Oct 31, 2017

2000 NL Champion Mets Pitcher: Al Leiter- Part One (1987-1997)

Alois Terry Leiter was born October 23, 1965 in Toms River, New Jersey. He went to high school in Bayville New Jersey at Central Regional high.

Leiter grew up a huge Bruce Springsteen fan and was a local New Jersey baseball star. He was drafted by the AL New York team in the second round of the 1984 draft. 

His older brother Mark Leiter, attended Ramapo College & was drafted by the Baltimore Orioles a year earlier. Injuries delayed Mark's career until 1990 when he debuted for eight games with the AL New York club. He would go to the Detroit Tigers (1991-1993) having a best 9-7 year in 1991.

Mark pitched for the California Angles (1994) San Francisco Giants (1995-1996) where he won ten games (10-12) in 1995. Mark Leiter moved onto Montreal Expos (1997) Philadelphia Phillies (1997-1998) Seattle Mariners (1999) & then was injured for two more years making a brief comeback with the Milwaukee Brewers in 2001 (three games). In his 11 year career he is 65-73 with a 4.57 ERA in 335 games. 

Older brother Al Leiter, pitched in the minor leagues under the .500 mark in his three seasons before making it to the big leagues. Al Leiter made his MLB debut on September 15th, 1987 in New York beating the Milwaukee Brewers in a six inning one run performance. He struggled with blisters and injures the following year After being hyped up and only going 4-4 in 1988, the impatient organization gave up on him He was traded to the Toronto Blue Jays for Jesse Barfield in April of 1989.

There he had to have elbow surgery and struggled with injuries up until the 1992 season. In his first four seasons in Toronto he only pitched in nine games total. He was aboeard for the Blue Jays championship seasons & the hey day of the Sky Dome when it was billed as the 8th wonder of the world. He appeared mostly as a reliever in the Blue Jays 1993 post season, making 12 starts in 34 appearances. He was 9-6 with two saves & a 4.11 ERA.

Post Season: He appeared in two games of the ALCS against the Chicago White Sox. In the 1993 World Series he got the win beating the Philadelphia Phillies, Curt Schilling in Game #1 at Toronto. At the plate he hit a double in Game #4, while allowing six runs in two innings of work in the Blue Jays 15-14 win.

In 1994 he was back in the starting rotation but was limited to twenty games going 6-7. In 1995 the Blue Jays glory days were over as they fell to fifth place. Leiter was 11-11 with a 3.64 ERA leading the league in walks (108) & wild pitches (14). After six years with the Blue Jays he signed as a free agent with the Florida Marlins in 1996.

In Miami his career turned around, as he went 16-12 with a 2.93 ERA (3rd best in the NL) and made his first All Star team in his first season there. In 1997 Leiter won 11 games while losing nine, as the Marlins went on to win the World Series. He was the number three pitcher behind Kevin Brown (16-8) & Alex Fernandez (17-12).

Post Season: In the NLCS against the Atlanta Braves, Leiter was the losing pitcher in Game #4 at Florida. He allowed four runs in six innings taking the loss to Denny Neagle who pitched a complete game four hit shutout. In the World Series against the Cleveland Indians,

Leiter started in Game #3 at Cleveland, allowing seven runs (four earned) in just 4.2 innings of work. The Marlins rallied to win a wild 14-11 victory.

Leiter got the ball for Gme #7 in Florida, he went six innings allowing two runs & leaving the game behind 2-1. The Marlins rallied to win it in the bottom of the 9th on Edgar Renteria's walk off base hit. Overall in the 1997 post season he appeared in five games and went 0-1 with an ERA over six.

During that off season the Marlins management had a huge fire sale, selling off most of thier high priced top players. Leiter was traded to the Mets for two minor leaguers and a young A.J. Burnett.

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