New York Yankee Legends: Postseason wonder Andy Pettitte (video)

Andy Pettitte the best Yankee postseason pitcher

One of the most popular New YorkYankee players was Andy Pettitte. Andy pitched nine successful years with the Yankees before leaving at the end of his contract to pitch for the Houston Astros in 2004 so that he could be closer to his young children at the time. In his three times with the Yankees he was one of our most successful pitchers, but his claim to fame was his postseason play. He was 18-10 for the Yankees. In 2009, the last time we won a World Series, Pettite won his game in the ALDS against Twins, won his game in the ALCS against the Angels, and won both of his games in the World Series against the National League Phillies.

The early years

The Italian and Cajun Pettitte was born in Louisiana but moved to Texas when in the 3rd grade. In Deer Park, as a teen, he played for his high school where he pitched. The multi-talented Andy also played football while there. In 1990 he was selected by the Yankees in the draft at that age of 18, but decided to play college ball. In 1991 he did sign with the Yankees and the rest is history.

Andy in the minor leagues

From 1991 to 1994, the young Andy played for the New York Yankees in the minor leagues. Andy threw a knuckleball, but when he teamed up with Jorge Posada, in the New York Penn League, Posada couldn’t catch the ball so Andy stopped throwing it. In 1992 Andy and Jorge would first meet up with fellow player Derek Jeter. That year Pettitte would go 10-4 with a 2.20 ERA playing for the Greensboro Hornets. In 1993 he pitched for the Carolina League to a record of 11-9. In 1994 he pitched for the triple-A Columbus Clippers, he went 7-2 with an ERA of 2.98 and was named the minor league pitcher of the year.

Pettitte makes his major league debut

During spring training in 1995, Andy competed with Sterling Hitchcock for a place in the starting rotation, but failed and found himself in the bullpen to start the year. He made his major league debut in April but two weeks later was sent back down to the minors so he could continue starting games. That was short-lived because of injuries at the Stadium, he was called up just ten days later as a starter. He recorded his first win on June 7th. He performed well enough that the Yankee kept him as a starter. In that year he won seven of his last eight games of the season going 12-7 on the season.

At the beginning of the 1996 season, Pettitte really showed his worth going 13-4 before the All-Star break. He was named to the All-Star team but did not play. He finished the season winning 21 games for the best in league record. In the ALCS, Andy would win both of his games against the Orioles. In the World Series that year, he would lose the first game against the Braves but would win game 5 against John Smoltz, and the Yanks would go on to win the World Series their first time in eighteen years.

Andy the pick off artist

Andy looking beneath the brim of his cap, was a pickoff artist. In 1997 he led the league in pickoffs with 14 and induced 36 double plays. The Yankees were defeated by the Indians in the ALCS, and their hope for back to back World Series wins. In 1998 the Yankees would go on to win the World Series again when Andy started in Game Four, defeating Kevin Brown of the Padres in the deciding game of the series. The Yankees again won the World Series in 1999 and three-peated in 2000 when Pettitte went 19-9 with three complete games. It would be the last World Series win during Pettitte’s first stint with the Yankees.

Andy leaves us for the Astros

At the end of the 2003 season, Pettitte cited that he wanted to spend more time at home with his young children before they grew older. He signed a 3-year contract with the Houston Astros. While with the Astros, Andy would help the Astros get to their first-ever World Series in their history. Back then, the Astros were in the National League, they faced the Chicago White Sox in the series but were swept in four games.

Andy makes his Yankee return

After the 2006 season, Andy again signed with the Yankees after refusing the Astros offer. In the season he started the most games in baseball with 34 starts and a record of 15-9. 2008 was the first year in Andy’s career that he didn’t have a winning season going only 14-14.

In 2009 Andy and CC Sabathia led the Yankees to its first World Series since 2000. Andy was 14-8 that year, and in the postseason he became the winningest pitcher in postseason history when he won all four of his postseason starts. He won game 3 of the World Series, and on four days rest won the deciding game 6 against the Philadelphia Phillies. He drove in his first postseason home run in game 3 at Philadelphia. In 2010 Andy’s record was 11-3, and he reached his lowest ERA since 2005. But at the end of the season, he decided to retire.

