3. Al Leiter
If Seaver pitched the Mets to the playoffs in the 1960s and ’70s, and Gooden was the star of the 1980s’ playoff rotations, left-hander Al Leiter played a similar role in helping pitch the Mets to the playoffs in 1999 and 2000.
Acquired via trade from the Marlins before the 1998 season, Leiter had a sparkling first season with the orange and blue. That year, he went 17-6 with a 2.47 ERA, 1.15 WHIP, and 174 strikeouts, leading to a 6th place finish in the NL Cy Young voting.
Leiter went on to have many more solid seasons for the Amazins. He finished top 10 in the league in ERA and shutouts four times, and WHIP three times, during his Mets tenure. Leiter added another notch of success to his belt when he was selected for his second All-Star team in 2000.
Arguably the biggest start of Leiter’s Mets career came in 1999 when he pitched in game 163 against the Cincinnati Reds, with whom the Mets had finished in a tie for the Wild Card. His two-hit shutout that day clinched the NL Wild Card for the Mets, nabbing them their first playoff berth in 11 years.
Though Leiter has gained additional fame as a broadcaster for YES Network since his retirement from playing, his years pitching in Queens solidified him as one of the best lefty starters in Mets history.