Yesterday, New York Yankees‘ Andy Pettitte announced that he will retire from the game of baseball once again (the first time being in 2010).
So the question everyone is asking now is this: is Pettitte is a future Hall of Famer?
Well let’s look at his stats. Pettitte’s career pitching record in the regular season is 255-152 with a 3.86 ERA. His career record in the postseason was 19-11 with a 3.81, and he always seemed to win the big game for the Yankees as he won five World Series in the Bronx.
Pettitte has also won 21 games in a season twice, in 1996 and 2003, but when you look closely at his stats, his ERAs in those two 21-win seasons were 3.87 and 4.02. Both of those are a little high, and I think it is fair to say if he was not on the Yankees, who have had very powerful offenses during his years there, that he would have had close to a .500 or even losing records in both of those seasons.
Also going year by year and looking at Pettitte’s stats, you will see that most of his single-season ERAs are in the high threes and low fours, which says to me that while Pettitte was a very good pitcher, he is not a Hall of Famer like his teammate and fellow retiree-to-be, Mariano Rivera.
When I look at starting pitching, I tend to place more emphasis on ERA then I do the record. For example, Pettitte will probably end up with more wins in his career than Felix Hernandez of the Seattle Mariners, but everyone would agree that Hernandez is the better pitcher and that he just hasn’t been blessed to play for a high-scoring team like Pettitte.
If Pettitte and Hernandez were to switch teams, Pettitte would be a .500 career pitcher and Hernandez would be a 20-game winner every season. Sometimes it’s just the luck of the draw (or draft, I should say).
Pettitte does have five World Series rings, but all of those Yankees teams were stacked and the pitching was not the sole reason the Yankees won those titles. One could even argue that they would have won all of them anyway even without him.
Another reason why I don’t think Pettitte is a Hall of Famer is the fact that he is still 45 wins away from 300, which seems to be the unwritten rule for pitchers getting inducted into the Hall of Fame. Also, the fact that in Pettitte’s whole career, he has never been an ace of a staff. At best, he was a no. 2 starter when he was on the Houston Astros, and he was the no. 3 starter for most of his career with the Yankees.
How many non-ace starting pitchers are in the Hall of Fame? Not many, if any.
When I think of Hall of Fame starting pitchers, I think of names like Walter Johnson, Cy Young, Bob Gibson, Tom Seaver and Nolan Ryan, who were all aces — not Andy Pettitte.
Also, what might play the biggest role of Pettitte not getting inducted into the Hall of Fame is the fact that he admitted to using HGH back in 2002. With MLB trying their absolute best to void everything that happened during the “Steroid Era” of baseball, many players whose names were not even mentioned with any performance enhancing drugs, are not receiving votes to get inducted into Cooperstown.
With that being added to the mix, I would find it highly doubtful that Pettitte, who did take performance-enhancing drugs at one point, would ever even sniff the Hall of Fame, whether it’s right or wrong.
While Pettitte did have a great career and was a very good pitcher for 18 seasons, playing most of his career with a powerful offensive juggernaut in the Bronx and his admitted use of using HGH back in 2002 is enough for me to say that he will not be a Hall of Famer when it is all said and done.
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