Former Yankee playoff hero Jim Leyritz was set up in Pete Rose fashion, just outside the Yankee Stadium gates, signing autographs as he awaits trial on vehicular manslaughter charges.
In 1996, the Yankees would begin a legendary stretch of dominance in the American League. Who knows what would have happened had Jim Leyritz not hit a big two-run homer to tie game four of the World Series against Atlanta.
The moment still resonates with Yankee fans, but the club’s love affair with Leyritz is on hold. Nearly two years ago, a car he was driving slammed into another driven by a woman who died in the crash. Leyritz was charged with vehicular manslaughter and is still awaiting trial.
With no income and legal bills mounting, he’s taking jobs wherever he can, including a paid autograph signing outside a sports memorabilia store near Yankee Stadium during game two of the American League Championship series.
“I have custody of my three kids, and I have to provide a house and a home for them,” he said. “Whatever I can do to make money, that’s what I’m doing.”
Newsday columnist David Lennon caught up with Leyritz and fans who were willing to pay for an autographed photo.