Al Leiter
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Al Leiter
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Memories of
Al Leiter
Al Leiter
Ultimate Mets Database popularity ranking: 48 of 1043 players
Alois Terry Leiter
Born: October 23, 1965 at Toms River, N.J.
Throws: Left Bats: Left
Height: 6.03 Weight: 215

Al Leiter has been the most popular Ultimate Mets Database daily lookup 17 times, most recently on April 5, 2016.


First Mets game: April 2, 1998
Last Mets game: October 2, 2004

Winner of National League Pitcher of the Month award, June 1999, June 2000. (New York Mets)

Share your memories of Al Leiter


Happy Recap
Al Leiter 1974 baseball card
It's easy to like Al Leiter. As a kid he was a Mets fan, and that's certainly easy to relate to. He even looks like a Met. His face seems to have traces of Jerry Koosman and Tug McGraw. He had a big season for the Mets in 1998 and after signing a big contract, had an uneven 1999. He tended to struggle in the early innings, and he hovered around the .500 mark. But when the season ended with the Mets tied with the Reds for the wild card position, Al Leiter stepped up and earned his $8 million. In a one-game, do-or-die playoff game at Riverfront Stadium, Leiter pitched a gutsy two-hit shutout, prevented the Reds from ever coming to life, and launched the Mets into the postseason for the first time in eleven years. Thanks to Al Leiter for being at his best just when the Mets needed it!

Al is a great pitcher and a true gamer. At the beginning of the 2000 season, some fans were knocking Al pretty hard. I hope they realized their mistake and watched Al put together a fine season.

victoria vigilante
I really enjoy watching the game when Al Leiter is pitching. I am a 41 year old female and was never so interested in baseball as I was this year. I enjoy watching people play from the heart and give it all they got. Al Leiter's pitching has shown me just that.

February 14, 2001
Another gutty lefty in the mold of Koosman and Ojeda. His Game 5 performance should be viewed with the admiration it deserves. Pitched his butt off.

Andy from Rego Park
March 14, 2001
A great pitcher and a very decent guy. Gotta like the way he goes about his job. All he does is pitch and win. Never ever take him for granted.

Coach HoJo 20
April 4, 2001
Leiter is awesome. Definitely a guy I want as my ace. Always pitches a good game. But some times gets screwed out of a win by somebody in the bullpen.

May 24, 2001
One of the biggest "steals" the Mets ever pull off, not counting Mike Piazza. Man am I happy the Florida Marlins were so screwed up. In all my years of watching baseball, I've never seen a left-hander who's slider so terrorizes righty hitters. Leiter has certainly kept bat manufacturers in business. Even Koufax, whose curve fell of a table, must envy Leiter. He has kept the Mets respectable all by himself, these last few years. And what a combination with Hampton last year. He's most responsible for the Mets going to the series in 2000

Mr. Sparkle
June 7, 2001
I never liked Al in his early days because he was once a Yankee although I did root for him once he got traded in hopes it would make the Yankees look bad. Little did I know he grew up a Mets fan. Now, of course, I love the guy, and although we miss Hampton now, Al was the ace last year and has been since he got here. He's turned out to be a great addition and may not be an all time Met great but is certainly one of the better pitchers in their history and you gotta love his attitude. Plus he runs his own charity so what's not to like?

Anne from NYC
July 25, 2001
Al is one of the classiest men in the game today. I hope and pray he ends his career with the Mets.

Mr. Sparkle
September 24, 2001
I read in Sunday's paper that before this season Al considered retirement when his contract is up after 2002. But since he is pitching well this year is thinking of going another two years on two conditions 1) he continues to pitch well next year and 2) he would only want to play for the Mets!! You gotta love that. Any player who says that I don't care how bad he is is OK in my book. That will endear him to me forever. If I were Al though I would write in my contract that I would only wear the home pinstripes when I pitched and only greys on the road. No black. I hate those uniforms!

October 20, 2001
I never remember not liking AL.Last year my heart sank when he lost in the WS.Al is a guy worth liking.

January 2, 2002
I love Al, he's great. Gotta love those facial expressions he comes up with out there on the hill. I have to disagree with ANewYorkGUY's saying that aquiring him was a "steal". AJ Burnett threw a no hitter last year for the Marlins and he's gonna be a solid major leaguer for a while. The kid throws gas. I'm not saying I don't like the deal the Mets made, we wouldn't have made it to the playoffs or the World Series without him, no doubt. But, when you give up talent like Burnett, the deal isn't a "steal".

