From Ott Field to Citi Field, This Chaminade Alum Knows the Value of Perseverance
Connor Mongan ’23
At Chaminade High School, a young man is faced with challenges that will shape him as he enters an ever-evolving world. Many students have experiences with getting cut from a team, denied a role in a play, or rejected from a certain class choice.
Joe Suozzi ’16, an outfielder in the New York Mets Organization, is an example of a true Chaminade man: someone who faces adversity and grows from it, rather than letting it bring him down.
Tarmac recently sat down with Suozzi to ask about his time at Chaminade and his experience with the Brooklyn Cyclones, the Class-A affiliate of the New York Mets.
Tarmac: Joe, congrats on another great season with the Cyclones. How great was it to be offered a contract by the Mets, your hometown team, back in 2020?
Suozzi: It was super surreal. I’ve been a fan of the Mets my entire life, so it was a dream come true to be signed by the team I grew up watching. It was weird to be signed during the COVID-19 year, because after [signing]…I went six to seven months without playing…I stayed in shape by playing with Straton Podaras ‘16 and Julien Arcos ‘16, two Chaminade graduates.
Tarmac: You’ve had a chance to play with some top prospects during your time with the Mets. What have you learned from them, and how does it feel to see some of your teammates play in the MLB?
Suozzi: I got a chance to play with Brett Baty and Ronny Mauricio in Brooklyn, and Francisco Alvarez at spring training. It’s really an honor to play with these guys, who are top prospects but still treat everyone the same. Watching them work everyday and seeing their routines is amazing. Even though everyone knows they’re destined to play in the majors, they’re still just regular guys in the clubhouse.
Tarmac: During your time at Chaminade, what coaches or teammates helped you develop as a player and prepared you for the minor leagues?
Suozzi: Coaches Chris Lynch ’82, Darrin Dawber, and Daniel Feeney are great guys that really helped me. On the varsity level, Coaches Michael Pienkos and Jack Lyons were crucial in developing me into the player that I am today. My junior year at Chaminade, I got cut from the baseball team, but I’ll never forget how my coaches were there for me during a weird and difficult time in my life. They had my back and encouraged me to keep moving forward, which was great. After getting cut, I made the team my senior year, won the most improved player award, and later walked on at Boston College, after also getting cut freshman year.
Tarmac: How important was it for you to follow in your dad’s footsteps and attend both Chaminade and Boston College?
Suozzi: It was always destiny for me to go to Chaminade. It’s become a tradition in my family, as my dad went there, my brother recently graduated, and I have a couple uncles and cousins who also went.
My family loves Chaminade and it was important for me to go. At Boston College, the chips fell into place, and it just happened to work out that way. It was great to follow my dad’s footsteps and attend BC, but it wasn’t as destined for me as Chaminade.
Joe’s father, Tom Suozzi ’80, had high praise for his son, stating, “Joe is an inspiration to us all. God blessed him with talent, but without his hard work and perseverance when things looked bleak, he would have never made it to the point where he is now: playing for the organization we have cheered on all of our lives.”