Results tagged ‘ Ford ’

Pettitte retired, but he won’t be out of the news

It was just a coincidence, Andy Pettitte, said on Friday, that he decided to formally retire shortly after a federal judge ruled that lawyers for Roger Clemens will be able to cross exam the left-handed pitcher this summer when the Rocket soars into court.

Pettitte won’t throw off a Major League mound for the Yankees this season, but he will be front and center as a key witness when Clemens goes to trial, which is slated to begin in Washington on July 6.

During his lengthy retirement media conference at Yankee Stadium, Pettitte said that the pending Clemens trial had “zero” effect on his decision. The question seemed to be the giant elephant in the room.

“I would hope that anyone or any of you guys who have followed me through that whole situation would know that it has not had any effect, zero in my decision,” Pettitte responded when the question was finally asked 20 minutes into the conference. “I would never let that interfere with those life decisions I’m [making] for me and my family. That has literally had no impact on my decision, no impact on my life.”

Clemens, who is charged with lying to Congress about his use of performance-enhancing drugs, was questioned by United States District Judge Reggie Walton on Wednesday about a possible conflict of interest involving one of his attorneys — Rusty Hardin. The bombastic Houston lawyer also advised Pettitte for a short time after the pair of pitchers were named in the Mitchell Report as PED users in December 2007. Clemens waived his rights about the conflict and another attorney will cross examine Pettitte.
Pettitte said he used human growth hormone. In a deposition before the famous Congressional hearing in February 2008, Pettitte admitted that transgression and said he had knowledge that Clemens also used HGH when the two were teammates. Pettitte was excused from the hearing. Clemens was advised not to testify. When he insisted and did so under oath he said that Pettitte “misremembered” the incident. It was one of the numerous times the Justice Dept. has charged that Clemens committed perjury that day.

Pettitte said he was at the end of line in his 16-year career anyway, that he could have physically continued to pitch, but “didn’t have his heart in it.” He missed almost the entire second half of the 2010 season because of a severely pulled groin and his absence alone certainly contributed to the Yankees barely losing the American League East title to the Rays. But it probably wouldn’t have been prudent for him to appear at the Clemens trial during the middle of the 2011 season. At 39, he can take the year off, get through the turmoil and perhaps give it another shot.

“I’ve been thinking about that, too,” Pettitte said. “I believe I’m done. I would not be doing what I’m doing right now if I didn’t think I was done. And I don’t know what I’m going to feel like two months from now, three months from now. I can tell you one thing: I am not going to play again this season.  I can tell you that 100 percent. But I guess you can never say never. I don’t think I’d be scared if I went through this whole season and I had a hurt in my stomach saying I wanted to pitch.  Maybe I’ll try it again.  But I don’t plan on pitching again. I think that me taking the mound every fifth day is over.”

Just when we thought Major League Baseball’s steroid era was behind us, it’s going to rear its ugly head again this year. First Barry Bonds will go to trial in San Francisco on March 21 for perjury in a case that is so old it defies the imagination. Bonds is charged with lying about his PED use in grand jury testimony regarding the BALCO case that was given in late 2003. Clemens will then go to trial in the nightcap a few months later. That’s only the top hitter and arguably the top pitcher of the era. Both will be on the Hall of Fame ballot in 2013.

Pettitte took the honorable path, publicly apologized for his mistake and then went on with his life and career. With a 240-138 regular season record and 19 postseason wins, he has Hall of Fame credentials similar to those of Hall of Famer Whitey Ford, another famous Yankees left-hander who had a 236-106 record and 10 postseason victories, all in the World Series.

That decision is for 2016 when Pettitte’s name will first appear on the ballot. No matter. Though he won’t be on the mound, he’ll certainly be back in the news in a big way again this summer.

Pettitte starting to look like Hall of Fame candidate

As we entered the 2009 baseball season I never thought I’d mention the words Andy Pettitte and Hall of Fame in the same sentence. But the Yankee left-hander’s 4-0 performance in the postseason and his 2-0 exclamation point in the World Series has me starting to think in those terms.

Pettitte, now 37, hasn’t determined whether he’s coming back next season.

“I’m not sure,” Pettitte said in the din of the clubhouse celebration after the Yanks clinched their 27th World Series title by vanquishing the Phillies. “I’ll need to get home
and talk to my family. I’ll need to talk to the Yankees and find out
where they’re at, and then I can probably start trying to figure out
what I’d like to do.”

Even if he doesn’t come back, his resume after 15 seasons has to warrant some serious HOF consideration. Pettitte already has a 229-135 record for a .629 regular season-winning percentage. His 18 postseason wins — five of them in the World Series — are the most in Major League history. John Smoltz, who had 15 postseason wins for the Atlanta Braves, only recorded two of them in the Fall Classic. With 213 wins and 154 saves, Smoltz is considered a very formidable Hall of Fame candidate, although his Braves won the World Series only once in five chances.

Pettitte also compares favorably to Yankee Hall of Famer Whitey Ford, another left-hander who was elected with a record of 236-106 and a .690 winning percentage in 17 regular seasons. The man also nicknamed “Chairman of the Board” had a record 10 victories in 11 World Series. Ford played in an era when the pennant winners in each league went directly to the World Series. There were no qualifying rounds. Ford’s Yankees won six of them.

Pettitte has now played in the World Series eight times, seven with the Yankees and one with the Astros. He’s won five, all with the Yankees. That’s no mean feat, considering the fact that in his era a team must get through three grueling rounds of playoffs to be crowned champions. This year, he won the clincher in each round against the Twins, Angels and Phillies.

Ford, 10-8, in the World Series, only started 22 postseason games. Pettitte has started 40 and he’s 18-9. Sandy Koufax, one of the premier left-handers in baseball history, won 165 games in 12 seasons with the Dodgers and added four wins in eight World Series appearances, seven of them starts. Koufax is the rare exception to the rule: a pitcher who was elected to the Hall based on six great seasons, the last six of his injury-prone career.

As a Hall-of-Fame voter, it’s a no-brainer that Derek Jeter and Mariano Rivera will be first ballot electees to the Hall of Fame. Barring injury, Jeter will become the first Yankee with 3,000 hits and he’s already the leading shortstop all-time in that category.  Rivera is second behind Trevor Hoffman with 526 regular-season saves. But he’s light years ahead of Hoffman in both postseason statistics and opportunities, with eight wins, 39 saves and a 0.74 ERA. Two of those wins and 11 of those saves have come in the World Series.

Of course, any discussion of Pettitte for the Hall will have to include consideration of his admitted use of human growth hormone (HGH). But Ford scuffed and doctored baseballs with the help of Elston Howard, one of his catchers. So where does a voter draw the line?

Off those great Yankees teams in Ford’s era — 1950-67 — Joe DiMaggio, Mickey Mantle and Yogi Berra are also in the Hall of Fame. From this era, circa 1995-2009, I’m now inclined to consider Pettitte in the same breath as Jeter and Rivera.