what would be the All Star game's walk off winning run.

The Chicago Cubs, Bruce Sutter then shut the door in the bottom of the 9th as the N.L. won its eighth straight All Star game. New York's Lee Mazzilli was the unlikely hero, drove in the tying & winning runs.

Comments

Larry Loving Late 70's said…
The most rewarding moment for Mets fans in the post-Seaver,pre-Doubleday/Wilpon era.I never liked the minimum one-player-per-team rule for the All-Star Game,but it gives the most depressed fans some equity,to show the nation that despite a bad team we have a player who's worthy of this big platform and a chance at glory.That argument was on display for me to enjoy and forget the "cons" side -that the best player on the worst team is not All-Star caliber.But I have always believed Mazzilli would've been chosen sans the qouta,simply because he had emerged as one of the best outfielders in the NL.And besides,what were the chances he was going to escape the notice of,or not get the benefit of the doubt from the Godfatherly Tommy LaSorda?

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