Pettitte returns yet again

In 2012 The New York Yankees begged Andy to return to the fold and pitch yet again for the Yankees. He agreed, which was probably a mistake on his part. His pitching was not stellar going 5-4 in 2012 and 11-11 in 2013, showing Andy’s decision to retire in 2010 to be the right decision for him. Andy Pettitte will go down in Yankee history as the winning-est postseason pitcher of the modern era. Andy, with his number 47 already retired, will always be a favorite player for the Yankees, as shown by the huge ovation he got when he returned for his first Old Timer’s Day in 2018.

Andy apologizes to his fans

On Monday, February 18, 2008, the New York Yankees and pitcher Andy Pettitte held a press conference regarding Pettitte’s given testimony on the topics of performance-enhancing drug use, Roger Clemens, Brian McNamee and his use of human growth hormone.  With Yankee brass and other players in attendance, Pettitte apologized for his use of an H.G.H.

He asked for the fans’ forgiveness, the Yankee fans as well as the Astros fans.

“I know in my heart why I did things. I know that God knows that. I know that I’m going to have to stand before him one day. The truth hurts sometimes and you don’t want to share it. The truth will set you free. I’m going to be able to sleep a lot better.”

He also apologized to his fellow New York Yankee players, family, his father, and especially to young children that may have looked up to him as a role model.

Andy’s awards and his life today

The one thing missing in Andy’s career is the Cy Young award although he came close several times. Andy does have many other awards including the Warren Spahn Award and an MVP award. Although Andy is no longer a New York Yankee he remains involved in the game both as a coach and is a special advisor to General Manager Brian Cashman working in the front office.

As a baseball dad, in 2018, he became a pitching coach for the high school team whose head coach is former Astros teammate Lance Berkman. Andy’s sons Jared and Josh are both pitchers too: Jared for the University of Houston and Josh at Rice University. Andy is no stranger as he shows up at Yankee Stadium for most celebrations. Andy lives in Texas with his wife Laura and their four children. Thank you, Andy, you’re the best, we could have used a little of you in this postseason.

EmpireSportsMedia.com’s Columnist William Parlee is a member of the Society for American Baseball Research. Follow me on Twitter @parleewilliam.

New York Yankees: All-Time Starting Rotation and Bullpen

The New York Yankees have a great history of starting pitching and relievers. They arguably have the best closer of all time and a top 5 pitcher in the league every decade.

Ace: Whitey Ford

Ford won 25 games in his CY Young award-winning season, which is almost unreachable in this day and age. He was probably the most consistent pitcher in the 50s and never had an ERA over 3.24, helping him win the ERA title twice.

He was also a 10-time all-star, 6-time World Series champion, and even won a World Series MVP. A sure hall-of-fame player if the game has ever seen one.

2nd Starter: Vernon “Lefty” Gomez

The triple crown is usually associated with hitters, but Gomez won the triple crown for pitchers twice! In 1934 and 1937, he led the league in wins, ERA, and strikeouts.

Gomez was also clutch when it counted, he did not lose a single postseason game in his career. This made him the main reason for the 5 World Series titles the Bombers won in the late ’30s.

3rd Starter: Ron Guidry

In 1978, Guidry had one of the best seasons ever for a pitcher. He won 25 games, had an astounding 1.74 ERA, and nearly 250 strikeouts. That is a type of dominance only a few pitchers have reached in their careers.

He was even a slick fielder throughout his career, earned himself 5 Gold Glove awards.

4th Starter: Charles “Red” Ruffing

Along with Babe Ruth, the New York Yankees stole another piece from the Red Sox, Ruffing helped them win 6 World Series and achieved 6 all-star appearances.

Ruffing and Gomez was a deadly one-two punch back then, both had 20-win seasons in the late ’30s. If they held their opponents to under 4 runs on average, them they were guaranteed to win a lot of games with Ruth, Gherig, and others in the lineup.

