Al Leiter
Baseball pitcher, broadcaster
Born: October 23, 1965, in Toms River, New Jersey
New Jersey Hall of Fame, Class of 2017: Sports

In a 19-year career that included stints as a pitcher with both the New York Yankees and Mets, Al Leiter won more major league baseball games (162) than any other New Jersey native.

Born into a baseball-oriented family, Leiter was one of six brothers who played the game. Growing up in Berkeley Township, he starred at Central Regional High School, where he was selected an All-American. During one stretch, he pitched two consecutive no-hitters, followed by a 32-strikeout game that ended in a tie after 13 innings.

The Yankees drafted the lefty thrower in the second round of the 1984 amateur draft. (The Yankees also drafted Leiter’s older brother, Mark.) Leiter made his big-league debut on September 15, 1987, just shy of his 22nd birthday. He earned the win, but it was one of only seven victories he recorded in his first go-round with the Yankees, who traded Leiter to the Toronto Blue Jays in 1989.

Injury-prone during his early years in Toronto, Leiter finally began pitching effectively in 1993, helping the Blue Jays to a World Championship. He was at his peak for 10 seasons from 1995-2004, during which time he won at least 10 games each season for Toronto, the Florida Marlins and the Mets. On May 11, 1996, he pitched a no-hitter as a Marlin against the Colorado Rockies. The same season he recorded the final out of the National League’s victory in the All-Star game.

Leiter’s best season came with the Mets in 1998, when he won 17 games and struck out a career-high 200 batters, a feat he repeated in 2000. Over seven seasons with the Mets, he recorded 95 wins and rang up 1,106 strikeouts.

In July 2005, Leiter returned to the Yankees, winning four games in 10 starts and helping the team to the post-season. Pitching in relief, he earned the win in Game 4 of the American League Division Series against the Los Angeles Angels. It turned out to be his final big-league appearance; Leiter retired as a player the following spring.

After his retirement, Leiter became a star in the broadcast booth, working as an analyst and color commentator for Fox, ESPN, YES and the MLB Network. Along the way, he won numerous Sports Emmy Awards for his TV work. Leiter also has been honored for his charitable work, winning the MLB’s Branch Rickey Award in 1999 and the Roberto Clemente Award in 2000.

Intro/Acceptance Video