January 12, 2002
Al is easily my favorite met of all time. He has been with us for 4 years or so and there hasn't been one start in which he has not given 100 percent. When he lost that game in the WS it was horrible. No man should be left in a game for 142 pitches. I give him credit for going through those 8 2/3 innings without his arm falling off. He is a riot to watch ,also, with his great facial expressions. My two greatest Leiter memories include his bunt to tie the game in game 5 of the World Series off Pettite. Only he would have the guts to try that. He also brought a major highlight to a dismal season during 2001 with his awesome triple against the marlins. I will be a Leiter fan for life.

January 16, 2002
On August 26th, 2001 Al Leiter got his first career triple. The fans and Leiter were amazed at what he did on that night.

Also on April 7th, 1998 Leiter got his first career double at Wrigley Field. This gave him his very first Met victory and his first career extra base hit.

He recorded his first double and triple with the Mets.

Mr. Sparkle
May 1, 2002
Never realized until this second that his first name is Alois. Woooooo! Nice one. Anyway, tonight the Mets are up 10-1 in AZ and I couldn't stop laughing at one of Al's at bats. He got his first hit of the season on a broken bat single up the middle. But after hitting the ball, Al stopped for a couple of seconds to watch the part of the bat that flew off to his right. He just stood there and watched the bat fly. Then realizing he should have a hit started running to first. It was just so funny to see him stand there and watch the bat instead of running. You had to see it.

Mr. Sparkle
July 24, 2002
I don't know about anyone else but the Lieter contract negotiations, or lack there of, were making me very depressed. Now that Al is signed to an extension, I am quite relieved that a true blue Met is staying in the fold. I guess all that Yankee talk was just a ploy, thank God!

July 25, 2002
Al is just a classy guy, he took less money to stay a Met, he certainly could have gotten more somewhere else, and for that I will always love him. Maybe the players and owners can take a look at what Al decided to do and learn from it, because you know the Mets will probably make it into the playoffs and then there will be a strike.

Karl Bonham
February 10, 2003
Here's something I just read. Al Leiter's heroes were not baseball-related. A big fan of "Sanford and Son," Al's heroes were JULIO, BUBBA, and GRADY! Awesome!

Joe Figliola
February 19, 2003
"Sanford and Son?" Well, I recall Redd Foxx wielding a baseball bat at people he didn't like on the show. Perhaps Mr. Sanford was a better hitter than Al. That is a funny anecdote, though.

Anyway, from TV to baseball; in '99, my friend Greg and I went to see Mets/Rockies at Shea. It was a tough game, and Al seemed to be in one jam after another. So I started calling Al every (clean) name in the book. I called him a "bum," a "dog" and a "dirtbag." And he somehow managed to get out of each situation.

Midway through the game, Al had two strikes on a Rockie and I said, "OK, Al; strike him out, babe." Greg looked at me and said, "Oh, so now he's babe?!" I think he was expecting to continue ragging Al, but how can I? Al's a great competitor and it's just as exciting when he bats as well as he pitches.

Larry Burns
May 27, 2003
Good pitcher, terrible hitter, shares the same first name as Hitler's dad! This guy is a character of the first order. Unfortunately the supporting cast has not been able to vault him into true superstar catagory. He loves playing with the Metropolitans and is a class guy. Friends met him in a bar and swear he is a sincerely nice gentlemen. I guess if we had a few more Al's and a few less Armando's we could actually challenge for the division.

June 19, 2003
Al Leiter is definitely at least my current favorite baseball player. I have the Mets in my blood. Most of my closest family is Met's fans. I remember when they got Al Leiter in February of 1998. My dad tells me all he remembers is me stretching the pronunciation of his name in a manner like, "AAAl Leiiiter" when I told him about how they had traded for him that day.

During spring break in ninth grade, I got to see him win his first game as a Met at Shea by a score of 6-0 over the Cubs. It was my dad and I on a cold night. My great grandma from my mom's side (who was also a big Met's fan) had just died and we had just finished the whole funeral thing. I remember "Born to Run" by Bruce Springsteen was playing as he was warming up in the first inning of that game. Everytime I hear a song by Bruce Springsteen, I get reminded of Al Leiter.

In 2001, my sister Emily, bro-in-law Dennis, and cousin Danny drove down to Florida together to see the Mets in spring training with my grandma who is a big Mets fan and is still real funny to watch a Met's game with being in her late seventies. I remember as I was waiting by the fence with my cousin to get Al Leiter's autograph, I yelled "Springsteen rocks" and got Al Leiter to laugh. I got his autograph, along with John Franco's for the second time, and Rick Reed's that day. I got to skip a lot of school for this trip. It was awesome.

