Friday, February 4, 2011
After an off-season of speculation on whether he had pitched his last game in a big league uniform, Andy Pettitte will officially announce his retirement later today. Pettitte broke in in 1995 and was a big part of the Yankees dynasty in the late-1990s. I sat in the right field bleachers at old Fulton County Stadium and watched Pettitte shut out the Braves in game five of the 1996 World Series. One of my two greatest live moments as a Yankees fan. He went to Houston from 2004-2006, or what I like to call The Three Years I Spent Mumbling In The Attic, and finally returned to the Yankees before the 2007 season.
Since we're not discussing his time with the Astros-I'm down to just one patio chair and I need it for possum surveillance-his best season as a Yankee was 2007 when the lefty had a 7.6 WAR, 2.88 ERA and helped lead NY to the playoffs. One of his best years was in 2010 (1.27 WHIP, 3.28 ERA), which turned out to be his last.
I know the Pettitte-for-HOF discussions have already started, and despite my love for No. 46, I think he may fall a little short. A 50.2 career WAR is really good, but I don't think it's hall worthy. Still, as a Yankees fan I remember a lot of HOF Pettitte moments in the post-season. To name a few: 1998 division series; '98 World Series clincher in San Diego; '03 division series with NY down 1-0. He was fantastic in the 2003 World Series, which was canceled right before it ended; no winner declared. Pettitte won all three clinching games in the 2009 World Series run, and he was excellent in the final two post-season starts of his career (four ER in 14 innings against the Twins and Rangers last fall).
And I'm not sure if you heard, but the Yankees rotation has a bunch of question marks heading into the 2011 season. Mainly
1. Sergio Mitre?
Pettitte going one more season would've calmed Anthony in Poughkeepsie's nerves a little bit, yet for Pettitte's sake it's probably a good time to call it a career. 38-years old, 16 seasons, over 3,000 innings, and that left elbow seemed ready to explode. The wear and tear takes its toll on a player. I should know: I played one season on the JV team at age 15 and retired before the next season's try outs when Coach Smith pretended to speak Spanish and sprayed me with a house.
Pettitte will go down as the second-greatest left-hander in Yankees history, behind Whitey Ford and just ahead of Ron Guidry. Not bad for a 22nd-round draft pick.