Friday, February 4, 2011

Is Andy Pettitte a Hall of Famer?

After 16 seasons, Andy Pettitte is calling it quits, and now the debate begins: Is Andy Pettitte a Hall of Famer? My first reaction would be that yes, he would absolutely be a Hall of Famer, but let's take a closer look. There is no doubt that Pettitte's a winner. In fact, in his entire career, he's never posted a losing record, and he finished with 240 wins against just 138 losses. He won 21 games twice in his career and is baseball's all-time leader in postseason wins with 19. Pettitte helped the Yankees win 5 World Series Titles, led the Astros to their first World Series in 2005, and made 3 all-star teams. BUT... Pettitte was named in the Mitchell Report and ultimately admitted using HGH in 2002 and in 2004. So how will that play into everything?

Thus far the Voters have been pretty unforgiving in terms of those who've used or been suspected of using, but let's take that out of the equation for now just for the sake of argument. I've always been hesitant to say that Curt Schilling had a Hall of Fame career, but look how the two stack up against one another:

Schilling - Career Record 216-146, 3116 K's, 3.46 ERA, 1.14 WHIP, 6 All Star Games
Pettitte - Career Record 240-138, 2251 K's, 3.88 ERA, 1.36 WHIP, 3 All Star Games

Both players won an LCS MVP award, but Schilling also has a World Series MVP to go with it.

Pettitte won 5 World Series rings, Schilling won 3.

Pettitte won over 20 games twice, Schilling did it 3 times.

Pettitte has more postseason wins than anyone, but Schilling has the best postseason winning percentage for pitchers with more than 10 decisions.

So in that light, it almost looks like Schilling has the edge. But let's look at two other pitchers who pitched during that same time frame: Tom Glavine and Greg Maddux.

Glavine - Career Record 305-203, 2607 K's, 3.54 ERA, 1.31 WHIP, 10 All Star Games

Glavine also won 2 Cy Young Awards, 4 Silver Sluggers and a World Series MVP and was a 20 game winner 5 times.

Maddux - Career Record 355-227, 3371 K's, 3.16 ERA, 1.14 WHIP, 8 All Star Games

Add in the fact that Maddux won 18 gold gloves, 4 Cy Young Awards, and has his number retired by 2 different teams. Then you look at his 1994 and 1995 seasons:

1994: Record 16-6, 202 innings, just 31 walks, 156 strikeouts, 10 complete games, 3 shutouts, a WHIP of 0.90 and a 1.56 ERA.

1995: Record 19-2, 209 2/3 innings, only 23 walks, 181 strikeouts, 10 complete games, 3 shutouts, a WHIP of 0.81 and a 1.63 ERA.

So Pettitte is slightly behind Schilling, and WELL behind Maddux and Glavine. Don't forget we also have guys like Roger Clemens, Pedro Martinez, John Smoltz and Randy Johnson in this era that he doesn't necessarily compare favorably to. So while Pettitte was very good, especially when it mattered, he's not a shoe-in to make the Hall even when you discount the whole HGH debacle. I kind of see him as the pitcher's equivalent of his longtime teammate Bernie Williams. Williams had a solid career, made some all-star teams, set some postseason records, but ultimately he just wasn't Hall worthy. So sorry, Andy. You had a great run, but I don't think it was enough.

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