This is the first Kellogg’s 3D Super Stars entry in my journey through my baseball cards. I used to get them one box of Frosted Flakes at a time. Eventually I got the whole set for my birthday, which I will admit felt like cheating.
Being a Kellogg’s 3D Super Star was my first real standard of whether or not a player was great. Hell, why would Tony the Tiger endorse a bad player?
Besides, the stars like Jim Rice, Dave Parker, Rod Carew, Ron Guidry, Reggie Jackson, Fred Lynn, J. R. Richard, Jim Palmer, Eddie Murray, Willie Stargell and everyone else great then were all represented.
Each team needed to be represented, so Bob Bailor made it for Toronto and Bruce Bochte was there for Seattle.
The Mets, coming off a 99 loss year, had Lee Mazzilli as their token superstar. In the wake of the disastrous Tom Seaver trade, the Mets sunk into irrelevancy as the Yankees dominated the headlines and the AL East, winning the Division in all but one season between 1976 and 1981.
There was not a lot of incentive to go to Shea Stadium in the late 1970’s as Joe Torre’s team could not compete with Philadelphia, Pittsburgh nor Montreal.
The Brooklyn born Mazzilli was a rare bright spot. He was a switch hitter, had decent power, stole a bunch of bases and hit for a high average, which were the things people looked for in the late 1970’s and early 1980’s.
He also had another thing going for him. Lee Mazzilli was a good looking Italian guy during a glory time for good looking Italian guys.
Think of it. Between Sylvester Stallone, Al Pacino, John Travolta, Tony Danza, Robert DeNiro and The Fonz, it was a GREAT time to be a good looking Italian dude. (Yes, yes I know that Henry Winkler is actually Jewish but Athur Fonzerelli was Italian and HE was who everyone gravitated to, so knock it off.)
Mazzilli fit that part perfectly for New York Italian hunk. He practically strode into Shea Stadium like Travolta and smacked the balls into the gap.
Perfect hair, perfect teeth, bedroom eyes and fit, Mazzilli had sex appeal better than any other Kellogg’s Super Star.
In the Kellogg’s cards, they list the stats but also hobbies, which always interested me.
Speed Skating! His hobby was speed skating! Wouldn’t that make him the perfect male lead in an ice skating romance?
Mazzilli would wind up being dealt to the Rangers in a deal that helped the Mets big time, bringing in minor leaguers Ron Darling and Walt Terrell, who was flipped for Howard Johnson and helped make the Mets winners again.
After stints in Texas, the Bronx and in Pittsburgh, where he testified in the Cocaine hearings, he wound up back in Queens in time to be part of the 1986 World Champs. After a fling with Toronto, he became a coach under Joe Torre and briefly managed the Orioles.
I wonder if he kept up the speed skating. For the record, he remains a handsome man.