Al Leiter- The Mets Years / 2000 NL Champion (1998 - 2004)

Mets Career: Al Leiter debuted with the Mets on April 2nd, in the second game of the 1998 season. In six innings of work, he gave up three runs on seven hits to the Phillies at Shea Stadium taking a loss to Mark Portugal.

On April 7th, Leiter earned his first Mets victory. It came at Wrigley Field in a 3-2 Mets win. In that game he hit a two run double off Germi Gonzalez in the 4th inning.

He won his next three starts closing out April at 3-1. 

On April 14th, he shut out the Cubs for seven innings at Shea Stadium, striking out six. Facing Germi Gonzalez again in the 4th inning, he drove in two runs with a single in the Mets four run 4th inning. In the year he batted .106 with six hits & the four RBIs.

On April 19th Leiter shut out the Reds for another seven innings in Cincinnati, earning his second win. Leiter would throw 25 straight scoreless innings from April 14th through May 4th, when he gave up a 6th inning run.

On May 23rd he pitched a four-hit complete game shutout, beating the Milwaukee Brewers at Shea Stadium. From that day to the end of June, Leiter won six straight games, he beat the Phillies striking out a season high ten batters. He then earned a win at Fenway Park, beating the Red Sox, then the Rays at Shea Stadium. 

On June 16th he pitched his second shutout of the year, he struck out seven Expos in Montreal beating Dustin Hermanson at Olympic Stadium.

On June 26th he pitched in the first of many subway series matchups, he allowed five runs & took the 8-4 loss at Shea Stadium. After that he went down & missed three weeks of action returning on July 26th.

In his return he shut out the Phillies for six innings to earn his tenth win of the year (10-4) posting a 1.76 ERA. He kept his ERA under two until July 29th, after two outings where he gave up four runs but earned no decisions.

From August on Leiter won six of seven straight games. On August 18th he pitched eight innings, giving up just two runs against the Rockies. His only loss in that stretch came on August 23rd, against Arizona. He gave up three runs but matched his season high ten strike outs. On August 29th, Leiter gave up three solo HRs to the Dodgers, but still won the game 4-3 to earn his 13th win. 

On September 4th, Leiter out pitched Tom Glavine to beat the Braves 2-1 at Shea Stadium. Mike Piazza's two run HR was the difference for New York. In his next two wins he pitched seven innings each time. On September 20th he shut out the Florida Marlins, striking out nine in a 5-0 Mets shut out.

In his first season with the Mets Leiter had his best career season, becoming the ace of the staff winning a career high 17 games. He was 17-6 with the league’s third best ERA (2.47) and was second in the NL in hits allowed per nine innings. He pitched 193 innings struck out 174 batters & walked just 71.

The Mets improved to an 88-74 record & a second place finish, missing the wild card by just two games.

1999 NL Wild Card Season:  Al Leiter was Bobby Valentine's Opening Day pitcher, but he didn't have it that day. He was gone after five innings, as he took the loss in Florida against his old Marlins teammates. 

He had a rough start to the season finding himself at 2-5 toward the end of May.

On May 21st in the first game of a double header, even though he gave up five runs, the Mets bats scored 11 runs & he got the victory, in a wild 11-10 win over the Brewers.

He was 2-5 at the start of June but had a great month going 5-0 in the month, never allowing more than three runs in a game. He would pitch into the seventh inning or beyond in four of those games. 
On June 6th he beat the AL New York club in the sub way series, allowing just one run in seven innings of work at the Bronx to earn his first career subway series win. On June 17th he allowed just a run in seven innings at St. Louis & struck out nine which was his second highest total for the season. He next beat the Marlins at home & in Florida.

15 Strike Out Game: On August 1st, Leiter struck out a career high 15 batters in a 5-4 win over the Cubs at Wrigley Field. He pitched seven innings allowing just two runs on seven hits. 

Leiter struck out five batters in a row from the 2nd thru the 3rd inning, then struck out the side in the 4th inning. He struck out two more batters in the 7th inning before exiting with a 3-2 lead.

On August 12th, he came to bat in the 5th inning with the bases loaded & doubled off the Padres Woody Williams, to clear the bases giving himself a 9-3 lead. 

After the win over the Padres, he lost two decisions to get to the September pennant race. Entering the month, the Mets were 3.5 games behind the Braves in the NL East & held a four-game lead over the Reds for the wild card.

As he entered September, he was 10-9 and then he beat the Colorado Rockies pitching into the 9th inning on September 4th allowing just two runs in the 4-2 Mets win.

