Thursday, September 20, 2007

Andy Pettitte: Hall of Fame Resume

One thing seemingly lost in the immediate aftermath of the Yanks' 2-1 win last night over the Orioles was the Andy Pettitte factor. And that's not new -- the modest, unassuming, humble, and genial Pettitte is the epitome of understated effectiveness. Last night, he won his 200th game. His winning percentage is .641 (200-112). He's considering retiring after this season. Five years after he retires, he should be preparing his induction speech for Cooperstown. So why isn't he mentioned prominently as a future Hall of Famer?

There is no good reason. Pettitte's Hall of Fame credentials are clear: 200 wins, a high winning percentage, 14 postseason victories, four World Series rings, seven pennant winners, two 20-win seasons (that's more than Don Sutton, a Hall member who pitched 23 years). Did Pettitte pitch for good teams? Of course. But he was one of the reasons they were good.

Compare Pettitte's resume to some Hall members: he has a better winning percentage than Jim Palmer (.638), Dazzy Vance (.585), Steve Carlton (.574), Waite Hoyt (.566), Sutton (.559), Don Drysdale (.557), Red Ruffing (.548), Gaylord Perry (.542), and Nolan Ryan (.526) -- and that's just a sampling. Among contemporaries, Pettitte has a better winning percentage than all of the Braves' Big Three of the 1990s who will be in the Hall (Maddux .619, Glavine .606, Smoltz .590).

Pettitte's career ERA+ (his ERA relative to the league as a whole, > 100 means he's better than the average pitcher) is 118. That's the same as Warren Spahn and better than Sutton (108), Nolan Ryan (112), Carlton (115) and Catfish Hunter (104), among others.

He has 14 postseason wins, 21 of his 34 starts have been quality starts. He won the 2001 ALCS MVP, beat Smoltz in the dramatic game 5 of the '96 WS that set the stage for the Yankees' title and ripping the team of the decade appellation from the Braves' clutches . . . and the list could continue.

It's really simple. Pettitte won the 200th game of a Hall of Fame career. All that's left is for Cooperstown to reserve him his rightful place.

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