Wednesday, February 18, 2015
PETTITTE DESERVES TO BE THERE
We learned Sunday through Andy Pettitte’s very proud son Josh on Twitter that Andy will receive his plaque in Monument Park and No. 46 will be forever retired by the Yankees on August 23, 2015. I for one could not be happier. The lefty, born in Baton Rouge, LA, was a fan favorite throughout his career. Although he was never a huge super-star, he was the epitome of consistent and went out every fifth day, nearly year in and year out, and did his job. As a 22th round pick out of Deer Park (Texas) High School, the Yankees, and baseball, couldn’t have asked for more.
When Andy Pettitte made his Yankees, and major league, debut in 1995, I was just 10 years old. As a huge Yankees fan growing up through today, I essentially grew up with the Yankees and their core four. While Derek Jeter, Mo and Jorge all are looked up to by Yankees and baseball fans alike, there was always something about Andy that stood out. Maybe it was the way he looked over his glove to get the sign with the hitter being able to see nothing more than his two eyes staring down on him as he prepared for the pitch by pitch battle. Maybe it was his fantastic pickoff move. Maybe it was he came to play every time he got the ball.
When it really mattered, Pettitte was the Yankees workhorse. He earned 19 career postseason wins, most in the history of baseball. He liked the big spotlight, on the big stage, in the Bronx. That’s one place where Andy truly thrived. Andy was 12-2 during the five postseason’s in which he and the Yankees would win the World Series during his career. Even leading up to the playoffs, Pettitte was 142-72 with a 3.77 ERA in July, August and September for his career.
Although by all accounts Andy Pettitte is a Yankee, he did spend three years in Houston pitching for the Astros from 2004-2006. The Houston area is where Pettitte makes his home, so it made sense. Family is important too. But he returned where he belonged. He belonged in the Bronx with his second family. He belonged in the only true pinstripes.
Pettitte played 15 seasons for the Yankees during his 18 year career. He pitched 185+ innings in 13 of his 18 seasons. As for all time Yankees pitching leaders, Pettitte ranks first in strikeouts (2,020), tied for first in starts (438), third in innings pitched (2,796.1) and third in wins (219), behind Hall of Famer’s Whitey Ford and Red Ruffing. If anyone (insert a grumpy, jealous former second baseman who forgot how to throw the ball to first here) has any qualms about Pettitte’s number being retired, just look at the stats above.
Pettitte was a true Yankee. His stats prove he was a true Yankee great. Having a plaque in Monument Park is one heck of an honor to have bestowed upon you. Next to being elected into the Hall of Fame (which is a debate for another day), having your number retired by the most storied franchise in the history of baseball, if not all of professional sports, is about as good as it gets. Thanks for the memories and congratulations Andy. You earned it.
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