Andy Pettitte and the Hall of Fame

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.

  1. Giles said:

    Pettitte has a better chance than many who tested positive like Raffy and even Clemons. I’m not saying that the Rocket won’t get it, he will, and he deserves to HGH or not. Pettitte handled the situation better than any of the other A list ballplayers who tested dirty. His image was left in tatters after he left the game. He didn’t try to take anyone down with him. While he may not get in on the first try (then again he is a Yankee…), I certainly think his penance of sitting on the ballot will be much shorter than the A list jerks of Clemons, Bonds, and Palmerio.

    • brettkiser said:

      I’ve got to agree with you. Pettitte was more mature about the drug-enhancing scandal than the other guys and hence hasn’t suffered from the acid ink. The first ballot will probably be asking too much but his winning percentage is amazing and he is one of the top postseason winners in baseball history. I’m sure he’ll get in eventually.

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