He then he lost his next three starts as the Mets were fighting to keep the lead for wild card finish. The Mets went on a seven-game losing streak & now were trailing the Reds by a game & a half.

During the last week of the season Leiter broke the losing streak, beating Greg Maddux & the Atlanta Braves at Shea Stadium, allowing just two runs pitching seven innings. Although they lost the next game, the Mets won their last three games two of them in walk off style. 

They finished the year at 96-66 in a tie with the Cincinnati Reds for the wild card spot. A one game tie breaker was to be played in Cincinnati as the Mets lost a coin toss for home field advantage.

Then he had his best outing of the year in the Mets biggest game of the year, after they ended the regular season tied for the wild card title.

Wild Card Tie Breaker: Al Leiter stepped up & pitched one of the best, biggest games of his career. He was brilliant in tin front of 54,621 at Riverfront Stadium, as tossed a two-hit complete game shutout. He struck out seven Reds while walking four batters. The Mets scored five runs led by HRs from Edgardo Alfonso & Rickey Henderson.

The win got the Mets into their first post season in eleven years since the 1988 NLCS.

In the Mets wild card winning season Leiter went 13-12 with a 4.23 ERA, striking out 162 batters with 93 walks (6th in the league) pitching in 213 innings. At the plate his 11 sacrifice hits were 8th best in the league.

At bat he batted .105 again with six hits two doubles & five RBIs.

1999 Post Season-NLDS: In the '99 NLDS against the Arizona Diamondbacks he got the start in Game #4 at Shea Stadium. 

He went into the 8th inning with a 2-1 Mets lead but with two outs gave up a walk & a base hit. He exited the game giving the ball to Armando Benitez. Benitez allowed a two run double to Jay Bell blowing the chance for Leiter to earn a victory. The Mets came back & won it on Todd Pratt’s walk off HR, winning the Series advancing to the NLCS.

1999 NLCS: In the NLCS Leiter faced off against Atlanta’s Tom Glavine in Game #3 at Shea Stadium. In the 1st inning the Braves scored on an unearned run after a Mike Piazza error. It was the only run scored in the game & Leiter took a heartbreaking 1-0 loss.

In the game he pitched seven strong innings allowing no earned runs on just three hits. 

The Mets dropped the first three games, then came back to win Games #4 & Game #5.

He returned in Game #6 at Turner Field, but never got past the 1st inning. He hit Gerald Williams with a pitch then walked Bret Boone. He also hit Chipper Jines then gave up singles to Eddie Peres & Brian Jordan, falling behind 4-0.

He was relieved by Pat Mahomes, who gave up a sac fly with the run charged to Leiter. The Mets eventually tied the game up & went ahead in the 8th on Melvin Mora's RBI single, but John Franco blew the lead. 

They went ahead in the 10th on Todd Pratt's sac fly but Armando Benitez gave up an RBI hit to Ozzie Guillen. The Mets lost it in the 11th when Kenny Rogers walked Andru Jones with the bases loaded.

Charities': In the off season he won the Branch Rickey Award for Leiter's Landing, a foundation he & his wife ran for children's education, health, social & community service issues.

2000 NL Pennant Season: In 2000 Leiter took a step back becoming the number two starter behind newly acquired ace Mike Hampton. After playing the first two games of the year at the Tokyo Dome in Japan, the Mets had their official home opener on April 3rd. 

Leiter got the start in the Shea Opener, beating the San Diego Padres after allowing just one run over eight innings. 

Leiter was sensational in the first part of the season; going 10-1 through July 1st.

On May 11th, he threw a complete game win at Pittsburgh, striking out eight Pirate batters. He followed that up with an eight inning, two run win over the Rockies at Shea.  On June 3rd, he battled future Met, Steve Trachsel beating the Tampa Rays 1-0 at Shea Stadium. Leiter pitched into the 7th inning as Todd Zeile drove in the only run of the game with an RBI double. 

Subway Series Win: On June 9th he opened up the sub way series holding down the AL New York team to two runs in seven innings as Mike Piazza was the hitting star with one of his grand slam's during his ownership of Roger Clemens. Edgardo Alfonso & Derek Bell also homered in the 12-2 win. 

On June 16th, in Milwaukee he allowed just one run in eight innings of work, striking out seven as the Mets eased to a 7-1 win.

On July 1st he won his tenth game of the year, as he struck out a season high 12 batters in a 9-1 victory against the Atlanta Braves at Shea Stadium. 

