Backed by a 16-hit attack, Al Leiter finally triumphed over his number one NL nemesis, the Arizona Diamondbacks, on this date in 2002. More significantly, the 10–1 victory made the Met lefty the first pitcher to beat all 30 teams in the major leagues.
It was a laugher for Leiter, who had little to smile about in his four previous regular season starts against Arizona, going 0–3 with a 5.40 ERA. On this occasion, he was able to cruise, yielding only three hits and one unearned run over seven innings. A three-run homer by Mike Piazza gave him a cushion before he even took the mound and a two-run Piazza blast capped a three-run second. In the third, Leiter himself contributed a single and scored a run in the middle of a four-run outburst.
Although his win on this date was historic, Leiter’s best performance against Arizona was in Game Four of the 1999 NLDS, when he held them to three runs over 7.2 innings, with the Mets clinching the series on Todd Pratt’s walk-off homer in the 10th.
In four subsequent encounters with the D’backs after April 30, 2002, Leiter would squeeze out only one win while posting an ERA of 7.48
Happy 74th birthday to another talented lefty, Bob Hendley. He got off to a rough start after coming to the Mets in mid-June of 1967, but then settled in as the team’s most effective starter after Tom Seaver. Over one nine-start stretch he posted a 2.79 ERA, despite walking almost as many as he struck out. Then elbow troubles led to a few very short starts, which dropped his WAR to 0.2, followed by a season-ending trip to the disabled list. Following successful surgery, Hendley re-signed with the Mets, but despite pitching very well for Triple-A Jacksonville in 1968 he was not recalled to the big club. After spending the entire 1969 season in Triple-A as well, he called it quits.
Amazin’-ly Tenuous Connection
Today we’re serving up an Amazin’-ly Tenuous Sandwich: Johnny Galecki—Leonard on “The Big Bang Theory”—celebrates his 38th birthday today. On “Roseanne,” Galecki had many scenes with John Goodman, who later portrayed Babe Ruth in “The Babe.” On the very day that Ruth died, future Met Mike Jorgensen was born. Jorgensen was one of three players the Mets sent to Montreal to acquire Rusty Staub. Staub hails from New Orleans, the most famous city in Louisiana… which was granted statehood on this date in 1812.