Jim Leyritz back with Yanks on personal services contract

Game Eight: Streakin'
Saturday Night Open Thread

Via Mark Feinsand, former catcher Jim Leyritz is back with the Yankees on a personal services contract. It’s unclear what he’ll be doing, but he and David Cone were greeting fans at the suite level prior to yesterday’s game. Leyritz has had his fair share of trouble with the law, but the Yankees are always giving guys second and third and fourth chances.

Game Eight: Streakin'
Saturday Night Open Thread
  • http://twitter.com/matt__harris Matt :: Sec110

    why?!?!??! this guy is a scumbag…IMO (of course).

    • vinny-b

      i hope people who post on message boards never die. They will have hell of a time (no pun) with all stones they throw.


    • AC

      How they hell is he a scumbag ? This guy isn’t Steve Howe you know. He had his issue with a DUI traffic accident and that what else ? There had been plenty of people who hand been through worse than him. Relax a bit will ya.

  • Samuel

    I met Leyritz on the plane coming back from the Winter Meetings in Las Vegas a few years ago. Pretty good guy, honest and upfront. And this was right in the middle of all his legal troubles.

    Yankees are doing a good thing by bringing him back into the fold.

    But if he didnt hit those two big postseason home runs, I doubt they would have brought him back.

  • Midland TX

    So long, Chris Stewart.

    • MannyGeee

      Catching depth for the win!!!

  • Greg

    This is disgusting. I loved him when he was with us until he killed a person while driving drunk?

    • Plank

      Except the other person was drunker and ran a red light, resulting in her death.

      • http://www.yankeeanalysts.com/ Steve S.

        Nobody cares about her, except when they can use some mock sympathy for her to bash what they perceive to be as ‘a pampered athlete’ who ‘got away with murder’.

        For those who missed it, he was acquitted. A jury heard all the facts and found him innocent. I’m not going to pretend I have more info than they did.

        • Greg

          OJ was acquitted too…and I didn’t say he “got away with murder”. I think if the woman who died had lived, she should have been thrown in jail with Leyritz and the key should have been thrown away. When you drive drunk, innocent people can die from your mistakes…even if you think he should get a second chance – why with the Yankees? He should get a second chance like any other person convicted of something…in a blue collar job with low pay. Someone more deserving and less of a douche could have had the job that he is taking.

          • Plank

            He was driving the speed limit through a green light at an intersection.

            You think the punishment for drunk driving should be life imprisonment?

          • Samuel

            Leyritz did pay the price for his DUI conviction. The trial (which he was acquitted) was for the death of the woman, not the DUI in particular.

  • Pat D

    I’m a bit surprised by this. During his legal troubles, they pretty much did all they could to distance the organization from him. I don’t have any feelings about him one way or the other.

    • AC

      the organization stated they were keeping there distance while it was ongoing. She was in worse shape than him remember that. Your making him look like a vigilante here. Car accident unfortunately she died from it but she under influence too. He has a right to resume some sort of after baseball life.

  • Rainbow connection

    How classy. Will they hire Casey Anthony, too?

  • Dino Velvet

    Can’t wait until they hire OJ when he gets out.

  • http://twitter.com/_swarlesbarkely Drew

    The guy was signing books outside of the stadium on Opening Day. Clearly he needs the money, now that the Yankees gave him a service contract I guess he can stop looking like a homeless person now.

  • MikedJones

    Leyritz is the man. I met him outside the stadium last year and he couldn’t have been nicer or more gracious. Welcome back Jim, you were missed.

    • dc1874

      Long live “THE KING” !!

  • johnnybk

    The steinbrenners have always said they treat the organization as a family, this is what that means. If someone you care about fucks up really bad, you help them through it.

  • http://twitter.com/James_daSilva James d.

    The Yankees are a forgiving organization, and so I can’t say, “Don’t give Leyritz a shot.” But I would hope that the Yankees demand (or provide) a driver for Leyritz to and from any Yankees-related events.

    • http://www.yankeeanalysts.com/ Steve S.

