For 13 seasons, Andy Pettitte has been one of the stabilizing forces in a pitching rotation for the Yankees that has seen consistent change and influx of free agents. Through it all though, Yankees fans could count on him to tow the rubber every fifth day for his start and usually dominate with pinpoint control. Starting this April though, those fans will have to learn to go it alone.
Andy Pettitte has finally decided to bring his 16 year career to a close, with those other three seasons toiling with the Houston Astros. He will end though and mostly likely go into the Hall of Fame as one of the best left-handed pitchers in the history of the franchise. He career totals will show a 240-138 pitching record with a final career ERA of 3.88.
His accomplishments will go down as being legendary. He won 20 games twice in his career. He made three all star game appearances and played on five World Series winners with the Yankees. He will also finish with the most wins of any pitcher in postseason history. That is the epitome of the big game pitcher.
Pettitte has teased the idea of hanging up the cleats for at least three seasons, but this one seemed to be the end. Many fans and Yankees officials hoped to coax him back for one more campaign but he could not be convinced. In the end he wanted to spend more time with his wife and four children who are in school. Is that the only reason for the retirement?
There are other factions who believe that the upcoming trial of long time friend and teammate Roger Clemens on perjury charges may also play a role. Pettitte is expected to be a chief witness against Clemens and perhaps he did not want that weighing on him while trying to pitch for New York. Pettitte as you will recall, is one of the few players named in the Mitchell Report that actually admitted his wrongdoing and seemingly was accepted back by fans for coming clean.
The next question for Pettitte will be in five years. Will those sportswriters who are taking a hard line stance against all players who had steroid implications turn away a man who took them for an injury, then admitted his mistake? It will certainly be an interesting story to watch unfold. Pettitte is said to be announcing his retirement at 10:30 on Friday at Yankee Stadium.