I was glad when Al Leiter signed that extension in July of last year. He is definitely a true hero, not just for what he does on the field, also for what he does outside of it for us fans and those less fortunate.

June 19, 2003
I love to watch this man pitch! I suspect he doesn't play poker, or at least not very well, by some of his facial expressions he makes while on the mound! He loves the Game and it truly shows. Al is a well-spoken man, a very talented southpaw, and a true credit to the Mets.

Mike Piazza's number one fan
June 23, 2003
Love when he pitches because I get to hear him grunt really loudly.

June 26, 2003
I love Al, but I have noticed one thing this season-he seems to have gained quite a bit of weight and I think it's messing up his mechanics, I remember reading somewhere that Mickey Lolich was asked to lose weight, and when he did he was terrible because his mechanics were messed up. I think the same thing is happening to Al in reverse here. He must be eating out of frustration with this team.

July 1, 2003
His name may be Leiter, but his ERA gets fatter with every start. If Shari's observation is correct, Leiter's coming down with Bobby Bonilla Syndrome.

Joe Figliola
July 8, 2003
Remember the film "Freaky Friday," where Jodi Foster and her mom switched bodies. I think that's what happened with Al and Trachsel.

"The loser" is winning, and doing so in terrific fashion. I just had a feeling that the more venom I spewed on Trachsel, the better the year he would have. Meanwhile, Al, the consummate professional, is turning into what Fred Sanford referred to his son... a big dummy.

As much as I like Al and he is a competitor, his behavior of late is that of a two year-old. He's wigging out on the press because they're noting his inconsistencies? Give me a break.

The one drawback I have about Leiter is his work ethic, especially his hitting. In the past, guys like Jerry Koosman and Craig Swan sucked so badly at the plate when they first came up; but they worked on it and became pretty decent with their sticks after a couple of years. Randy Tate had better mechanics than Al, who by the way is oh-for-the-season.

Mr Topps
December 24, 2003
If Al has a good year in 2004 he could move up in the all time wins and strikeout lists for the Mets.

Currently, Al has 85 wins. If he could win 15 (let's hope so) it will give him 100. Thus moving him past Sid Fernandez and Ron Darling for the number 4 spot.

In addition, Al is number 8 all time in strikeouts with 989. He should at least move past Jon Matlack (1023) and get close to Ron Darling (1148) for number 6.

Good luck Al. I hope your still pitching in your 40's!

January 23, 2004
My best memory of Al is his shutout of the Reds in the sudden death playoff game that clinched the NL wild card for the Mets in '99. He had some big games before then and was money all year in 2000, but this game sticks out as the most clutch performance Al has ever had with the Mets.

Guys like Glavine and Hampton come and go but Al has been great since he's been a Met. Hopefully he'll retire as a Met.

Also, if Al has a good year (15 wins), he'll win his 100th game as a Met, putting him 4th on the all time Mets career win list behind Gooden, Koosman and Seaver.

September 24, 2004
Yup, here comes another LenDog post bashing a Met player.

I used to really like this guy. Now it is so obvious that he is part of the underachieving cancer that is the 2004 Mets.

Al his his World Series rings and a no-trade clause that will keep him employed within driving distance of his Toms River home.

It's obvious that Leiter, like Franco, views winning as a happy accident. The real value of being a Met is the low expectations, tolerance of mediocrity, high salary, and proximity to your childhood roots.

Hey Al - you say it's hard to get motivated to pitch for this team? Try driving to Shea and dropping $100+ to WATCH you...guess what my motivation is to do that?

And another thing -- I don't remember Seaver, Koosman, Dykstra and Wally talking about their plans for AFTER the big leagues. They couldn't get their heads out of the game. If you want to be a senator, leave now and open that salary and roster spot for someone who cares. And take Hollywood Zeile and his production company dreams with you.

Thanks for the great 1999 and that playoff game against the Reds. I will remember that stuff, not how you have become a thief, stealing the money of faithful fans and foolish owners.

October 10, 2004
There's nobody that needs to go more than him. 160 innings in 30 starts - disgraceful! The guy has killed the bullpen 'cause he throws 130 pitches in 5 innings, and goes full count on everyone, even the opposing pitcher! Not to mention him budding up with Jeff, and being involved in management's moves.

October 14, 2004
Although his innings were low this year, his ERA was pretty stellar 3.21. He gave the team quality innings and the chances to win, especially in the 1st half. Contrary to the published reports by the POST, etc. appeared last month, he showed passion all year on the mound. Have you listened his grunts?

