With Pettitte's body of work finally complete, his second retirement from the New York Yankees being a permanent one, let's talk about it one more time.
Lets' look at the traditional numbers:
-- Pettitte finished his career 256-153, 103 victories over .500. There are only 26 pitchers who have ever accomplished that. Eighteen are Hall of Famers and seven are not yet eligible for Cooperstown. The eighth, Bob Caruthers, pitched in the 1800s.
-- Pettitte pitched in eight World Series and his 19 postseason victories are the most all-time by any pitcher. He went 19-11 in playoff games.
-- Pettitte pitched 18 big-league seasons without ever having a losing record. He is the only pitcher to ever pitch at least 15 seasons and accomplish that.
Now, a couple of numbers Sabermetricians will love, from Baseball-Reference.com:
-- Pettitte's career WAR of 60.9 is 55th all-time for pitchers.
-- His ERA+ of 117 puts him among the best pitchers ever since 1950.
Numbers aside, you can argue that Pettitte was also a good but never a great pitcher. He was rarely the best pitcher on his own team. He made the All-Star team only three times. He never won a Cy Young Award, with his best being a second-place finish in 1996.
Should you get into the Hall of Fame for being good in the regular season for a long time, but never being great for any real stretch in your career? Where Pettitte was often great was the postseason. Does that make him a Hall of Famer?
What will Pettitte's HGH use admissions do to his candidacy when he becomes eligible in five years? Painting with a broad brush anyone who has been connected to the performance-enhancing drug era is generally considered not Hall-worthy.
On the merits of what he did in his career I would vote for Pettitte to be enshrined in Cooperstown. I know, though, that some voters won't be convinced he did enough. Combined with the fact that it's a lock that some voters will shun him because of the HGH use I would be surprised if Pettitte got in. If he gets in at all, my guess is it takes several years on the ballot and mellowing of opinion toward those connected with the steroid era of baseball.
Ed Valentine is editor of Big Blue View, covering the New York Giants for SB Nation. He has covered the Yankees for a variety of publications, including Pinstripe Alley and SB Nation New York.
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