One of several successful reclamation projects of Dodgers pitching coach Ron Perranoski, Leary posted a 17-11, 2.91 record for the World Champion Dodgers in 1988 after winning a total of 20 games in six previous ML seasons. Leary was a college All-American at UCLA and was the second pick overall in the June 1979 free-agent draft, and in 1980 he was Texas League MVP, leading the league in wins and shutouts for Jackson. Leary made the Mets in 1981, only to be injured in his first start on a cold April day at Wrigley Field, then missed all of 1982 with an injured nerve. He moved to Milwaukee in a six-player, four-team trade in 1985 and was 12-12 for the Brewers in 1986 before being traded to Los Angeles with Tim Crews for slugger Greg Brock. Leary started and lost Game Six of the 1988 LCS for the Dodgers, but he pitched well out of the bullpen in the World Series. After the season he received the NL Comeback Player of the Year Award. He was traded to the Reds in mid-1989.