Monday, January 9, 2012

Randy Leek Interview

Randy Leek was an 18th round selection (537th overall) by the Detroit Tigers in the 1999 MLB Amateur Draft out of The College of William and Mary. (photo on card from W&M Alumni)

On June 8, 1999 he signed with the Tigers organization and was sent to Oneonta in the New York-Penn League where he had a 6-3 record with
1.56 ERA.

The following season he would start out in Lakeland(A) and would advance to double-A with Jacksonville, and eventually make a start for Toledo in Triple-A.

In 2001, he spent most of the season with double-A Erie and posted 11-7 record with a 3.86 ERA.

During the 2001 off season he was selected by the Los Angeles Dodgers in the Rule 5 draft.

From 2002-2005 Leek would spend most of his time in double-A (between the Cardinals and Dodgers organizations), with his best season coming in 2005 with Springfield when he posted a 15-7 record and a 3.83 ERA.

Leek played with Memphis Redbirds (triple-A affiliate of St. Louis Cardinals) i
n 2006 where he was 3-7 with a 4.60 ERA. During the 2006 off season he would be released by the Cardinals organization.

In 2007, Leek signed with the Long Islands Ducks and was 5-1 with a 2.23 ERA in 84.2 innings pitched.


Later that season Leek would have his contract purchased by the Blue Jays organization and would be sent to triple-A Syracuse where he made two appearances.

In 2008, Leek came back to the Island and posted a 12-3 record with a 3.66 ERA in 177 innings pitched. He was also named to the Atlantic League All-Star team that season and became a fan favorite.

From 2009-10 Leek won 23 more games for the Ducks, and was named as a member on the Ducks 10th Anniversary All-Time Team (2009).

CM: Growing up on Long Island who was your favorite baseball team? Favorite Player?


RL: Mets, Gregg Jefferies

CM: You were selected in the 18th Round (537th Overall) in the 1999 MLB Draft by the Detroit Tigers. Do you remember where you were when you found out? What was your reaction?

RL: I was at home when the Tigers scout, Bill Buck called me. I was the most excited I had ever been in my life, as this was truly a dream come true. All I had ever wanted to do was play professional baseball and now I had that chance.

CM: You moved up through the Tigers organization pretty quick and by your second season of pro ball you were in Triple-A. Did you think you were going to get called up to the Majors?

RL: I didn't think I would get called up that year, as I only made one spot start in AAA, but it was exciting because I was pitching well and it seemed like the Tigers were noticing what I was doing. I wasn't a high round pick or a big money guy, so the fact that they gave me an opportunity like that in my second year was pretty special.

CM: What was your most memorable experience in the Tigers organization?

RL: I had a lot of memorable experiences with the Tigers. Even though the big league team was not very good at the time, it seemed like a first class organization. I remember my first appearance in Pittsfield against the Mets in the NY Penn league, my first spring training in Lakeland, my AA season in Erie where we had pretty much the same group of guys all year, which is rare in the minor leagues...many memorable moments.

CM: In 2001, you were a Rule 5 draft pick of the Dodgers. How did you feel about being selected by the Dodgers after playing three season of your pro career with the Tigers organization?

RL: I was both excited and disappointed at the same time. I was excited because I thought the Dodgers liked me enough to take me in the draft, but disappointed because I was familiar with the Tigers and I was doing very well with them. Like I said before, they seemed to be noticing my ability and to leave that behind was difficult. But I didn't have a choice in the matter, so I decided to try to take advantage of my new opportunity.

CM: In 2006 you made it back to Triple-A this time with the Cardinals. Did you think you were going to finally get your chance to play in the Majors?

RL: This time I really thought I had a great opportunity to pitch in the big leagues. I was in major league spring training and had a great minor league camp, and I started out pitching pretty well during the season. Unfortunately, I hit a rough stretch, and then just as I was starting to pitch a little better, I broke my wrist and missed the second half of the season.

CM: In 2007, you signed with the Ducks. What did you think of the Ducks an the Atlantic League at that time?

RL: I hope this doesn't come off the wrong way, but at the time I didn't think much of the Ducks or the Atlantic League. I didn't know much about independent ball at the time, so I guess I was a little judgmental. I never thought I would play independent ball, but I wasn't ready to retire because of an injury. The Ducks were a perfect fit for me, since I lived on Long Island, and once I started playing I realize how wrong I was about the league. The Ducks were a great team and the league had some great players that somehow fell through the cracks. There are far too many player in the Atlantic League that should be in organized ball.

CM: In 2008, you were arguably the best pitcher in Atlantic League. Did anything change for you that season that made you a better pitcher?

RL: I think my outlook started to change a little. I played in the Dominican winter league in 2007 and 2008 and learned to have fun again. I also had a son in October of 2007, which changed my perspective on life. I stopped taking the game so seriously and realized that there are more important things than baseball. I still put in the same amount of time and effort into my preparation, but I just started to enjoy it a little more.



CM: In 2009, you were named to the Ducks 10th Anniversary All-Team Team, What did that honor mean to you?

RL: It meant that I had been successful during my time with the Ducks, but it also meant that I had played with a lot of other great players. Without great teammates, it is very difficult to have success.
CM: After an All-Star season in 2010 you retired from baseball, Why?

RL: I retired because it became too much work. In addition to my son, I have a daughter now as well and I wanted to spend more time with them. The hours that I needed to spend training in the off season were something that I was slacking off on the last 2 years of my career. Even though I was an All-Star, I was not happy with my performance. I got hurt in 2009 and I believe it was because of my lack of preparation for the season. I miss the competition of playing, I miss the time spent with my teammates, but I don't miss the training. I always knew what I needed to do to prepare for the season, and I didn't prepare like I should have my last 2 years. That was not fair to the fans, my teammates and coaches, or to me.

CM: What do you think of Ducks fans, and the Ducks organization?

RL: The Ducks fans are great. They are very supportive and it was awesome pitching in front of them every night.

CM: What is the Hitter's Club?

RL: The Hitter's Club is an indoor baseball training facility that I co-own with 2 other former Ducks, Kevin Haverbusch and Rob Cafiero. We offer individual lessons, team packages, clinics, and we do some birthday parties as well. Recently we have started our own travel teams as well. Right now we have an 11U, 13U, 14U, and 16U team, and we are hoping to expand on that in the future. I love giving pitching lessons to young ballplayers as I truly enjoy seeing them grow as pitchers and people. If I can give my business a plug, anyone who is interested in what we do can go to www.hittersclubinc.com

CM: If you could play catch with one person dead or alive who would it be?

RL: My dad. He is the main reason I got to the level I did. He started me out playing ball, coached me through high school, and instilled in me the work ethic that I needed to succeed at a high level. I wasn't always the biggest or strongest or best athlete, but my desire and work ethic and "never back down from anyone" attitude let me achieve many goals that would have otherwise been unattainable.

2 comments:

  1. Wish I had Randy's or his Dads addy. One of my all time favorite young men to come through the Tigers system. A great control leftie. Randy spent a couple weeks in our home while in Lakeland and nice to hear he has his own family. If anyone is in contact with him, give me a message please...hueytaxi229@msn.com

    Roger DeWitt
    Lakeland

    ReplyDelete
  2. Contact him through the Hitter's Clube, the baseball academy he runs.

    ReplyDelete