5th Starter: Andy Pettitte

The model for health and longevity, Pettitte led the majors in games started three times in his career. He pitched 200+ innings in 10 seasons of his career and even won 20 games, in 1996.

Pettitte, as well as other pitchers above, helped the Yankees win 5 World Series rings in the late ’90s and early and late 2000s. He pitched in and won many big games for the New York Yankees, making it hard to leave him out of this rotation.

An argument can be made for Spud Chandler, Mike Mussina, CC Sabathia, and Mel Stottlemyre to be in this rotation, but the five pitchers above allowed the Yankees to be. most successful throughout their history.

Bullpen

Long Reliever/Middle Reliever: Johnny Murphy

Murphy helped the ’30s New York Yankees win 6 World Series.

He even pitched 200 innings one season as a reliever, proving he can stay in games and consume innings. He led the league in saves four times as well.

Middle Reliever: David Robertson

His slider and ability to escape bases-loaded jams throughout the mid-2000s gives him a spot on this team. He could come out of the bullpen in the middle of an inning and let up no runs.

Robertson’s stuff allowed him to earn the second-best strikeout percentage in Yankees’ reliever history. He is the only active pitcher on this team.

Middle Reliever: Joe Page

Page only had an 8-year career, however, he led the majors in saves twice. He was also a 3-time all-star and lit up the radar gun.

Middle Reliever/Setup Man: Sparky Lyle

Lyle was a huge contributor to the 1977 and 1978 World Series Champion teams.

He led the league in saves in ’76 and would usually finish off games when he appeared. His most significant statistic was winning the 1977 CY Young award as a reliever.

Lyle could pitch multiple innings in relief, making him a good candidate for middle relief and setup man.

Setup Man: Dave Righetti

Beginning his career as a starter, Righetti was converted to the bullpen.

In 1986, Righetti led the majors in saves with 46. He won the 1981 Rookie of the Year award and reliever of the year twice.

He is second on the Yankees all-time saves list, behind none other than Mariano Rivera.

Setup Man: Rich “Goose” Gossage

He led the majors in saves three times, made 9 all-star appearances, and had his best years with the Yankees.

Gossage dialed up the radar guns and blew away hitters with his high 90s fastball. Not many pitchers in the league could throw with such velocity in the ’70s, making it even tougher to react to and make contact.

Closer: Mariano Rivera

There should be no argument here, Rivera won pretty much every award one can win as a reliever. He is the first unanimous hall of fame player in the history of Major League Baseball.

He has the most saves out of any closer ever (652), the most games finished (952), and the best ERA+ (205).

Any time “Enter Sandman” played on the loud-speaker, everyone in the budding knew the game was pretty much over. In 96 playoff appearances, Mo’ only lost one game.

He also had one of the most unhittable pitches ever, his cutter. He threw it inside on lefties and generated a lot of broken bats. He played on a level only a few relievers have reached in their careers.

When a bullpen consists of a Cy Young winner, two live arms, and the best closer ever, there is almost a guarantee the current game result as a win. A full 25-man all-time Yankees roster has been formed. This team could easily be the best group of players ever assembled.

New York Yankees: A history of outstanding pitchers, find out the ten best

The New York Yankees in their storied 117-year history have had some of the best pitchers in all of baseball.  Some hurlers were one game wonders like Don Larsen, who pitched the only perfect game in World Series history in 1956.  Other perfect game winners were David Wells (1998) and David Cone (1999).  One of the more unusual pitchers was Jim Abbot, who had only one hand and pitched a no-hitter in 1993.

Many New York Yankees have been impactful in bringing the Yankees to one of their 27 World Championships. Some were career Yankees, while others joined the team from other baseball clubs.  The following is this writer’s top ten Yankee pitchers.  The list includes both starters and relievers.

