Al Leiter handed the ball off for the last time in his storied career in spring training last week, capping a...Oh, wait, hold on.
Haha. Whoopsie. See what I did? Silly me. I made the same mistake Topps made in 1988 when they put the picture of some guy named Steve George and called him a future star. I'm sure Stevie was pretty stoked until they also started calling him Al Leiter. But there are far more insulting things to be mistaken for than Al Leiter, who ended his major league career by getting Eduardo Perez to ground out to third in a spring trainging game. I'm sure he had thought of much more romantic endings to his life's work but the two World Series rings (Toronto in 1993 and Florida in 1997), his no-hitter against the Rockies on May 11, 1996, the two trips to the All-Star Game and topping 200 strikeouts a year twice is a career Baseball should be toasting to. Though he played much of his prime in a pitcher's park, any team in the game would've found a place for Al Leiter in their rotation. He was better at throwing a baseball than most of us will ever be at anything and he'll be the only reason not to turn the channel when he's articulately describing the physics of a slider in the booth while Timmy McCarver is sticking the sharp end of pencils up his nose and Joey Buck is coloring pictures of ligers on the back of his placemat.