Many naysayers will point at Mr. Pettitte and deride him for his good fortune. They’ll claim that he never would have been a big winner had he not pitched for the powerful New York Yankees. But this accusation is a near-sighted assault. Andy’s best year was spent in Houston, where he pitched to Brad Ausmus (the best battery mate he ever had) in a hitter-friendly park. Pinstripes or not, Andy was a talented performer who was one of the best pitchers of his time. Gifted at keeping the ball in the yard, Pettitte was one of the most difficult pitchers to take deep in an era when everyone on the roster was reaching the fences.
The American League wins leader in 1996, Andy finished his career with 240 wins and an amazing winning percentage of .635. The tall southern southpaw eclipsed 3,000 innings in the era of relief specialists and fanned 2,251 batters. Just as sharp in the postseason, Andy won 19 games in the after season action and was awarded five World Series rings. Andy made three All-Star Teams and had as many Top Five finishes in Cy Young Award voting.
Pettitte’s career rankings are quite impressive as well. Andy has the 43rd best winning percentage in baseball history, ranks 48th in all-time strikeouts and 55th in career wins. Sure, his win total would probably be lower had he not pitched for the Yankee dynasty but when he pitched for the offensively challenged Houston Astros, Andy went 37-26. The main cases against Andy is that he never won a Cy Young Award, was a 20-game winner only twice on baseball’s greatest dynasty and he tested positive for perform-enhancing drugs. Mr. Pettitte should make for an interesting case study when he makes the ballot in five years.