Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Happy Birthday Al Leiter

Happy 42nd birthday to former Florida Marlins pitcher Al Leiter. During his 19 year major league career , Leiter compiled a career record of 162-132 with a 3.80 ERA and 1,974 strikeouts. He had two stints with the Marlins from 1996 to 1997 and again in 2005. On May 11, 1996, Leiter became the first pitcher in Marlins history to throw a no-hitter after beating the Colorado Rockies. He is also remembered for having started game seven of the 1997 World Series, pitching 6 innings and giving up 2 earned runs while being credited with a no decision. The Marlins would go on to beat the Cleveland Indians in extra innings and clinch the team's first World Series title.

Born Alois Terry Leiter in Tom's River, New Jersey, Leiter came from an athletic family. His older brother Mark was also major league pitcher. But it was Al who was considered the best talent in the family. At Central Regional High School in New Jersey he began to carve a legendary career, attracting major league scouts with his lively arm and 90 plus mph fastball. Following his high school graduation, the New York Yankees selected Leiter in the second round of the 1984 Major League Draft. Three years later, he made his major league debut with the Yankees.

Over the course of the next 18 years, Leiter pitched for the Yankees, Blue Jays, Marlins and Mets. In April 2002, he became the first pitcher to defeat all 30 major league teams and was a two-time National League All Star. (1996 and 2000).

Leiter spent only three combined seasons with the Marlins during his two stints. His 1996 season was one of the best of his career. In addition to throwing a no-hitter, Leiter went 16-12 with 200 strikeouts. In 1997, he helped the Marlins win the World Series. Leiter also has a World Series ring as a member of the 1993 Toronto Blue Jays.

Following his baseball career, Leiter has gone on to a successful broadcast career. He currently works for the YES Network doing color commentary on the New York Yankees broadcasts. He has also done work for the Fox Network during the playoffs over the last several seasons. Leiter is also known for his charity work. He won the Branch Rickey Award in 1999 and the Roberto Clemente Award in 2000.

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