March 13, 1954 |
|August 12, 1981, for the New York Mets|
|Last MLB appearance|
|June 23, 1993, for the Chicago White Sox|
|Earned run average||3.15|
|Career highlights and awards|
Route to the majors
Leach played college ball at Auburn University, and was originally drafted by the Boston Red Sox in January 1976, but the pick was voided. At which point, he signed with the unaffiliated Baton Rouge Cougars of the Gulf States League. With the Cougars, he was 2-0 with a 6.16 earned run average in five games. A year later, he signed with the Atlanta Braves as an undrafted free agent.
With the Greenwood Braves, Leach went 3-2 with a far more respectable 2.55 ERA in 1977. Leach went 19-23 as a minor leaguer in the Braves' farm system when he was released by the Braves July 23, 1980. On July 27, he signed as a Free Agent with the New York Mets.
After a season and a half in the minors with the Mets organization, he made his major league debut at Wrigley Field on August 12, 1981. With the Mets leading 4-2 over the Chicago Cubs, Leach surrendered a two run home run to Mike Lum, tying the game. The Mets, however, came back to win the game in extra innings, 7-4.
Leach made only one start with the Mets in 1982; it was, however, one of the greatest pitching performances in franchise history. Rick Ownbey was scheduled to start on October 1, the second to last day of the season. A blister on his throwing hand forced Mets manager George Bamberger to start Leach in his place. Leach ended up tossing a ten inning one-hitter against the Philadelphia Phillies; the only hit being a fifth inning triple by Luis Aguayo.
Despite ending the season on a high note, Leach spent all of 1983 in the minors. At the end of the season, he was dealt to the Chicago Cubs for two minor leaguers. At the start of the 1984 season, he was dealt back to the Atlanta Braves for fellow minor league journeyman pitcher Ron Meridith. A month later, he was released; the following day, the Mets re-signed him.
New York Mets
Leach did not allow a run in Spring training 1987, but was still cut in the final week and sent back to the minors. However, Dwight Gooden's stint in a drug rehabilitation center coupled with Bob Ojeda being out for the season-ending surgery, opened a spot in the rotation for Leach. Leach responded with an 11-1 record and ten consecutive wins. Pitching exclusively out of the bullpen again a season later, Leach went 7-2 with a 2.54 ERA and three saves. In the 1988 National League Championship Series against the Los Angeles Dodgers, he pitched five innings without giving up a run.
World Series ring
In June 1989, the Mets traded Leach to the Kansas City Royals for Aquedo Vasquez. He went 5-6 with a 4.15 ERA in his only season in Kansas City. He was released during Spring training the following season, and caught on with the Minnesota Twins. In 1991, he made his second trip to the post season while with the Twins, and made two appearances in their World Series victory over the Atlanta Braves.
Chicago White Sox
Leach became a free agent after the Series, and signed with the Montreal Expos. The Expos released him during Spring training, and he signed with the Chicago White Sox. In 1992, Leach was 6-5 with a 1.95 ERA for the ChiSox. He split 1993 between the White Sox, their double-A affiliate and their triple-A affiliate. He was released during spring training in 1994 and after a year away from the game he retired for good after a failed attempt to make the Detroit Tigers in 1995.
A below average hitter, even by pitchers' standards, Leach had a career game on August 31, 1988. With a second inning double, Leach drove in two of his three career runs batted in. He then scored one of his four career runs on Mookie Wilson's double. Despite his heroics with the bat, it was in a losing effort. Andy Hawkins allowed just one hit over the next four innings, allowing his San Diego Padres to come back for the win.
- Terry Leach & Tom Clark (March 14, 2000). Things Happen for a Reason: The True Story of an Itinerant Life in Baseball. Frog Books.
- Durso, Joseph (1987-06-28). "Leach Does It Again". The New York Times.
- "New York Mets 7, Chicago Cubs 4". Baseball-Reference.com. 1981-08-12.
- "New York Mets 1, Philadelphia Phillies 0". baseball-reference. 1982-10-01.
- Ed Leyro & Joey Beartran (January 9, 2012). "One Season Wonders: Terry Leach". Studious Metsimus.
- "1988 National League Championship Series". Baseball-Reference.com. October 4–12, 1988.
- "San Diego Padres 6, New York Mets 3". Baseball-Reference.com. August 31, 1988.