Found September 29, 2013 on MLB Injury News:
Other than a with no-hitter, can a pitcher end his career any better than with a complete game victory? It happened Saturday night. New York Yankees star left-hander Andy Pettitte said good-bye to Major League Baseball by pitching a complete game and winning 2-1 over -- fittingly -- the Houston Astros, the only other team for which Pettitte pitched in his 18-year career. His final line was 9 IP, 1 ER, 5 H, 2 BB, 5 K. Even more amazingly, Pettitte had not pitched a complete game since 2006. Pettitte ended his season at 11-11 with a 3.74 ERA. Even though the Yankees will miss the postseason, this win has tremendous value for Pettitte and for baseball history. He ends the season at .500. This record makes Pettitte the only pitcher to last 15 or more seasons and never have a losing record. The closest he came to losing that accomplishment is this year's 11-11 and 2008's 14-14 records. Coincidentally, these are the only two years the Yankees did not make the postseason since 1995, the year that Pettitte came up. Superstar closer Mariano Rivera had his last tremendous moments last Sunday and this past Thursday night. Pettitte and long-time teammate Derek Jeter joined in the celebration by acting as manager and pitching coach in removing Rivera from Thursday night's game -- Rivera's last -- to a heart-wrenching but arousing ovation. Rivera has stated that he will not pitch in Houston.  Saturday night was Pettitte's moment. According to MLB.com's Yankees beat writer Bryan Hoch, Pettitte had the final decision of how long he would pitch. Manager Joe Girardi told reporters after the game about this decision, especially since Girardi went to the mound with two outs and the tying run on first base in the ninth inning. Said Girardi, "We left the decision in his hands every inning that he went back out. He said, 'I can finish it.' I said, 'Go ahead then.'" Pettitte then got J.D. Martinez to ground out, ending the game and the left-hander's brilliant career. Pettitte, naturally, became emotional during post-game interviews although he held it back quite well while still on the field. In classic Pettitte fashion, he did not hog the glory but, rather, gave thanks in a fitting way. Said Pettitte, "I couldn't have dreamed of this working out the way it did. I'm just so thankful and feel so blessed and fortunate. I just feel like God worked this out exactly perfect; another day I'll never forget." Hall of Fame credentials Pettitte's final career numbers are as follows: 256-153, 3.85 ERA, 2,448 strikeouts, and 1.351 WHIP. He has an average WAR of 3.39. He won 219 games as a Yankee, third all-time. His 2020 Yankee strikeouts rank first. He won five World Series championships, seven American League pennants, and one National League pennant. He made three A.L. All-Star teams and finished in the top six in Cy Young voting five times. He is 11th all-time in wins for left-handed pitchers. Pettitte was just as dominant in the postseason, winning a Major-League record 19 games. His 19-11, 3.81 ERA record came against the best teams in the league each year. These postseason numbers should boost his Hall of Fame credentials. Some question whether or not Hall of Fame voters should consider postseason performance. That is understandable since there are Hall-of-Famers who never sniffed the postseason; Ernie Banks comes to mind. Looking at only Pettitte's regular-season numbers, though, should give the voters enough to put him in. Every pitcher with a record of 100+ games over .500 is in the Hall of Fame. Pettitte is 103 games over .500. Even if he does not make it with Rivera on the 2019 ballot, their first year of eligibility, it should not take much longer. Rivera is a certain first-ballot inductee.  Congratulations to Andy Pettitte for a fabulous career. Saturday night's performance left a lasting impression on Pettitte, the Yankees, and Major League Baseball. Here's hoping we see him in Cooperstown soon. Follow Raymond on Twitter @RayBureau. Like Raymond's "Baseball Bureau" page on Facebook. Looking for fantasy baseball advice?
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