Wednesday, May 26, 2010
#269) TIM LEARY
Tim Leary was selected by the New York Mets in the first round (second overall pick) of the free agent draft on June 5, 1979. He made his major league debut on April 12, 1981, when the Mets visited Wrigley Field to battle the Cubs. Tim got the starting assignment on a cold and dreary day. Leary was forced to leave after throwing only 37 pitches in the first two innings of the game. The hard-throwing prospect had not allowed a hit or run to that point. His arm injury was termed as a strain in his right elbow.
It was discovered that the rookie had possibly injured the muscle during an exhibition game in Jackson, Mississippi a few days earlier. Or perhaps before that while in spring training. "A few days before Jackson," Leary said, "I was shagging fly balls in the outfield in St. Petersburg. I was feeling good, and I was throwing the ball fairly hard back to the infield. I don't actually remember any pain then. But later, in the sixth inning in Jackson, I did feel some soreness."
After spending time on the disabled list, he finished the season with Triple-A Tidewater. Joining the Tides on August 2nd, and registering a 1-3 record with a 3.71 ERA.
Tim would not find his way back on the major league roster again until September 25, 1983. In a bit of irony he would start the game facing the same Cubs at Wrigley Field. This time when Leary was removed in the second inning, it was after Chicago had scored six times. Only one of which was an earned run. The Mets would ultimately lose the contest by a score of 11-7.
His next turn in the rotation was a success. Tim recorded his first major league victory by besting the Montreal Expos on October 2, 1983. Leary threw a complete nine-inning performance and struck out eight at Shea Stadium on the final day of the season.
In 1984, the Mets initially had the recovered right-hander pitching in the starting rotation. After a couple of starts he was shifted to the bullpen. Finishing the season with 20 appearances and a 3-3 record with a 4.02 ERA.
Tim was part of a four-team trade that involved six players on January 18, 1985. Leary was sent to the Milwaukee Brewers, and the Mets received Frank Wills from the Kansas City Royals. He would win a World Series Championship with the Los Angeles Dodgers in 1988.
After his active baseball career, Tim returned to his alma mater, UCLA. He served as their pitching coach from 1997-2000, and again in 2004. Leary later became the pitching coach for Loyola-Marymount University in 2005.
I purchased this signed index card from the legendary autograph guy, Jack Smalling and converted it into Tim Leary's card in the set in January 2009. Jack's website is www.baseballaddresses.com