He went into the All Star break with a 10-2 record posting a 2.99 ERA, making his second All Star team. 

ll Star Game: He pitched the 4th inning of the Mid-Summer Classic at Atlanta’s Turner Field, giving up a two-run single to Derek Jeter. He was the losing pitcher of record the National League's 6-3 loss.

He suffered a three-game losing streak in July, including a subway series loss, then would only lose back-to-back games again in his August 29th & September 4th starts. On July 28th, in a NLCS preview he beat Pat Hentgen & the Cardinals 3-2, holding them to just a run over his seven innings of work. 

Next on August 2nd, he & Elmer Dessens battled it out for seven innings, as the Mets won a 2-1 thriller, highlighted by Robin Ventura's two run HR.

One of his best outings during the second half of the season came against the San Francisco Giants at Shea Stadium. 

On August 13th, he shut out the Giants for eight innings, striking out 12 batters matching his season high. At one point he retired 19 batters in a row, allowing just two hits & one walk in the game.

In San Diego he pitched eight innings for the seventh time on the year, he allowed just one run, making it the sixth time he allowed just one run pitching seven or more innings. 

That day he matched his season high 12 strike outs & earned his 14th win of the year. On September 10th, he pitched a complete game five hit shutout, against the Phillies at Shea. He struck out nine in the 3-0 win.

Leiter went 6-6 the rest of the season finishing off the year leading the Mets staff in wins with 16. He went 16-8 with a .667 winning percentage. 

He struck out 200 batters (5th in the NL) for the second time in his career, throwing 208 innings of work while posting a 3.20 ERA (6th best in the NL). Leiter led the league with a perfect .1000 fielding %, for the first of three seasons.

2000 Post Season-NLDS: Leiter started Game #2 of the NLDS in San Francisco against the Giants. He held the Giants down to one run on five hits pitching into the 9th inning. He allowed a leadoff double, giving way to Armando Benitez. 

Benitez blew the Mets 4-1 lead, serving up a three run HR to J.D. Drew. The Mets came back to win the game on Jay Payton’s RBI single in the top of the 10th inning.

2000 NLCS: In the NLCS against the St. Louis Cards, Leiter started Game #2 at Busch Stadium. In the 5th he gave up RBI doubles to Fernando Tatis & Edgar Renteria. 

He would pitch seven strong innings, allowing three runs on eight hits, leaving the game tied at 3-3. The Mets went on to win the game after a Jay Payton RBI single in the top of the 9th inning.

2000 World Series: He opened up the 2000 subway World Series for the Mets, starting Game #1 in the Bronx, pitching another quality start. 

He shut down the AL New York team until the 6th inning, then gave up two runs on David Justice's double. Leiter left Game #1 with a 3-2 lead after seven innings pitched and striking out seven batters. 

Armando Benitez blew that lead in the bottom of the 9th, Turk Wendell got beat with Jose Vizcaino's walk off hit, as the Mets lost a heart breaker in extra innings.

In Game #5 at Shea Stadium, Leiter pitched his heart out trying to keep the Mets alive in the Series. 

He went into the 9th inning, having allowed just two runs, a Bernie Williams HR the biggest blow, on five hits having struck out seven along the way. After striking out the first two batters, he gave up a walk & base hit. Luis Sojo singled & a Jay Payton throwing error caused both runners to score making it 4-2.

Unfortunately, the Mets offense couldn’t get anything going for him in the bottom of the inning. 

Leiter pitched two World Series games going 0-1, allowing six runs (five earned) on 12 hits in 15.2 innings of work. He struck out 16 & walked six posting a 2.87 ERA.

Roberto Clemente Award: That off season he was honored with the Roberto Clemente Award for all his charitable works. On top of his Leiter's Landing work, he had Microsoft donate computers to needy schools, helped feed the Elderly in Queens during Christmas & established a fund for high school students who volunteered.

After the Pennant: On Opening Day 2001 he pitched a fine game going seven innings, allowing two runs in Atlanta, but earned no decision in the Mets 6-4 win over the Braves. 

He then earned losses in his next three starts, including a game in Cincinnati where he only gave up a run in eight innings, as the Mets were shut out by Chris Reitsma 1-0.

He rebounded winning three straight, first shutting out the Dodgers for six innings at Shea, then took wins in Montreal & at home over the Marlins

Like the Mets he struggled & lost five of his next six starts finding himself at 4-8 at the break. The Mets were in fourth place, thirteen games behind the Phillies.

On July 17th, he shut out the Blue Jays in seven innings of work, as Mike Piazza's RBI was the only run of the game, off Chris Carpenter, in a 1-0 Mets win at Shea.

