City Sports Report

Core Four No More: Andy Pettitte Retires

Andy Pettitte Throwing Off The Mound At Yankee Stadium

Andy Pettitte Throwing Off The Mound At Yankee Stadium

The night was Thursday, October 24, 1996.  The World Series was tied at two games apiece and pivotal game five at Fulton County Stadium pitted aces John Smoltz of the Atlanta Braves against Andy Pettitte of the New York Yankees.  Smoltz would pitch a great game, eight innings pitched, four hits allowed, 10 strikeouts, three walks, and one earned run, but Pettitte’s performance was even better.  Eight and a third inings pitched, five hits, four strikeouts, three walks, and no earned runs allowed.  The Yankees won the game, 1-0, and the series, 4-2, but Thursday, October 24, 1996, was the night the legend of Andy Pettitte was born.

Pettitte never won a Cy Young.  He never led the league in ERA or strikeouts.  But he did have one of the best pick-off moves Major League Baseball has ever seen, and had many intangibles that can’t be computed with statistics.  Pettitte was greater than his numbers.  I say was, because at 10:30am this morning, at Yank Stadium, Pettitte announced his retirement.  “I feel like I’m done in baseball.  When I left Arlington Stadium last season I felt like I was done.”  When asked why he decided the retire, Pettitte said “The desire to compete” wasn’t there any more like it used to be.  “A lot of this started last year whe I hurt myself” Pettitte said, referring to an injury that kept him out two and a half months, one thought to require only two or three weeks off.

When asked if any lingering injuries forced him to retire, Pettitte responded no.  “I’m ready to pitch in spring training if I had to.  My arm feels great.”  When asked if he would come back later in the season if he feels the desire to compete, Pettitte responded “I believe I’m done.  I don’t know how I’m going to feel in two months, three months.  I will not pitch this season, I can assure you that.”

Of his many accomplishments on the field, Pettitte said he was most proud of the first championship.  “Being able to win the first won, that World Series.”  Coming back and winning again with the Yankees after signing with the Houston Astros was big as well.  “To be able to come back and help them win again” was important.

Pettitte said he may have retired sooner, after the 2008 season, “but the draw of pitching in the new stadium” drew him back.  After winning the World Series in 2009, the chance for a repeat led him back.

Pettitte was asked if the pending legal proceedings of Roger Clemens influenced his decision.  “That has not had any effect, zero” he strongly declared.  When asked if he was a Hall of Famer, Pettitte replied “I’ve never considered myself a Hall of Famer.”

Pettitte’s best two seasons as a professional were 1996 and 2003, when he went 21-8 in both seasons, with an earned run average(ERA) of 3.87 and 4.02, respectively.  He has a career record of 240-138, with a lifetime ERA of 3.88.  In the post season, where he experienced great success, he is 19-10 in 42 starts with an ERA of 3.83 in 263 innings, his 19 wins and 263 innings the most of any pitcher in the history of Major League Baseball.

Pettitte was a part of seven American League pennant-winning teams, one National League pennant-winning team and five World Series championship teams.  His 203 victories as a Yankee rank third on the team’s career list.

So, in his final start as a Yankee, Andy Pettitte, pitching against Cliff Lee, gave up 2 runs, 5 hits, 5 strikeouts, in 7 innings.  That is the type of quality start Yankees fans have gotten used to since 1996, but with Pettitte retiring, those will be no more and there are only three left of the former Core Four.

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  1. Pingback: BREAKING NEWS: Andy Pettitte to Return to the New York Yankees | Razz & Jazz Sports Blog

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