      …and while they’re at it, maybe they can hire someone to drink for him if he’s doing an event where alcohol is being served.

      If Leritz is dumb (or dependent) enough to get himself in further trouble, they can always terminate the contract. This is just an attempt to help him get back on his feet again.

  • bpdelia

    I, as a member of the fraternity.of immense life altering sometimes law enforcement involving, fuck ups understand and appreciate the second chances thing buy acquitted or no hr WAS drunk driving, and an accident he was involved in DID kill someone. He wasnt totally at fault but he was wasted and I 100 percent guaeantee it wasn’t his first spin wasted. Its just slightly distasteful. Iy would be allot easier to take if it was a behind the scenes baseball gig. Meet snd greet is pretty tough to stomach.

    Im sure he is a good guy (almost every body has somebody who loves them….eva braun etc) but wr gotta live with what we do and suck it up and take consequences.

    Wish him well but advance minor league about seems more appropriate to start

  • AndyisDandy

    Are we talking bullpen catcher? Similar to mid 2000’s Girardi?

    • Plank

      I highly doubt it’s anything that high in the organization.

  • AndyisDandy

    Are we talking bullpen catcher? Something similar to mid 2000’s Girardi?

  • MannyGeee

    “but the Yankees are always giving guys second and third and fourth chances.”

    With any luck… Am I right???

    -Sergio Mitre

  • dc1874

    Heres the plan…hire Leyritz..then resign Pavano…then have Leyritz drive Pavano home one night..then collect insurance policy ..THE YANKEES WIN!!! THE YANKEES WIN!!!!

  • Midland TX

    In all seriousness, I think the Steinbrenners (or whomever in the organization that’s going out on a limb for him) understand that Leyritz had been battling back after a horrible divorce, losing all his MLB salary windfall, gaining custody of his kids, and working to make a living again, before the fatal collision occurred.

    I think they are doing this as much for his kids as for Jim, and only because a) he was acquitted and b) he’d shown some sign of resilience before his one big mistake.

    • Midland TX

      Just to be clear-

      He was acquitted of Manslaughter DUI but was convicted of misdemeanor DUI. He was fined and sentenced to probation.

  • Zack

    Keep in mind the reason he was acquited of DUI manslaughter is because the jury couldn’t figure out which drunk driver caused the crash.

  • RetroRob

    I don’t know Jim Leyritz, people on the Yankees do.

    It’s the Yankees money to do with as they please.

    I was not there the night of the accident.

    He has the right to make a living.

  • Steve Talbot

    I’ve never met Leyritz but do know a lot about his legal case. I’m a student at University of Miami School of Law and our professor had us analyze his trial for an assignment. Long story short, Leyritz was innocent of manslaughter and the State knew it but went after him anyways. They had very little evidence going in – in fact the judge threw out the first of 2 manslaughter charges due to lack of evidence of impairment. The judge also imposed sanctions on the State for saying they had evidence that they didn’t possess AND hiding additinal evidence that could have cleared Leyritz. The State could not prove its case because it was established by a PROSECUTION witness that Leyritz was going the speed limit on a green light. Leyritz is actually very lucky that the other driver didn’t kill him. He should be held resposible for the DUI, and he was (he paid a $500 fine and served one year of probation). I interviewed two of the jurors and both said they appeared at Leyritz’ sentencing hearing to make a public statement that he was wrongfully accused from the get go. Very sad that our system works the way it does sometimes. His case should have never gone to trial and he should have only been charged with a DUI from the beginning.

    • Vince Hanna

      Steve, just confirming you’re a law “student”? Which means both you and your professor have read a lot of books but have never investigated a DUI case or prosecuted a DUI trial? (Those who cant – teach). Leyritz was lucky – pure and simple.

