On Thursday morning, New York Yankees lefty Andy Pettitte announced that he will be retiring at the end of the 2013 season. He has retired once before, but this is the real thing. He won’t be coming out of retirement again. He has a very interesting case for the Hall of Fame, but will he get in?
Pettitte, 41, is the active leader in wins with 255. He has a career ERA of 3.86, which would be the highest ERA of any pitcher in the Hall of Fame. I’m sure Red Ruffing, who currently owns the highest ERA in the Hall at 3.80, wouldn’t mind Pettitte taking that “honor” from him.
When I look at Pettitte’s career stats, I see a very good pitcher that played for a very long time on a bunch of very good teams. He has a lot of wins and a lot of innings, but his ERA is too high to be inducted to the Hall of Fame. After all, aren’t we beyond using wins as a grading statistic for pitchers now?
Pettitte made 519 career starts and pitched 3,300 regular season innings. In those 3,300 innings, the lefty struck out 2,437 batters. His ERA and strikeouts don’t look Hall of Fame worthy, but he does have a lot of wins. The Hall of Fame voters still care about wins.
Pettitte was in the postseason a lot. In 32 career postseason series, he went 19-11 over 44 starts with a 3.81 ERA. He won some championships, but he never was a truly dominant pitcher. The problem for Pettitte is that he was far too consistent, almost in a bad way. The peak of his career wasn’t great — he had an ERA under 3.00 just two times in 18 seasons.
Even though we can all respect the career that Pettitte had, he doesn’t seem Hall of Fame worthy. You know what is funny about the Hall of Fame discussion? If someone like me says Pettitte isn’t worthy, people think I’m saying he was a terrible pitcher. No. He was a very good pitcher, but just not worthy of the greatest achievement a player can have other than winning a World Series.