Whenever the youngsters on the Fairfield American Little League team have heard and continue to hear from their manager Mike Randazzo, who has guided them to the Little League Baseball World Series, those players can be assured that Randazzo had certainly practiced what he preaches during his days as a player.
And, just as the case has been with them, much success followed.
Randazzo practiced and performed so well, in fact, that he was an excellent player at Norwalk High School and he had a very good career on the major college level in the Big East as a sweet-swinging pure hitter and outfielder for Seton Hall University.
Randazzo is a focused, unassuming gentleman who would never be one to toot his own horn in “Glory Days” fashion.
The kids on this special team, including his son Leo, the parents of the other players and the vast amount of the team’s fans probably know Randazzo played in high school and college and they have heard that he was good.
They just may not realize how good he really was.
He was real good.
Randazzo still has to be considered one of the best players in the long history of the Fairfield County Interscholastic Athletic Conference.
The conference has selected All-FCIAC first-team players every year since 1965.
Randazzo, 49, had a .373 batting average as a junior in 1985 to make All-FCIAC. The following year he became the first Bear in school history to become a two-time All-FCIAC selection and the first player ever from the City of Norwalk selected to the Connecticut High School Coaches Association All-State Class LL Team.
He had a .452 batting average (38-for-84) as a senior, getting at least two hits a game in 14 of the 22 games he played. And he excelled just as much in the classroom as he was named the Norwalk High School Male Scholar-Athlete of the Year.
Randazzo was the best of buddies growing up with 1995 American League MVP Mo Vaughn, then referred to as Maurice, and they starred together in the summer of 1986 for the Norwalk Legion baseball team along with former Brien McMahon pitcher Kevin Morton.
A few months later the Seton Hall program was the fortunate recipient of this trio of Norwalkers.
Vaughn and Morton were both selected by the Boston Red Sox in the 1989 June Amateur Baseball Draft.
That was shortly after Vaughn and Randazzo were both selected to the Big East All-Tournament Team in 1989. The Big East conference tournament took place at Muzzy Field in Bristol back in those years. Randazzo returned for his senior year and was selected to the All-Tournament Team for the second year in a row.
Randazzo is still listed in several categories among Seton Hall’s all-time career leaders. He batted .380 (76-for-200) in 53 games with 39 RBIs, 18 doubles, 13 stolen bases, a .436 on-base percentage and a .510 slugging percentage in 1989.
He currently has the school’s 10th highest career batting average of .359. That puts him above the likes of Hall of Famer Craig Biggio, who is among SHU’s career leaders in many other offensive categories. (Vaughn is third with a .417 BA from 1987-89).
Randazzo’s excellence as a true student-athlete was also recognized with him having been selected to the Verizon/CoSIDA Academic All-America First Team as a senior in 1990, one year after he made the Verizon/CoSIDA Academic All-America Second Team as a junior.
Right after he graduated from Seton Hall he played for the Utica Blue Sox in the New York-Penn League, a short-season Class A affiliate of the Chicago White Sox at that time, and had a .250 batting average (14-for-56) in 24 games.
Having had an excellent career as a student-athlete in high school and major college and having had the experience of playing in the minor leagues, this Coach Randazzo guy legitimately was one heck of a ballplayer.
So there can be no doubt that when he speaks, his young players know that whatever he says and whenever he talks about it, he certainly went about his business to be about it.
But even with all of that past success as a player, there is definitely a big part of him that realizes that right now he is having quite a time of his baseball life, particularly because he gets to share it with his son, family and the rest of these young players during this most special time of their lives.
NOTES: Fairfield American won the New England Regional to advance to this famous Little League Baseball World Series which takes place from Aug. 17-27. The Fairfield Americans were scheduled to play their opening game of the double-elimination tournament at Lamade Stadium against Mid-Atlantic champion Jackson (N.J.) on Thursday at 3 p.m. The winner of that game plays next on Sunday at 11 a.m., while the loser will try to survive in the elimination round on Saturday at 3 p.m.