 1. Whitey Ford

Whitey Ford is the hands-down number one pitcher for the New York Yankees.  The 10-time All-Star, Cy Young Award-winning pitcher, played all of his 16 years with the Yankees.  From 1950 to 1967, he had ten seasons with 16 or more wins, including a 24 and 25 game winning season.  He was so good that the Yankees named him “The Chairman of the Board.”  Ford was elected to the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1974.

2. Mariano Riveria

Mariano Riveria is probably the greatest closer of all time.  When Mariano Rivera entered a game to the sound of the Sandman, Yankee fans knew the game was over.  Of course, he didn’t save every game but has the most saves of any pitcher (652) not only for the Yankees, but that’s for all of baseball history.  Rivera is the only player ever to be elected to the Baseball Hall of fame in 2019 by a unanimous vote.

3. Red Ruffing

In the first fifty years of the New York Yankee’s, there was no pitcher better than Red Ruffing. Ruffing led the Yankees to six World Series win from 1931-1946. Ruffing is second all-time in wins at 231, third in starts, fifth in appearances and second in innings pitched.  Ruffing was installed in the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1967.  His number 15 one of three numbers he wore during his Yankee career was retired in 2001.

4.  Andy Pettitte

In the modern baseball era, there was no pitcher better than the New York Yankees Andy Pettitte in postseason play.  He became of the most beloved Yankee pitchers when he beat the Braves ace John Smoltz in a 1-0 win the got the Yankees their first World Series win in 17 years.  In his career, he won 18 postseason games.  In 2009 the last time the Yankees won a World Series, he won all four of his postseason games.  Pettitte is one of the most popular of Yankee hurlers have won 203 games.  That’s a feat no other pitcher has matched since.

5. Ron Guidry

Rod Guidry was that tall skinny guy from Louisiana.  “Louisiana Lightning” pitched for the New York Yankees all 14 years of his pitching career 1975-1988.  He had three 21 plus winning seasons.  He once to the delight of Yankee fans struck out 18 hitters in one game an all-time Yankee record. He is a Cy Young Award winner with a 170-90 career record. His career 3.29 ERA is one of the best in Yankee history.

6. Mel Stottlemyre

Mel Stottlemyre is one of the most overlooked Yankee greats.  Stottlemyre had the unfortunate luck to have a career during some of the Yankee worst years, which is probably overlooked.  He had a stellar pitching career with a 164-139 record and an ERA of 2.97 over eleven years from 1964 to 1974.  But where he does get much-deserved acclaim is as the Yankee pitching coach from 1996 to 2005 when he brought the Yankee pitching staff to four World Series wins.

7. Lefty Gomez

Lefty Gomez was a Yankee pitcher from 1930-1942.  Gomez has a fantastic record of 189-102.  He brought the Yankees to five World Series titles in the time Babe Ruth, Joe DiMaggio, Lou Gehrig, and others took the limelight.  He was elected to the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1972.

8. Rich Gossage

Rich “Goose” Gossage is often credited as being one of the first pitching relievers in baseball.  Gossage was frightening figure on the mound with his fierce look and eclectic pitches.  He saved 151 games for the Yankees in his remarkable 22 years career, six of them with the Yankees 1978-1983.  That’s an average of 25 saves a year.  Gossage was elected to the Baseball Hall of Fame in 2008.

9. Vick Raschi

Vick Raschi, while being overshadowed by Micky Mantle, Yogi Berra, Whitey Ford, and others, turned out to be one of the best Yankee pitchers.  He went 120-50.  From 1946 to 1953, he never had a losing season.  He had five World Season Championships.  Raschi is one Yankee that is not in the Hall of Fame but should be.

10. Roger Clemens

Roger Clemens may be one of the greatest pitchers of all time, but will probably never reach the Hall of Fame because of his performance-enhancing drug involvement.  Clemens was with the New York Yankees for five years from 1999.  While with the Yankees, he won twice as many games as he lost going 83-42.  Clemens pitched an incredible 24 years.

