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Archive for Sunday, April 29, 2001

Leyritz latest ex-big leaguer to sign pact with Newark

April 29, 2001

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— Jim Leyritz is the latest ex-major leaguer on the Newark Bears.

He signed with the independent minor-league team on Saturday, joining Jose Canseco, Lance Johnson and pitchers Jaime Navarro and Jack Armstrong.

"Jim will bring an added element of gamesmanship to our team," said Bears owner Rick Cerone, himself a former catcher for the Yankees. "He gives it everything he's got every time he's out on the field, and that's something you can't teach to younger players."

Leyritz, a career .264 hitter, was known in his major league career as a clutch player with a knack for dramatic postseason home runs.

His most famous came in the pivotal Game 4 of the 1996 World Series off Atlanta closer Mark Wohlers that tied the score in a game the Yankees would go on to win, evening the series at 2 games apiece. New York won the next two to capture its first world championship since 1978.

He also hit a game-winning home run in the 15th inning of Game 2 of the 1995 division series against Seattle. In 1998, Leyritz hit three homers for San Diego against Houston in the division series.

Leyritz, 37, also hit major league baseball's last home run of the 20th century when he connected in Game 4 of the 1999 World Series.

He'll see action at first and third for the independent Atlantic League team, as well as behind the plate. Leyritz went to spring training with the Mets this year following off-season surgery to repair a torn rotator cuff in his right shoulder. He was released in March.

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