As we hit the 2000's in our All Star Memories series, the New York Mets have sent a lot of different players to the All Star Game in their history. A lot of their representatives have been starting pitching, due to the Mets' history of strong starting pitching. Another starting pitcher to make the All Star Game as a Met was left hander Al Leiter. The New Jersey native pitched with the Mets from 1998-2004 after being acquired from the Florida Marlins. Leiter had previously made the All Star team with the Marlins in 1996, and made one with the Mets in 2000 as well.
2000: Al Leiter was a strong number two starter for the Mets in 2000, finishing the year 16-8 with a 3.20 ERA and a career high 200 strikeouts in 208 innings pitched. Leiter was selected to be a pitcher on the National League All Star team for the Midsummer Classic, held at Atlanta's Turner Field. Leiter entered in the fourth inning and gave up a two run single to Derek Jeter to give the American League a 3-1 lead. Leiter gave up two runs (one earned) in his inning of work and took the loss in the NL's 6-3 defeat. All wasn't lost for Leiter, however, as he played a big role in getting the Mets to the World Series for the first time since 1986. The Mets would go on to drop the Fall Classic to the Yankees four games to one.
Leiter pitched another four years for the Mets, but his effectiveness began to decline as Leiter's age caught up to him. The Mets let the 38 year old lefty go in free agency at the end of the season, and he signed a one year contract with the Marlins. Leiter struggled mightily in Florida, where he was waived and picked up by the New York Yankees. Leiter's career had come full circle, as he had made his major league debut with the Yankees. After making several starts in pinstripes, Leiter pitched in his final postseason as a member of the Yankees' bullpen. Leiter signed a minor league deal with the Yankees in 2006, but retired in spring training after pitching for the United States in the inaugural World Baseball Classic. After his career was over, Leiter became a broadcaster for the YES Network and MLB Network.
Check back next week as our All Star Memories Series takes a look at second baseman Edgardo Alfonzo!
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- Mets 101 All Star Memories: Dwight Gooden
- Mets 101 All-Star Memories: David Cone (1988, 1992)
- Mets 101 All-Star Memories – Howard Johnson
- Mets 101 All Star Memories: Mike Piazza (1998-2002, 2004-2005)
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