Honorable Mentions:

Dave Righetti (1979-1990) 224 saves, Alli Reynolds (1949-1953) six World Series titles, Sparky Lyle (1972-1978) as a reliever 57-40, CC Sabathia (2009-2019) 134-88, Mike Mussina 123-72, and Aroldis Chapman 13-5 with 190 saves in four years (2016-2019).

Because of the number of outstanding Yankee pitchers over the years, it causes Yankee greats like David Cone, David Wells, Fritz Patterson, Jack Chesbro, Spud Chandler, Mike Stanton, Orlando Hernandez and dozens of others to be left off this list.  Ten years from now, will we see Gerrit Cole on the list?

EmpireSportsMedia.com’s Columnist William Parlee is a member of the Society for American Baseball Research.

 

New York Yankee Legends: Andy Pettitte, In the postseason the best ever!

Andy Pettitte the best Yankee postseason pitcher

One of the most popular New YorkYankee players was Andy Pettitte. Andy pitched nine successful years with the Yankees before leaving at the end of his contract to pitch for the Houston Astros in 2004 so that he could be closer to his young children at the time. In his three times with the Yankees he was one of our most successful pitchers, but his claim to fame was his postseason play. He was 18-10 for the Yankees. In 2009, the last time we won a World Series, Pettite won his game in the ALDS against Twins, won his game in the ALCS against the Angels and won both of his games in the World Series against the National League Phillies.

The early years

The Italian and Cajun Pettitte was born in Louisiana but moved to Texas when in the 3rd grade. In Deer Park, as a teen, he played for his high school where he pitched. The multi-talented Andy also played football while there. In 1990 he was selected by the Yankees in the draft at that age of 18, but decided to play college ball. In 1991 he did sign with the Yankees and the rest is history.

Andy in the minor leagues

From 1991 to 1994, the young Andy played for the New York Yankees in the minor leagues. Andy threw a knuckleball, but when he teamed up with Jorge Posada, in the New York Penn League, Posada couldn’t catch the ball so Andy stopped throwing it. In 1992 Andy and Jorge would first meet up with fellow player Derek Jeter. That year Pettitte would go 10-4 with a 2.20 ERA playing for the Greensboro Hornets. In 1993 he pitched for the Carolina League to a record of 11-9. In 1994 he pitched for the triple-A Columbus Clippers, he went 7-2 with an ERA of 2.98 and was named the minor league pitcher of the year.

Pettitte makes his major league debut

During spring training in 1995, Andy competed with Sterling Hitchcock for a place in the starting rotation, but failed and found himself in the bullpen to start the year. He made his major league debut in April but two weeks later was sent back down to the minors so he could continue starting games. That was short-lived because of injuries at the Stadium, he was called up just ten days later as a starter. He recorded his first win on June 7th. He performed well enough that the Yankee kept him as a starter. In that year he won seven of his last eight games of the season going 12-7 on the season.

At the beginning of the 1996 season, Pettitte really showed his worth going 13-4 before the All-Star break. He was named to the All-Star team but did not play. He finished the season winning 21 games for the best in league record. In the ALCS, Andy would win both of his games against the Orioles. In the World Series that year, he would lose the first game against the Braves but would win game 5 against John Smoltz, and the Yanks would go on to win the World Series their first time in eighteen years.

Andy the pick off artist

Andy looking beneath the brim of his cap, was a pickoff artist. In 1997 he led the league in pickoffs with 14 and induced 36 double plays. The Yankees were defeated by the Indians in the ALCS, and their hope for back to back World Series wins. In 1998 the Yankees would go on to win the World Series again when Andy started in Game Four, defeating Kevin Brown of the Padres in the deciding game of the series. The Yankees again won the World Series in 1999 and three-peated in 2000 when Pettitte went 19-9 with three complete games. It would be the last World Series win during Pettitte’s first stint with the Yankees.

Andy leaves us for the Astros

At the end of the 2003 season, Pettitte cited that he wanted to spend more time at home with his young children before they grew older. He signed a 3-year contract with the Houston Astros. While with the Astros, Andy would help the Astros get to their first-ever World Series in their history. Back then, the Astros were in the National League, they faced the Chicago White Sox in the series but were swept in four games.

