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New York Mets: 30 greatest players in franchise history

NEW YORK - APRIL 05: Fans outside the stadium prior to the Opening Day Game between the New York Mets and the Florida Marlins at Citi Field on April 5, 2010 in the Flushing neighborhood of the Queens borough of New York City. (Photo by Nick Laham/Getty Images)
NEW YORK - APRIL 05: Fans outside the stadium prior to the Opening Day Game between the New York Mets and the Florida Marlins at Citi Field on April 5, 2010 in the Flushing neighborhood of the Queens borough of New York City. (Photo by Nick Laham/Getty Images)
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Al Leiter, New York Mets
(Photo by Doug Benc/Getty Images)

Al Leiter

3. . P. 1998-2004. Al Leiter. 13

Al Leiter isn’t the starting pitcher we think of most when naming the greatest to step on the mound for the Mets. Thanks to longevity and consistent seasons, he’s very worthy of cracking this list.

Leiter is fourth in franchise history in WAR for pitchers. His 95 Mets wins ranks sixth. The only franchise record he actually owns is hitting the most batters. Still, he did a lot more for the orange and blue than bruise the opponent.

Leiter spent seven seasons with the Mets. In each, he won at least 10 games. The highest ERA he ever posted was a still respectable 4.23. In 1999, this wasn’t anything to be ashamed of.

During his first year with the Mets in 1998, Leiter delivered them 17 wins with a 2.47 ERA. He tossed four complete games and earned a pair of shutouts. He ate up plenty of innings in those years. By the end, he made 213 starts and finished 1,360 innings.

At no point in his playing career could anyone claim Leiter was the best pitcher in baseball. Based on the Cy Young voting results, he was never better than sixth in the National League.

Leiter was a grinder, though. He stayed healthy for the Mets. He remained on the mound for as many innings as they needed.

A successful run in the 2000 postseason may help define his tenure with the Amazins best. Although he went 0-1 in 4 starts, Leiter kept his team in the game. It’s all you can ask for from a starter when you’re up against a juggernaut like the New York Yankees.

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