Friday night, Andy Pettitte was honored at Minute Maid Park. The former National League Central-turned-American League West cellar dwellers presented the New York Yankees lefty with a tribute video and a framed jersey.
You'll recall, the retiring pitcher took a break from the Big Apple from 2004-2006 and pitched the better part of three seasons for the Houston Astros.
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Now, fast forward to Saturday night. The 41-year-old was on the mound for the Bombers for the last time and he looked like the guy who, back in 2005, helped lead the Astros to the World Series. Dude scattered five hits and one run en route to the victory and a complete game.
This had led to plenty online and on television to speculate about Pettitte's chances at being enshrined in the Hall of Fame when his time comes. On the flip side, there are also those that feel like the pitcher isn't worthy, despite his 256 wins. Naturally, they deem him more worthy of enshrinement into "The Hall of Very Good" rather than Cooperstown.
So, I gathered Lou Olsen, Ben Hutchison and Bo Rosny and asked about Pettitte and the prospects of, someday, making it into one of the two proverbial hallowed halls.
HOVG: First thing first. Do you think Andy Pettitte is a Hall of Famer or, at the least, should warrant Hall of Fame consideration? If so, why? If not, why not?
ROSNY: As a Yankee fan, I have been very fortunate to have had Andy Pettitte on my team for most of the last nineteen seasons. He was a terrific pitcher and a key element on five world championship teams. That said, in my mind, Pettitte is not a Hall of Famer.
HUTCH: I think he can deserve consideration, but I don't think he's a Hall of Famer. Yes, he's had a consistent and sustaining career with 256 wins, double digit victories in 16 of 18 seasons, but overall average numbers in my eyes. I grew up a left-handed pitcher, and I always would try to emulate Randy Johnson, not Andy Pettitte.
ROSNY: To me, a Hall of Famer should have been one of the best in the game at his position during a substantial part of his career. Andy was rarely even the best pitcher on the Yankees during his time. Part of what has made the Yankees so great over the past two decades has been getting a lot of high-quality pitchers rather than one or two aces. What makes Pettitte unique on the Yankees is doing it for so long, but he was rarely if ever the unquestioned ace even on his own staff.
OLSEN: I say yes…Andy Pettitte should be in the Hall of Fame. For me though, it has less to do with his numbers, which first-ballot worthy, and more to do with how he handled his own personal PED situation. When he was accused of using PED's rather than shrouding himself in secrecy and letting lawyers to monitor his every word, Pettitte came clean. It bothers me zero percent that he took PED's. What is important to me is that he told the truth.
HOVG: To the two of you who don’t think he’s a Hall of Famer, does his PED admission for a few years ago enter into your thought process at all?
HUTCH: It came to my mind, but again, I don't think he's a Hall of Famer, so he can enjoy the view from the stands.
ROSNY: Not really. There is little concrete evidence for either the benefit to the performance or the detriment to the health, especially HGH which is what Pettitte took to recover from an injury. Most of the players who have been singled out by HOF voters regarding PEDs are people the writers did not like in the first place, so it is really just a personality contest for the writers.
HOVG: What do you think Pettitte's legacy should be?
HUTCH: He was a good pitcher. A solid big-game pitcher. You could count on him for a strong outing. Best served to pitch in the ALCS (7-2 lifetime record), but when it came to World Series games, he was good, but not at the top of his game (5-4 lifetime record).
ROSNY: Pettitte was a very solid starter for the late-1990’s-early 2010’s Yankee dynasty. He’s somewhere between Ron Guidry and Whitey Ford as a Yankee great.
OLSEN: It’s hard to define someone's legacy without the aid of history to tell his story. For me though, it will probably be his 2005 season with the Astros. He and Roger Clemens took a sub .500 team all the way to the World Series. To me, that trumps anything he did in pinstripes.
HOVG: Lastly, is Andy Pettitte someone you'd ever endorse for inclusion into The Hall of Very Good™?
HUTCH: I think he would be a nice addition to the Hall of Very Good. He's someone that, from all accounts was a good teammate/clubhouse person that helped win a lot of ballgames.
ROSNY: Absolutely. He seems to be on the level of a Tommy John or Steve Blass, but probably below a Dale Muphy. Perhaps it is time for a more standard set of guidelines on inclusion?
OLSEN: Of course I would. Hands down, first ballot.
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