Andy makes his Yankee return

After the 2006 season, Andy again signed with the Yankees after refusing the Astros offer. In the season he started the most games in baseball with 34 starts and a record of 15-9. 2008 was the first year in Andy’s career that he didn’t have a winning season going only 14-14.

In 2009 Andy and CC Sabathia led the Yankees to it’s first World Series since 2000. Andy was 14-8 that year, and in the postseason he became the winningest pitcher in postseason history when he won all four of his postseason starts. He won game 3 of the World Series, and on four days rest won the deciding game 6 against the Philadelphia Phillies. He drove in his first postseason home run in game 3 at Philadelphia. In 2010 Andy’s record was 11-3, and he reached his lowest ERA since 2005. But at the end of the season, he decided to retire.

Pettitte returns yet again

In 2012 The New York Yankees begged Andy to return to the fold and pitch yet again for the Yankees. He agreed, which was probably a mistake on his part. His pitching was not stellar going 5-4 in 2012 and 11-11 in 2013, showing Andy’s decision to retire in 2010 to be the right decision for him. Andy Pettitte will go down in Yankee history as the winning-est postseason pitcher of the modern era. Andy, with his number 47 already retired, will always be a favorite player for the Yankees, as shown by the huge ovation he got when he returned for his first Old Timer’s Day in 2018.

Andy apologizes to his fans

On Monday, February 18, 2008, the New York Yankees and pitcher Andy Pettitte held a press conference regarding Pettitte’s given testimony on the topics of performance-enhancing drug use, Roger Clemens, Brian McNamee and his use of human growth hormone.  With Yankee brass and other players in attendance, Pettitte apologized for his use of an H.G.H.

He asked for the fans’ forgiveness, the Yankee fans as well as the Astros fans.

“I know in my heart why I did things. I know that God knows that. I know that I’m going to have to stand before him one day. The truth hurts sometimes and you don’t want to share it. The truth will set you free. I’m going to be able to sleep a lot better.”

He also apologized to his fellow New York Yankee players, family, his father, and especially to young children that may have looked up to him as a role model.

Andy’s awards and his life today

The one thing missing in Andy’s career is the Cy Young award although he came close several times. Andy does have many other awards including the Warren Spahn Award and an MVP award. Although Andy is no longer a New York Yankee he remains involved in the game both as a coach and is a special advisor to General Manager Brian Cashman working in the front office.

As a baseball dad, in 2018, he became a pitching coach for the high school team whose head coach is former Astros teammate Lance Berkman. Andy’s sons Jared and Josh are both pitchers too: Jared for the University of Houston and Josh at Rice University. Andy is no stranger as he shows up at Yankee Stadium for most celebrations. Andy lives in Texas with his wife Laura and there four children. Thank you, Andy, you’re the best.

EmpireSportsMedia.com’s Columnist William Parlee is a member of the Society for American Baseball Research

New York Yankees news summaries, Aaron Boone going home and more!

Yankee manager Aaron Boone going home?

The New York Yankees Field Manager Aaron Boone is going home to be with his children sometime in the next couple of days.  Boone said Monday that he has four kids, and they are now at home adapting to online classes, and he wants to be part of that.

“They have started those online, away-from-school classes,” Boone said. “Going back and being part of that and hopefully I can go contribute to that and lighten the load and be a part of helping the community out in a way that just by being there for my kids.”

Yankee players still at the training complex

New York Yankee major league players are still at George M. Steinbrenner Field at Tampa, Florida, where the spring training takes place.  At some point, they will resume workouts and training.  What shape that will look like will be in accordance with the CDC’s gathering guidelines.  The players most likely will be broken down to squads of about ten players and will work out in shifts in keeping with the present separation policy.

