Phoenix - Al Leiter didn't fulfill a lifelong dream
Tuesday night when he disposed of the Arizona Diamondbacks and became the only
pitcher to beat all 30 major-league teams. But he can appreciate that he stands
alone in at least one statistical category.
Leiter didn't know what he had accomplished until he returned to his hotel
room that night and switched on the television. At first, he didn't know what
to think. Leiter has done just about everything during his 13-year career -
pitching for the Yankees, Blue Jays, Marlins and Mets - and this was difficult
"This was it," Leiter joked. "It was Hall of Fame, Cy Young, world
championship and beat every team." Kidding aside, it still was noteworthy.
Manager Bobby Valentine said he would offer Leiter the lineup card from
Tuesday's 10-1 win. Leiter sounded as if he would accept.
"I'm not going to get too excited about it," Leiter said. "It's not
something to shoot for. After realizing I did it and I'm the only one in the
history of the game to do it, I'm proud and appreciate Bobby for doing that."
Asked about its significance, Leiter turned a little more reflective.
"Probably longevity, perseverance," he said. "All the stuff I've been
through. There was a time I was thinking I wouldn't even get back, let alone
pitch 11 years later. After my second surgery, I never thought I'd amount to
Leiter may not hold the distinction much longer. Four other pitchers have
defeated 29 of the 30 teams, but only one has a legitimate shot at matching him
in the near future. Randy Johnson (Arizona) and Hideo Nomo (Dodgers) have
beaten every team but their own, and Ken Hill is retired. The Dodgers' Kevin
Brown only needs Tampa Bay, and Los Angeles will face them this year in
"Maybe they should contract right now," Leiter said, "so I can keep it."