I'm very happy with the idea that he'll pitch for the Mets next year because Al is one of the reasons why I go to Shea. The Mets can use the buyout and sign him cheap. Al should be a solid 6 inning pitcher with the ERA 3.5-4.0 next year.

Al is a great talker and will make commentary for the NLCS from tomorrow (10/13/04). I am very excited about it so it doesn't matter that the Yanks are leading the Sox right now!

October 27, 2004
Leiter did a good job calling games in the Alcs. Al should either stay in the booth or go back to the Yanks where he can make Brown look good. Leiter just can't be back he's pretty much shot, and he has way too much power with the owners.

November 16, 2004
My current favorite player and one of my favorites in the team's history. I got his autograph for the second time at spring training last March. I think people overreacted to what he said about it being hard to get motivated to pitch for the team. How can you blame him with how far the team has declined since 2000? He is still human. Definitely think they should keep him as the number 5 starter for 2005.

November 28, 2004
The only people that want Al back are the people that are nostalgic over his first few years here. Al had an over 5 e.r.a after the all-star break, and couldn't pitch through 5 innings this year. The guy has hurt this team's bullpen badly.

December 14, 2004
Good riddance! While Al had some great moments for the Mets during his tenure and will go down as one of the all time great Met pitchers, I believed that he outstayed his welcome the last two or three years. His growing input and power possibly resulted in the firing of Bobby V. (which was deserved at the time anyway) and the dealing of Scott Kazmir. Too much of a mouthpiece for a guy who should have just stuck to pitching and been a CLUB HOUSE leader not dictator. I wish him the best of luck in Florida though I personally would like to see the Mets smack him around when they lock up this year. Lord knows they will get plenty of opportunities to do so.

Bubba Agbayani
December 14, 2004
This franchise is such a mess that the last thing we can afford is nostalgia...good for Omar for getting rid of all the clubhouse lawyers...I loved Al for the 95 wins and his savvy in the 1999-2000 playoffs, but that was 4-5 years ago, and what's fresh in my mind is his alleged role in losing Kazmir...if it's true, I say good riddance, because he'll be twice the pitcher you ever least Al had some redeeming features, unlike Franco, who was the most damaging player in Met history.

January 10, 2005
Bashing Al Leiter is crazy. Yes, he overworked the bullpen, but unlike the rest of the staff, he actually pitched succesfully. You knock him for loving the low expectations in New York, but he clearly plays for a love of the game. Whether the Mets were good or bad, he always gave his best efforts. His performance in game 5 vs. the Yankees was heroic. We expect players to show loyalty to teams. How about the other way around? The Mets continue to make it difficult to me to root for them by trying to get rid of anyone who I could enjoy rooting for.

Jonathan Stern
January 11, 2005
I like Happy Recap's above remarks about how Leiter looks like a composite of Kooz and Tug. And he seemed to have a little of Gary Carter's fist-pumping bravado. Unfortunately, he also possessed more than a bit of Kid's penchants for self-promotion and phoniness.

Talk about Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde. Which Al Leiter will history emphasize? The winning, endearing Leiter of 1998-2000, or the clubhouse lawyer of the four seasons that followed? You cannot take away from Leiter the life that he brought to the team in 1998, as well as the heroic post-season performances, particularly the one-game playoff against the Reds in 1999 (Is it me or were the 1999 Mets more fun and memorable than were the 2000 Mets?). Moreover, Leiter has consistently given to charity and been quite outgoing with the fans.

But he has failed to adequately defend himself against the charges levied against him by Nelson Doubleday. Each attempt he has made to do so has blown up in his face. Until evidence proves otherwise, I have no choice to conclude that Leiter was, indeed, coddled by the Wilpons and, untimately, hugely responsible for the franchise spending $400 million over four years to lose. The Wilpons are partially to blame for trying too hard reward certain 2000 Mets as they did not the 1986 bunch. But Leiter was clearly spoiled by the treatment, and the franchise suffered for it.

In addition, Lord knows he was paid handsomely, so I cannot easily stomach his complaints on his way out the door. And, in early 2003, he proved himself a phony when, after a few seasons of being a definite media "good guy," he shunned WFAN after Chris Russo dared to (correctly) criticize him for being overweight and pitching poorly. Up until then, when all was going well for him, Leiter had been on WFAN so often you'd have thought he was an employee.

The good news: Leiter lost the weight quickly and went on to win 15 games for a 66-95 team. The bad news: there was no reconciliation between him and WFAN. More Jekyll and Hyde.

He's gone, and likely never to come back. Over the last few weeks I was tempted to write something scathing about him. After all, I wouldn't want to do to my favorite team (the Mets) what he and Franco did to their favorite team (the Mets). But I have to say, I feel too much sadness over the story of Al Leiter's Mets tenure to want to tear him apart more than I already have.

