Originally posted on Bronx Pinstripes  |  Last updated 5/9/12

The two greatest lefties in Yankee history on the mound at the old Stadium

With Andy Pettitte scheduled to pitch on Sunday against the visiting Mariners, it’s hard not to think of his place in Yankees history. When Pettitte announced his return in March, memories came flooding back to me of years gone by.

Pettitte’s first year in the big leagues came in 1995 at the age of 23. He started 26 of 31 games he appeared in and compiled a 12-9 record with a 4.17 era – pretty mediocre. The following year, he won a career high 21 games and finished second to Toronto’s Pat Hentgen in the AL Cy Young Award voting. It was after the ’96 season that Yankees fans knew they had something special. Andrew Eugene Pettitte would become a fan favorite, and really, one of the best pitchers the organization has ever had. In my mind, he’s the second best left hander in Yankees history.

Look at the numbers. Whitey Ford, the best pitcher in franchise history (lefty or otherwise) spent his entire career in New York, which spanned 16 years. Ford’s career numbers are 236-106, 2.75 era, 1,956 strikeouts. He pitched 3,170.1 innings, giving up 2,766 hits. Ford holds the record for most wins as a Yankee and won six world championships. Keep in mind he lost two seasons (1951, 1952) due to military service. Ford’s best year came in 1961 when he posted a 25-4 record with a 3.21 era. He started game one of the World Series in four straight years, something he accomplished twice. He owns the record for most World Series wins with 10, and starts with 22. Pettitte is second on the start list with 13.

Pettitte will take the mound Sunday with a Yankee record of 203-112, 3.98 era and 1,823 strikeouts, having collected five World Series championships along the way. Pettitte spent three years in Houston where he won 37 games. Had Pettitte stayed in New York, he may very well have the all-time Yankee win record. All in all, Pettitte is 240-138 in 16 seasons, matching Ford’s season total.

What separates these two guys from anyone else is their postseason success. Ford was 10-8 with a 2.71 era, Pettitte is 19-10 with a 3.83 era. If you were to look at the pitching categories and records in the postseason and World Series, you would find “Pettitte” and “Ford” on almost every list.

Both Pettitte's and Ford's careers will be compared forever.

What Ford was to the Yankees in the 50′s and 60′s dynasty is a little different than what Pettitte meant to the 90′s dynasty. Ford was the ace – he started game one of the World Series all the time for a reason. Pettitte was never “the guy.” Joe Torre would often have Pettitte pitch game two, just in case the Yankees found themselves in a 0-1 hole in a series. Torre knew Pettitte would give everything he had and be a stopper for the team.

I know people will bring up Ron Guidry. I put him fourth on the list of all-time Yanks lefties, behind Lefty Gomez. Guidry probably had the best season (1978, 25-3, 1.74 era, 248 k’s) of the four, but his overall success doesn’t compare. Guidry pitched mostly in the 1980′s, a decade in which the Yankees experienced futility.

Will Pettitte reach the all-time Yankee win record before his career is over? I’d say probably not. Those three years spent in Houston hurt his chances. Red Ruffing (231) stand between Pettitte and Ford. Pettitte will turn 40 this summer. Would he want to come back next year at the age of 41? We don’t know yet. If Jamie Moyer is still pitching at the age of 49 for Colorado, who knows? But Pettitte would have to hang around for another three years with at least 10 wins to have a chance. If he’s pitching effectively why not? He did retire after one of his best years in 2010 though. Time will tell.

For now, enjoy watching Pettitte pitch. Enjoy his ominous stare under his cap and just over his glove. Enjoy watching him give his whole heart in every start, because we may not see another homegrown pitcher like him again for a long time.

MORE FROM YARDBARKER:
Best athlete by state all time
GET THE YARDBARKER APP:
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45
MORE FROM YARDBARKER

Aaron Rodgers takes shot at the Georgia Dome’s allegedly fake crowd noise

Russell Westbrook responds to All-Star snub

Report: Knicks, Melo to part ways by next season

Report: Pau Gasol out up to six weeks after hand surgery

Adam Jones to serve as penalty box attendant for minor league hockey team

LIKE WHAT YOU SEE?
GET THE DAILY NEWSLETTER:

Report: Paxton Lynch to be given chance to win Broncos’ job

Patriots have a magician perform tricks for players every Friday?

Indiana's OG Anunoby needs knee surgery, out for remainder of season

Tom Brady refuses to discuss Donald Trump: ‘Let’s talk about football stuff’

Report: 49ers could target Kirk Cousins in trade that includes No. 2 overall pick

Mike McCarthy: Jordy Nelson, Davante Adams may be game-time decisions

Best of Yardbarker: Roger Goodell does what we all expected him to do

Eat, Drink, Watch for Jan. 20-22, 2017: Dips, rye, football and Death Race 2050

Box Score 1/20: 37 years ago today, Carter said no to Moscow

NFC & AFC Championship preview: We love scoring

Roger Goodell is a coward, but then we knew that

TailGreater: Picking the conference champions by their signature cocktails

The 10 best sports docs available for streaming

The NFC Championship’s two most important players

Eight bold predictions for second half of NBA season

Box Score 1/19: Happy anniversary to the 'Tuck Rule' game

Clarification Please: Why college basketball needs to ditch the possession arrow

NBA hotline bling: Derrick Rose gets disconnected

MLB News
Delivered to your inbox
You'll also receive Yardbarker's daily Top 10, featuring the best sports stories from around the web. Customize your newsletter to get articles on your favorite sports and teams. And the best part? It's free!

By clicking "Sign Me Up", you have read and agreed to the Fox Sports Digital Privacy Policy and Terms of Use. You can opt out at any time. For more information, please see our Privacy Policy.
the YARDBARKER app
Get it now!
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45

Best of Yardbarker: Roger Goodell does what we all expected him to do

Eat, Drink, Watch for Jan. 20-22, 2017: Dips, rye, football and Death Race 2050

QUIZ: Name the owners of these 50 famous NFL nicknames

NFC & AFC Championship preview: We love scoring

Roger Goodell is a coward, but then we knew that

The 10 best sports docs available for streaming

TailGreater: Picking the conference champions by their signature cocktails

The 'What's a Romo worth these days anyway?' quiz

Clarification Please: Why college basketball needs to ditch the possession arrow

NBA hotline bling: Derrick Rose gets disconnected

Today's Best Stuff
For Publishers
Company Info
Help
Follow Yardbarker