Leiter pitched his best at the end of August into early September winning four straight games pitching into the 7th inning or beyond three times.

On August 26th he pitched eight innings against the Giants allowing just three runs in the 6-5 Mets win. He earned another victory in his next start when he pitched eight innings once again, this time against the Marlins. He allowed just one run & struck out seven for win number ten on the year.

911: The morning of 911 Leiter dropped his daughter off at school in Manhattan & was supposed to pitch in Pittsburgh that night. He was at LaGuardia at airport as the attacks unfolded.

Twin Towers Fund: He was appointed to the Twin Towers Fund board of directors by Mayor Rudi Giuliani & was vital in allocating more than $280 million in donations.

On September 17th, he made the start in the first game played after the 911 attacks. He allowed just one run in seven innings at Pittsburgh but exited in a 1-1 tie. The Mets went on to win it as John Franco got the victory. 

He then had two good outings against the Braves pitching a full eight innings while allowing just one run each time, but he earned no decisions due to lack of run support as the Mets lost both games. 

Triple: On August 31st he hit his only career a triple, driving in two runs off pitcher Brad Penny.

The Mets won seven out of eight games after 911 & went from eight games back to three games back but fell out of the race the final week finishing up at 82-80 in third place.

In 2001 Leiter was 11-11 but pitched better than his record showed. He posted a 3.31 ERA (8th best in the NL) struck out 142 batters & walked 46 in 187 innings pitched.  

2002: On Opening Day, Leiter beat the Pittsburgh Pirates pitching six innings of one run baseball in the 6-2 win. 

Shut Out: On April 18th, he had his best game of the year, tossing a two-hit shutout in Montreal striking out eight Expos & walking two. 

First To Beat all 30 Teams: On April 30th, he defeated the Arizona Diamondbacks in a 10-1 Mets win. The victory made him the first pitcher in MLB history to have a win against all 30 teams.

On May 5th centerfieldmaz traveled on a baseball trip to Houston to see the Mets, but Leiter gave up four runs on five hits through the first four innings & the bullpen gave up another eight runs in the horrible 12-1 blow out.

In his next start he gave up two HRs to the Rockies at Shea but still earned the win in the Mets 4-2 victory. On May 16th in San Diego, Leiter shut out the Padres for seven innings, to earn his 5th win. In that game he drove in one of the Mets three runs.

He had a good start on the year going 5-2. By the All Star break he was 9-7 posting a 2.95 ERA. He was just like the team bouncing around at the .500 level the rest of the way. 

On the first anniversary of the September 11th attacks, Leiter threw his second complete game shutout of the year, a five hitter in the second game of a double header against the Braves in Atlanta.

 On the year he went 13-13 with 172 strike outs & 69 walks, pitching in 204 innings while posting a 3.48 ERA. The Mets finished fifth (75-86) under .500 for the first time in six seasons. Bobby Valentine was let go as a manager & a dark era was under way.

2003: This season, the 37-year-old Leiter, took a back seat to the newly acquired Tom Glavine as the ace of the staff.

In the second game of the year, he beat the Chicago Cubs 4-2, allowing just two runs in 6.2 innings. Leiter won his first three decisions, even pitching six innings of shutout ball in Montreal but not getting a decision. 

After his first five games his ERA was 2.35, but a five-run outing in St. Louis & then a horrific ten run, thirteen hit outing in San Francisco, where he gave up a pair of HRs to Barry Bonds & Marquis Grisson, blew it up to 4.62.

In July he went two games without giving up a run, pitching seven innings each time, earning his ninth & tenth wins of the year. On August 28th & September 2nd, he shut out the Braves in 14 innings over the two games, earning wins thirteen & fourteen.

On September 23rd, he had his best game of the year, a complete game shut out over the Pirates. He gave up eight hits, struck out six & walked just one, as he beat Kip Wells 1-0. The only run came when Mike Piazza scored on Timo Perez's grounder to short.

On the season, Leiter went 15-9 on the season, second on the staff in wins to Steve Trachsel who won 16 games. Leiter was ninth in the NL in wins that season. He struck out 139 batters while walking 94 (5th most in the NL) pitching 180 innings and posting a 3.99 ERA.

The Mets finished fifth winning just 66 games under Art Howe.

2004: It would be his final Mets season as the 38 year Al Leiter’s career began to wind down. 

