Andy Pettitte: Hall of Famer? …

Thumbnail image for AP101018123162.jpgNEW YORK — Surely it’s not much of a surprise, considering the overall silence from the two sides, that Andy Pettitte won’t return to the Yankees and will retire. But now — barring Brett Favre-like indecision — it’s real. Pettitte has informed the Yankees he will end his 16-year Major League career, and will talk about it during a Friday morning news conference at Yankee Stadium.

Now, the Yankees must continue to ponder the makeup of a rotation that is very questionable in the 3-5 spots — with A.J. Burnett, and Ivan Nova, Sergio Mitre, Freddy Garcia and Bartolo Colon currently battling for the final two slots.

And we can wonder whether or not Pettitte (pictured right by The Associated Press) will one day be a Hall of Famer. It’s a tricky proposition, as I pointed out recently.

But let’s take a closer look…

*  240 career regular-season wins (T-55th all-time), a 3.88 ERA, 2,251 strikeouts (48th), 3,055 1/3 IP (123rd), 3 All-Star Game appearances, top-5 in Cy Young voting four times

* 19 wins (1st all-time), a 3.83 ERA, 173 K’s (T-2nd) and 5 World Series rings in 42 postseason starts (1st)

* Also ranks 3rd in Yankees history in wins (203), T-13th in wins by a left-hander and T-16th in K’s by a left-hander

* In terms of Wins Above Replacement, Pettitte ranks T-77th all-time among pitchers, at 50.20. That’s behind Mike Mussina (74.8), Curt Schilling (69.7), Kevin Brown (64.8) and David Cone (57.5); but ahead of Hall of Famers Clark Griffith, Waite Hoyt, Lefty Gomez and Goose Gossage.   

* A list of the Hall of Famer starters who have less career wins than Pettitte and retired after 1950: Jim Bunning (224), Catfish Hunter (224), Don Drysdale (209), Bob Lemon (207), Hal Newhouser (207), Sandy Koufax (165) and Hoyt Wilhelm (143).

* Lastly — and this is perhaps most important — no pitcher in the Hall of Fame has an ERA higher than Pettitte’s. 

But then again, not many have the playoff track record of Pettitte, who is one of the best big-game pitchers of all-time. Which is why his Hall of Face candidacy is so tricky. Pettitte didn’t necessarily dominate his era. But he did lead a team in wins on four separate occasions, and he was the driving force behind several title winners.

Andy Pettitte: Solid pitcher whose mystique was greatly helped by the bright lights and good teams of New York, or a legit Hall of Famer?

— Alden Gonzalez  

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