by Jim Mancari
The Chicago Cubs visited Citi Field, Flushing, to play a three-game series Father’s Day weekend against the New York Mets.
Cubs’ first baseman Anthony Rizzo shared one of his favorite baseball memories about his father, John Rizzo Sr.
Rizzo spoke of the time his brother, John Jr., was making his first Holy Communion in Florida. However, with Anthony’s dad John Sr. as the ringleader, the family didn’t exactly make it through the whole ceremony.
“He (John Sr.) snuck me out of there to go play a game,” Rizzo said. “From the Communion, we went straight to the field.”
John Sr. was able to be with his son at the 2013 World Baseball Classic while Anthony played for Team Italy, whose hitting coach was Brooklyn diocesan favorite Mike Piazza. Rizzo said he and his father further bonded as he represented his Italian heritage.
Rizzo’s dad coached him all throughout Little League, through travel ball and right up until high school. Rizzo said that John Sr. served as a vital mentor in his path to the big leagues.
“He’s shaped me as a person,” Rizzo said. “Whether I do good or bad, it doesn’t matter as long as he knows I’m happy and as long as our family is happy.”
John Sr. was also at Citi Field the entire series, and the two got to spend some more quality time together.
It’s great to see that even players who reach the big leagues never forget where they came from. Each one of these players’ dads played a major role in helping their sons achieve their baseball dreams.
“Happy Father’s Day,” Rizzo said. “I hope he enjoys it. I hope to have another 50 or 60 Father’s Day’s with him.”
A version of this story first appeared at Mets Merized Online.