In his first start he pitched five shutout innings, but John Patterson (Chad Cordero & Rocky Biddle) shut out the Mets in a 1-0 loss. In his next start, he pitched into the 6th inning shutting out Atlanta. Three other Mets pitchers help combine in the 4-0 shut out. 

On June 6th he won only his second game, but in his first ten starts, had not allowed a run in four of them & only one run in three others, his ERA was under two at 1.98. Lack of run support from the .500 Mets up to that point was killing him.

After a loss in Florida where he gave up four runs, he didn't allow more than a run in each of his
next four starts, three earned runs over 24 innings. He peaked at an 8-3 record by early August.

Bob Murphy Funeral: Leiter attended & contributed to the funeral services for Mets broadcaster Bob Murphy at St. Patrick's Cathedral. 

On September 26th, Leiter earned the 3-2 win over the Chicago Cubs, giving him his tenth win of the year. He had won double figures, winning at least ten games, in each of the last ten years. With four seasons of winning 15 or more games.

He made his last Mets start on October 2nd, getting no decision in a 6-3 loss the Montreal Expos at Shea Stadium. 

In 2004 Leiter won ten games overall on the year, going 10-8 with a 3.21 ERA. He struck out 117 batters & walked 97 in 173.2 innings of work pitching in thirty starts.

Mets Career: In his seven-year Mets career he made 213 starts (6th on the all-time Mets list) winning 95 games (95-67) which is also sixth most wins on the Mets all-time list. 

He is seventh in innings pitched (1360) & eight in strike outs (1106) with a 3.42 ERA. He is tenth in winning % (.586) & losses (67). As a Met Leiter was in the league's top ten in ERA four times, wins three times, strikeouts twice and threw at least one shut out in four different seasons.

At bat he batted .084 (33-394) with seven doubles one triple & 14 RBIs.

Post Mets Career: In 2005 he went back to the Florida Marlins going 3-7 with a 6.62 ERA through mid-July when he was sent to the A.L. New York club to finish out his career. There he was 4-5 with a 5.49 ERA in 16 appearances (ten starts).

Career Stats: Lifetime over nineteen seasons he was 162-132 with 1974 strikeouts (94th all time)
1163 walks (61st all time), 16 complete games 10 shutouts and a 3.80 ERA in 2391 innings pitched in 419 games 382 starts.

At the plate he batted .085 (45-530) with 16 RBIs.

Retirement: Leiter began broadcasting games while still a player during the post season games on Fox. 

TV Analyst: In 2006 he began a ten-year relationship working on the YES Network, as a game analyst. He angered a lot of Met fans turning to the dark side & received Boo's at Shea Stadium during the 2008 closing ceremonies.

In 2009 he signed on for MLB Networks inaugural season as an in-studio reporter. He was on for the very first broadcast of the network. 

Honors: He received six Nation Sports Emmy Nominations for Studio Analyst & has won three for Outstanding Studio Daily MLB Tonight segment Producer.

 He also won three New York Sports Emmy's on YES network.

In 2016 he worked select games for the Florida Marlins on FOX Sports Florida.

In 2019 he was named a baseball Operations advisor for the Mets. He took a break from broadcasting to spend more time with his family.

Mets Honors: He was on hand for the closing ceremonies of Shea Stadium in 2008 & got a luke-warm greeting due to his ties with the cross-town rivals.

Leiter was on hand when Mike Piazza was inducted to the Mets Hall of Fame.

Leiter attended the 2022 Mets Old Timers' Day extravaganza.

Politics & New Jersey: Leiter has considered running for political office on the Republican ticket in the state of New Jersey. He was part of Governor Chris Christie's transition team.

He was also appointed to NYC & Co. tourism by Mayor Michael Bloomberg.

*Al Leiter was born in Bayville, New Jersey, a native of Berkley Township.

He was appointed as member to the NJ Sports, Gaming, and Entertainment Committee. He was appointed to the New Jersey Hall of Fame Commission as well.

Music: Leiter is a big Bruce Springsteen fan & was seen at many Springsteen concerts during his Mets years. During the 2003 Tour, Al attended the shows at Shea Stadium. 

Family: Al & his wife Lori have four children. Lori Leiter has a law degree & is an attorney.

Al Leiter is of Austrian, Czech & British descent.

His brother Mark Leiter pitched 11
MLB seasons (1990-2001) for eight teams. 
Mark has pitched for AL New York (1990) Detroit (1991-1993) California Angels (1994) San Francisco (1995-1996) Montreal (1996) Philadelphia (1997-1998) Seattle (1999) & Milwaukee (2001). He went 65-73 with a 4.57 ERA.


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