Injury update:  Aaron Judge, Giancarlo Stanton, and Gary Sanchez

The cancelation of spring training and the delay in the start of the season has been beneficial to injured Yankee players.  Aaron Judge, who is suffering a fractured rib that may have been present since last fall, is showing signs of healing, relieving the Yankees that surgery won’t be necessary.  He is expected to be ready by May 15th.  Gary Sanchez that is recovering from a sore back, is also expected to be ready by May 15th.  Giancarlo Stanton recovering from a grade one calf strain is likely to be recovered by late April, which is really a long recovery for a minor injury.

Some Yankee major leagues may leave camp

Aaron Boone, who expected to remain at the New York Yankees training camp in Tampa at least until Tuesday, said that some players might go home.

“Everyone’s eventually going to be in a different place,” Boone said. “Feel like our guys as a whole do a really good job of kind of preparing themselves and putting themselves in a good position. I’m confident that our guys will be really responsible, no matter where they disperse to (or) if they stay here. I know they’re going to do all they can to stay ready, stay fresh and prepare.”

Boone also said that the most significant thing is that this thing (COVID-19) Is way bigger than all of us. This is bigger than baseball. We just want to do our part.”

This week in Yankee history:  The return of Andy Pettitte

After Andy Pettitte’s second retirement and with the injury to the Yankees, Michael Pineda Yankee General Manager made a surprising and historic announcement much to the surprise of Yankee fans.  World Champion Andy Pettitte was returning to pitch for the Yankees 2012 team.  The Veteran contributed to the team’s success, but unlike the glory years of the dynasty, in the two years of his return, he pitched to a record 16-15 in 42 games before finally retiring for good.  Pettitte for the Yankees was the winningest pitcher in postseason history. In an incredible 44 games started in the postseason, he accumulated a 19-11 record.

New York Yankees opening day still in flux

With Yankee and all of MLB spring training games canceled and the MLB announcement of a delay in the regular season, Yankee fans want to know when the season will start.  With the continued spread of the Coronavirus, that start date is fluid.  MLB has announced that it will follow the present CDC guidelines, which means that the season will not start before May 15th.  With players needing to get back to a mini spring training of as long as two weeks, it likely means a start date in early June at the earliest.  But the Yankees and MBL have made it clear that a start date is still unknown.  It is also unclear as to whether it will start with an opening game in Baltimore or if it will start with games that would have been scheduled for that date.

The secret ingredient the Yankees used to land Gerrit Cole in free agency

New York Yankees, Gerrit Cole

While the two bottles of wine the New York Yankees brought to their free agency meeting with Gerrit Cole this offseason played a significant part in luring him to the Bronx, the secret ingredient to pushing the deal over the hump was none other than former pitcher, Andy Pettitte.

The New York Yankees played the talks perfectly:

Pettitte was/is one of Cole’s favorite players from the last generation, and he continues to be an inspiration in his life, which is exactly why the Yankees brought him in to chat with the league’s best pitcher.

The impression Pettitte left on Cole had his head swirling and nearly convinced that the Yankees were the right choice. The bottles of wine, which matched the same bottles he enjoyed during his anniversary in Florence with his wife, helped secure Cole for nine-years, $324 million.

Gerrit made it clear that Pettitte’s influence was a significant reason he guaranteed at least five years on the East Coast.

“When Andy pitches anything, whether it be comes to the Yankees (for a meeting with a free agent) or a game in the postseason, he usually gets the W, and he did again this time,” Cole said.

Pettitte felt great after hearing Cole’s testament:

“It’s crazy for me to realize that I had that kind of impact,” Pettitte told the YES Network on Yankees Hot Stove. “I’m glad that I could help him. I’m glad that I was able to be there and the Yankees wanted me to be there to have kind of a player’s perspective on it.”

“It was a pretty easy sell for me as far as going into the team issues, management, the Steinbrenners, our coaching staff led by Aaron Boone,” Pettitte said. “New York is a great situation right now. It’s a wonderful place to play. So that’s what we’re expecting, that’s for sure.

“He’s a guy that doesn’t look like he’s fazed by October, which is a very important thing, especially playing in New York. And what we’re planning on and wanting to do over the next decade … hopefully he get us a few championships by then.”