January 19, 2005
Now Al Leiter comes across as a pretty intelligent guy - him and Tim McCarver are both into the mechanics of the games.

Leiter turned out to be a pretty good pitcher - he was the ace of the staff - even when the Mets got Tom Glavine. He pitched the Mets into the World Series and his stats with the Mets are more than impressive. For a team that has lacked leadership for decades, Leiter was entitled to speak his mind about Scott Kazmir.

January 31, 2005
Please, Hampton pitched us to the series, not Leiter. And no player has the right to decide another's fate. That's like the guy in the cubicle next to you holding sway over where you are allowed to work. This guy wanted New York to love him, and when New York passed, he got all pissy. Of course some people defend him, but that's because he is a memeber of the last good generation of Mets. He's also a bum who walks pitchers... PITCHERS with four straight gutterballs. Not even Mazzone could help him. Good. Bye.

January 31, 2005
Leiter after 2000 pitched like a #4 starter yet got paid like an ace. His meddling in management's moves hurt the team. Good riddance that he's gone.

Matt Jensen
February 15, 2005
I'll keep it simple....I have known no other team than the Mets and Al was my guy. I was crushed we didnt re-sign him. This man came as close as you could in the last decade or more to bleed orange and blue. I will always remain a Leiter fan...what a competitor.

Diamond Dave
March 17, 2005
Al Leiter and Piazza were my favorite Mets of the last 6 years. I was sorry to see Al go! He never had a losing season as a Met and he was on some bad teams (03 and 04) to boot. Would have been nice if he finished as a Met. He was so close to 100 victories as a Met. (95, I think he had.) He would have passed Darling and El Sid if he had pitched one more season.

Best game I ever saw him throw was a victory early in the 2002 season in Atlanta (where I always see the Mets lose of late (I'm like 3-9). Anyway we had seats two rows behind Mets dugout and were talking with Estes and Edgardo and Al had a very effective game. Will miss him in rotation.

March 21, 2005
I'm from the Jersey shore, and up until Thanksgiving Day weekend I worked at the Loews Movie Theater in Toms River, NJ. The weekend between when he started commentating and the end of the season, who else walks in on Saturday night, but Al Leiter? Now, we've had celebrities like Joe Pesci, Ron Jaworski, Danny Devito, David Bowie, etc, however they all required special attention and came on nights where they knew it would be empty (ie weeknights). I was lucky enough to be approached by Al with either his little girls or nieces. I was helping out in the concession stand, and since he had used Fandango, I brought him to the ticket counter and then got him his tickets. He was very polite and cordial.

Gregory Gewirtz
June 17, 2005
More a correction than a memory, but Rob Stratton was returned to the Mets when it was discovered he had back problems, and the Mets gave the Marlins RHP Brandon Villafuerte, and infielder Cesar Crespo, both currently of the Padres organization, in exchange for Stratton.

February 17, 2006
Sounds like the same Al Leiter who, after the Blue Jays won the World Series, refused to go to the White House because he didn't want to meet President Clinton (Leiter's a Republican). Also sounds like the same Al Leiter who's skipped out on a charity event to attend the Grammys one year, and the same guy who led the clubhouse crusade (with John Franco) to get rid of Bobby Valentine. Good goin', Al! You have a wonderful charity organization in Leiters Landing. That's true. But you're not a stand-up guy. That's also true.

Frankie B
August 29, 2007
Al was one of the best pitchers in Mets and for once we got rid of him just before he deteriorated. I was at the game when Al pitched against us in 2005 and was saddened when the Mets fans booed him. He pitched one of the best games in our post season in 2000 (game 5 WS) and should have been taken out after he gave up his first hit. Should have won game 1 too. Met fans should remember this and remember that he pitched us into the playoffs in 1999. One of the better Mets trades.

September 21, 2007
It's pretty funny reading people's opinions about Al change through the years. He left on an awful note, however, the things I remember about Al are all of the positive ones from his early career with the Mets.

Watching him dominate the Reds in '99 was awesome. Along with Bobby Jones in the 2000 NLDS this was the greatest game ever thrown by a Met pitcher in a big spot.

Even in defeat in Game 5 of the 2000 World Series Al showed what he was all about. He gutted his way through that game and gave us a chance to win. He though 140 something pitches that day.

He might have been a bit of a cancer in the club house in his latter years, however, when he took the ball every 5th day he gave you everything he had. As a fan who has invested countless hours over the last 25 years (my entire life) it is tough to not love a guy who gave you that.

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