Yankees News: Jim Leyritz invited to Old-Timers’ Day for 1st time since DUI


While for many New York Yankees, Old-Timers’ Day is about reminiscing on their playing days, for Jim Leyritz it will be more of a homecoming.  Leyritz, who had been banned from the festivities following a 2007 drunk driving incident which resulted in the death of Freida Veitch, is thrilled for the opportunity to return to the Yankee Stadium field:

"It means the world to me.  It was hard to see the guys on the field and not be part of it.  I don’t want to think the Yankees define who I am, but I spent 11 years there, it was my family.  To be back and part of that family, I can’t tell you what it means to me.  I am so pleased it’s finally happening."

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While Leyritz was acquitted of DUI-related manslaughter charges in 2010, he did serve one-year probation for DUI, and his insurance company paid Veitch’s family a $350,000 civil suit.  Leyritz stated that his return to Old-Timers’ Day began through a winter discussion with Jennifer Steinbrenner, a Yankees general partner and the daughter of the late George Steinbrenner:

"I was at fantasy camp and talking to Jenny about it.  She thought I was already going to Old-Timers’ Day.  I told her I was but not on the field.  She said, ‘You are part of the family and we will make it happen’."

Although Leyritz had unofficial word that he would be on the field in the winter, he didn’t find out the official news until early April, when he received a call from his fiancée Michelle:

"She said, ‘Are you sitting down? I got a letter from the New York Yankees.  They invited you to Old-Timers’ Day’.  She knew how much it meant to me after seven, eight years."

While the past few years have undoubtedly been hard for Leyritz, his return to Old-Timers’ Day is something that clearly means a lot to him, and it is great that the Yankees have reached out to the hero of the 1996 World Series.

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