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Jack Leiter (Photo courtesy of Round Rock Express)

"Hit The Road (To The Show) Jack!" Delbarton's Former Ace to Make Memorable MLB Debut

Baseball fans throughout the New York Metropolitan area hold a special place in their hearts for the former Yankee and Met pitcher Al Leiter. Al's son Jack Leiter will make his Major League debut this week in Detroit, and the Jersey boy can look at his father's Game 5 performance in the 2000 World Series as a pillar of what being an elite pitcher is all about:

Andy Pettitte (still my favorite Yankee) and Leiter ground out a workhorse performance, with Pettie going seven innings and eventually turning it over to Mike Stanton and Mariano Rivera. The frustration of watching Leiter shut down the Yankees was gone after Luis Sojo’s series-winning single up the middle. 

Like all Yankee fans who grew up in the 90s, it is one of the many moments we will cherish and remember. But it wasn’t until 24 years later, while watching Game 5 on Yankees Classics, that I realized how incredible Al Leiter’s performance was that night. 

Five months after his only son Jack was born, Al showed gritty determination and skill, tossing an incredible 142 pitches through 8 2/3 innings. It was a performance of the ages for the 34-year-old All-Star, a true example of leaving everything out on the diamond. Leiter wouldn’t pitch in another postseason game until 2005, toeing the slab this time for the Yankees in Game 4 of the ALDS against the Angels.

Al, now retired, has taken immense pride in witnessing his son Jack's ascent through the high school baseball rankings in the state and the nation. 


It was Jack's senior year at Delbarton that got MLB Scouts talking about the 19-year-old pitcher. In a year that the Green Wave won the Non-Public A State title, Leiter led the way, going 8-0 and only allowing five earned runs in 58 2/3 innings pitched. 

While his father told teams around the bigs not to draft Jack, who was all in on Vanderbilt, the Yankees gave it a shot in the 20th round. Taking Leiter’s Delby teammate Anthony Volpe (who was also committed to Vandy but changed his mind after the Yanks took him) gave the Front Office hope that Leiter would change his mind. He didn’t. 


Leiter took Vanderbilt by storm immediately; however, his first season was cut short due to Covid. In his two seasons in Music City, Leiter went 13-4 with a 2.08 ERA, including a No-Hitter against SEC Rival South Carolina, giving baseball fans in Nashville another type of Jack to enjoy. The Commodores made the College World Series, and Leiter entered the 2021 MLB, where he was selected 2nd overall by Texas and has been in their Farm System ever since. 

Minor Leagues

Leiter’s time in the minors has been a struggle through the past 3 seasons. In 2022, Jack went 3-10 with a 5.54 ERA in 23 appearances for the Frisco RoughRiders, the Rangers Double-A affiliate. Last year, the 23-year-old was 2-6 with an ERA north of 5.00 with Frisco and was roughed up in his lone Tripe-A appearance with Round Rock (3.1IP, 8H, 3ER, 4K).

At 24 years old, Leiter started this year in Triple-A with the Round Rock Express and has, at times, shown the dominant pitcher that he can be in The Show. In just 14 innings pitched this year, Jack has struck out 25 batters, good for a 15.7 strikeouts per nine innings pitched, good enough to be called up to the Majors.

Welcome to The Show

Leiter will make his debut Thursday afternoon against the Tigers in Detroit. The Leiter family should be in attendance, and with the Yankees on a travel day, maybe Volpe will show up to support his former Green Wave teammate. 

Just five years ago, Jack Leiter walked off the mound at DeMeo Field looking to the future. Here we are in April of 2024; the future is now! Leit-em up Jack, Jersey is behind you! (When you don’t pitch against the Yankees or Mets.) 

Be sure to check out JerseySportingNews.com after Jack Leiter's debut on Thursday for a full recap! 

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