      First off, he was a .19 BAC, more than twice the legal limit, and failed the sobriety tests at the scene. He was driving on a suspended license so he should not have been on the road in the first place! He refused a breath test (actions of a guilty person by the way); and there was a witness who said Jim run the red light while the other driver, Ms. Vietich, ran the green; then Jim’s own passenger’s first statement (in 2007) indicated Jim was close on the red light (which means it wasnt green for Jim). But Jim was lucky…he had a great attorney while the sheriff’s department and prosecution’s action were subpar at best. It was subpar investigative work. The Sheriff’s should have videoed and recorded all the interviews (for later impeachment at trial if needed since Jim’s passenger changed his story – go figure) and the sheriff deputy could have done a far better job in his report for documenting Jim’s actions/behavior etc. Secondly, the prosecutor was not prepared and didnt clearly didnt have a DUI case background; she failed to properly cross examine people witnesses; she released non relevent information to the jury that gave way for Jim’s attorney to create reasonable doubt – which he did. A good agency and good DUI experienced prosecutor would have sank Jim in court. So, Jim got lucky.

      However, Jim was held civilly liable (51% needed for a civil tort) and will be paying $1000 a month (in addition to the $250,000 from his insurance) for the next eight years to the decedant’s family. Greg is correct – Jim should have known better than to drink and drive. If Jim hadn’t been on the road, he would never have contributed to a death of a woman who had two children. Jim (then age 46) should have known better, because he is the father of three boys and has the responsibility to behave appropriately. The comonsense idea of taking a cab would have also prevented the incident! Jim was lucky – he got to walk away and the other driver didnt. He’ll get to see his kids – the other kids will never see their mother again. The whole matter was completely preventable.

      The job of the prosecutor is to prosecute cases when probable cause exists. And, it did exist in this case. The jury’s job is to decide guilt or not. Although I think Jim will carry some guilt for the rest of his life from this incident. Hopefully, he learned a lesson and all of us too.

      • Vince Hanna

        Sorry for the typos…

  • PatriciaJ

    Jim Leyritz is a good guy. I met him back in 1996 at an event at the old stadium and he was the only player decent enough to talk to my kid and give him an autograph. I’ll never forget it and don’t believe half of the crap published in the papers….they’ll print whatever sells. Welcome back Jimmy.

  • Rich

    …nice synopsis from Steve Talbot, law student. If true, the prosecutor should be serving prison time for wrongfully trying to imprison Leyritz. If he indeed suppressed evidence and proceeded with this case without sufficient cause… that is despicable and makes me sick to my stomach. The prosecutor was willing to put a guy in prison, ruin his life, and waste the State’s money, just to make a name for himself. No excuses for Jimmy’s irresponsible decision, but it sounds like justice was probably served.

  • Steve Talbot

    The prosecutor was running for judge when she filed the charges against Leyritz but withdrew her candidacy after his acquittal. The presiding judge only has the authority to impose sanctions in cases of wrongdoing, which he did. Leyritz had no recourse other than to file a new lawsuit. After Leyritz was cleared, the State of Florida slapped him with their legal bills. So this is a very interesting case, as it shows why charges are filed against a defendant, even if the prosecution knows they have a high probability of losing the case. If they don’t win a conviction, they can attempt to get their money back from the defendant. All of this is public record, and it is just a shame that the media didn’t hone in on the underlying story here. They latched onto the sensationalism but never properly investigated the details surrounding the original charges, nor clarified the true reasons for the acquittal after the fact. InSession televised the trial and seems to be the only media outlet that attempted due diligence by conducting in-depth investigative reporting. Bottom line is, Leyritz waited 3 years to go to trial, and a juror told me it took them less than 45 minutes to acquit him of the manslaughter charge. I am becoming a lawyer to prevent these things from happening and hope to make a difference as a public defender and not a prosecutor.

  • vickee

    2 wrongs don’t make a right…. he was wrong and admitted to being wrong… ive met jim and i think he is a man who is trying to put his life back together. Good for the Yankees for not playing judge and jury and letting him come back! Good luck jim!

  • joe carr

    good for yankees to give him some work

  • Sal

    Everybody wants to harp on the DWI – No one wants to remember all the hours he spent working with kids in The Bronx when all the other Yankees showed up for some photos and went home. He spen a lot of time on those ballfields showing us the ropes.