What exactly did Pettitte say to Cole?

“If you want to win championships now, I feel like this is the spot for you.”

Cole is focused on bringing home championship rings to the Yankees organization, and the team has taken all precautions to increase their probability of success moving forward. They will also gain back several injured players in Giancarlo Stanton and Miguel Andujar.

The 2020 season seems like it’s going to be an exciting one full of success, but it all boils down to health.

New York Yankee Andy Pettitte’s Hall Of Fame Case

With the Hall of Fame results released on Tuesday, January 21st, the New York Yankees have an icon inducted into the Hall of Famer for the second year in a row. The buzz in New York seems to be surrounding Jeter however, is he the only Yankee that should’ve gone in? Fellow Core Four member, 3x All-Star, and 5x World Series Champion Andy Pettitte have a very strong case for Cooperstown.

Getting Over The PEDs

When Andy Pettitte is mentioned, the first thing that shoots his case down is the use of Growth Hormones for an elbow injury in 2002. This can deter voters from putting Pettitte on their ballot, however, the context of how it was used is important. Pettitte using the growth hormone is very different from Mark McGwire or Jose Canseco who used PEDs while playing throughout their career. Pettitte’s use was in the hopes of recovering faster, there is no report of him using it to improve his on-field performance. His growth hormone use shouldn’t dampen his Hall of Fame case, especially with how rampant PED use was. The MLB let this problem happen, and if voters could cast votes for Andy Pettitte in Cy Young races and All-Star games, then they would be hypocritical to not vote for him into the Hall of Fame.

Well Above HOFer Standard

When looking at player value, fWAR (Fangraphs Wins Above Replacement), can show how valuable a player was in their era. When you think Hall of Famer you think of greatness, and Andy Pettitte’s fWAR shows that. With a 68.2 fWAR, he ranks 32nd amongst all pitchers in MLB history. Right now in the Hall of Fame are 83 pitchers, meaning Pettitte is above a lot of Hall of Fame arms right now. He’s ahead of HOFers such as Tom Glavine, Jim Palmer, and Roy Halladay, all of whom are deserving candidates. With WAR being a major factor in a player’s value and greatness, it’s hard to believe he could be ahead of so many HOFers, yet not be in the Cooperstown.

Postseason Hero

With 276.2 postseason innings and an MLB best 19 wins, Pettite is one of the best postseason arms of all time. Despite most of his outings coming in the Steroid Era, he still was able to post a 3.81 ERA. He was a stellar postseason arm and with 5 World Series Championships he was a hero in October. Andy Pettitte’s postseason dominance has to play a factor in his case for the Hall of Fame. The Yankees’ rotation was anchored by their longtime ace for years and was instrumental for those championship squads.

No Awards, No Induction?

I really despise this argument about the number of awards a player gets. Nolan Ryan, Mike Mussina, and Juan Marichal: What do they have in common? 0 Cy Youngs, yet they are still Hall of Famers and some of the game’s best arms ever. You don’t need Cy Youngs to be a Hall of Famer. What about his mere 3 All-Star appearances? Ferguson Jenkins, Robin Yount, and Bert Blyleven are all Hall of Famers with 3 or fewer All-Star appearances. Care to tell me how suddenly it’s an issue for Pettitte? Awards can’t tell the whole story of a player as no matter how many they have, it’s overrated.

Will He Get In? A Message to the BBWAA

Most likely no, the MLB voters still refuse to vote arguably all-time greats Roger Clemens and Barry Bonds in. This means Andy Pettitte being merely tied to growth hormones will keep him out. They need to move past the PEDs, as the MLB not only took a blind eye to it but these same voters cast votes for these players to win awards and praises even as it was clear as day that they were on PEDs. There were no drug tests for these substances, and therefore no accountability. When everyone is doing it, the only way to compete and provide for a family is to do the same. Let Pettitte in and allow him to join Mariano Rivera and Derek Jeter in the Hall of Fame. Not only is he one of the greatest LHP in MLB history, but he was a generational talent.