44. Andy Pettitte

Andy Pettitte will always be associated with the New York Yankees but for a three year stretch he was with the Houston Astros, a move he made later in his career that allowed him to play close to home. 

Andy Pettitte

Andy Pettitte took PEDs and apologized for it. He was forgiven by not just the fans of the New York Yankees but baseball fans in general. That fact (an important one) makes him the most intriguing candidate for this year as his contriteness might make him Hall of Fame worthy.  

Still, if the PED issue is not a factor, is Andy Pettitte an HOF contender? Let’s take a look!

While Pettitte was only an All Star three times, he was a top five finisher in Cy Young voting four times and retired with 256 Wins and 2,448 Strikeouts. That is good, but with the exceptions of leading the American League in Wins in 1996, and HR/9 in 1997 he never led his league in any pitching category, be it traditional or sabremetric.   Pettitte does have a 19 and 11 post season record and five World Series Rings, but his playoff numbers are only marginally better that his regular season ones, though it should be pointed out that he won the ALCS MVP in 2001.

Andy Pettitte is definitely a bubble candidate though which side of the bubble is very much open for debate.
The ace of the Yankees staff that would win four World Series Championships in five seasons Andy Pettitte did not just help New York win those titles, he was instrumental in those championships.  Pettitte holds the record of the most-post season wins (19) an 18 of those were as a Yankee.
Over the past weekend, The New York Yankees officially gave former battery mates, Jorge Posada and Andy Pettitte the highest accolade they can give, as their numbers were officially retired by the organization.

Posada had his number #20 retired on Saturday by the only MLB organization he ever played for.  Posada was a member of four World Series Championship teams, was a five time All Star and five time Silver Slugger Award winner. 

Pettitte’s ceremony took place on Sunday.  As a Yankee, #46 won five World Series Rings won 219 Games and another 18 in the post-season.  He also has the most Strikeouts in Yankees history.

This is no small honor as they join a very exclusive list of legends which includes:

Billy Martin #1

Babe Ruth #3

Lou Gehrig #4

Joe DiMaggio #5

Joe Torre #6

Mickey Mantle #7

Bill Dickey #8

Yogi Berra #8

Roger Maris #9

Phil Rizzuto #10

Thurman Munson #15

Whitey Ford #16

Don Mattingly #23

Elston Howard #32

Casey Stengel #37

Mariano Rivera #42

Reggie Jackson #44

Ron Guidry #49

Bernie Williams #51

It should be noted that the numbers are displayed in Monument Park, adjacent to left field.  It is expected that Derek Jeter’s #2 will join this list shortly.

Congratulations go out to the New York Yankees, which have the best lot of retired numbers in Baseball.

You know how hard it is to get into the Baseball Hall of Fame? In 2013, with a ballot brimming with qualified candidates, not one player received the 75 percent of the votes needed for admission. (I identified 14 likely Hall of Famers on the 2013 ballot.)

Granted, 2013 was the first year of eligibility for Barry Bonds and Roger Clemens, both poster boys for performance-enhancing drugs (PED), bringing to a head the contentious debate about "cheaters" and their admission into the Hall. But there were certainly several "clean" players on that ballot, and a few of those, such as 3000-hit-club member Craig Biggio, would have been uncontroversial picks in any previous year.

And although 2014 saw the election of three players—Tom Glavine, Greg Maddux, and Frank Thomas—it was merely the tip of a talent-heavy iceberg (I identified 18 likely Hall of Famers for that ballot), while providing a burn to Biggio yet again as not only did he miss election by one vote (he garnered 74.8 percent of the vote), but three first-time candidates leapfrogged him into Cooperstown.
Baseball immortality: Precious few attain it, most do not even come close—and some perch on the cusp of that immortality as signified by the Baseball Hall of Fame. Theirs are the test cases, players whose careers, accomplishments, and legacies form the threshold of what separates a Hall of Famer from the rest.

Baseball Hall of Fame voting in the last few years has been fascinating for a number of reasons, particularly the logjam of qualified candidates, which promises to remain an issue for the next few years. That logjam puts additional pressure on the borderline candidates—will they be overlooked, perhaps unfairly, because there are too many candidates from which to choose?