Andy Pettitte: HOF?
Andy Pettitte retired this week. Putting aside the steroid stuff for a moment, I believe he belongs in the HOF five or so years from now.
The raw stats (240 wins, high-ish 3.88 ERA) might not bear this statement out, but (at least to me) what Pettitte always signified was “winning”. This guy just, plain and simply, won ballgames. His overall winning % is .635 over 16 seasons, and if you look at the stats there are just so many seasons where he won 9-10 more games than he lost.
Plus, Pettitte was the epitomy of a big-game pitcher. Sure, he got the chance to pitch under the October lights so many times because of his Yankee pinstripes, but his career postseason #’s are 19-10, 3.83, in 263 innings. So, basically, he pitched an entire season in the postseason, and almost exactly duplicated his regular-season stats (high win percentage, highest-3′s ERA). Not bad at all on the biggest of stages for the biggest of teams. When he pitched against my Twins in a big game, I had very little hopes for pulling out a victory.
The one problem, of course…
Andy Pettitte is inside that steroid cloud based on his relationship with Roger Clemens. In fact, Pettitte admitted using HGH on multiple occasions, supposedly in order to heal an injury and help return to the team faster, not necessarily to improve performance (definitions, definitions, I know). I’m usually wary of these guys, but for whatever reason I’ll give Pettitte the benefit of the doubt. Considering that no firm anti-doping rules were in place before the mid-2000s, players in a situation like Pettitte’s WERE likely unsure what was “right” or “wrong” to do chemically and still play by the rules. While I truly believe that Clemens knew that what he was doing was wrong but did it anyway because he just didn’t care, I think that Pettitte was caught in that grey area of past steroid usage.
Thus, if I’m voting, I’m putting Mr. Pettitte in the Hall.