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POLL: Andy Pettitte & the Hall of Fame

Posted by Andy on February 4, 2011

Any minute now, Andy Pettitte will be officially announcing his retirement. About a year and a half ago, Pettitte was the subject of one of my very first Hall of Fame polls. Let's see if anything has changed.

Pettitte, originally drafted by the Yankees in 1990, finishes as a member of 5 championship teams (1996, 1998, 1999, 2000, and 2009, all with the Yankees) and 3 other World Series teams (2001 and 2003 with the Yankees and 2005 with the Astros.)

He was a 3-time All-Star and had 5 top-6 finishes for the Cy Young award.

Pettitte was also named in the Mitchell Report and later admitted to using HGH. I'm still finding it very tough to assess how this sort of thing affects a guy's HOF chances. I tend to doubt that Pettitte used HGH for just the two times he admitted to, but on the other hand I believe that hundreds of other players are guilty of using banned substances but haven't been caught.

Anyway, let's take a look at some basic arguments for and against Pettitte going in the Hall of Fame.

For Andy Pettitte in the Hall of Fame:

  • Among pitchers with at least 3000 IP since 1950, Pettitte has one of the best ERA+ values, ranking alongside guys like Eckersley, Carlton, Blyleven, and Gaylord Perry. Quite simply, he's been one of the best starting pitchers of his era.
  • Pettitte cracks the top 25 for best record since 1901, minimum 200 decisions. Now I'm not crazy about wins and losses as stats, and Pettitte was on really good teams, but you still gotta give the guy some credit for making the most of what he was given.
  • His WAR of 50.2 is good for 77th among pitchers and he's also in the top 50 in strikeouts and WPA (this last stat is post-1950.)
  • HOF Monitor of 123 (likely HOFer around 100), HOF Standards of 42 (average HOFer around 50): both numbers are in the top 70 for pitchers.
  • Pettitte hold a ton of post-season pitching records, thanks in part to the many berths earned by his teams. But the guy did a lot with his opportunities: in 42 starts he pitched 263 innings, and went 19-10 with a 3.83 ERA. Keep in mind that's against playoff-caliber opponents.

Against Andy Pettitte in the Hall of Fame:

  • Pettitte's neutralized numbers show that he benefited tremendously from pitching for really good teams. Converting to an average team he's given a .525 career winning percentage with only 2 seasons above 13 wins (16 in 1997 and 17 in 2005.)
  • Those All-Star appearances and Cy Young votes were pretty underwhelming. It's fair to say that Pettitte didn't spend much time rated as the top starting pitcher in the AL.
  • Even with a good WAR total, he only cracked 4.0 WAR in a season 3 times.

There are lots of other things I could add, but let's just get to the poll and discussion!

197 Responses to “POLL: Andy Pettitte & the Hall of Fame”

  1. Lawrence Azrin Says:

    #99/.. StephenH Says: "#97 Lawrence (-) On Torre, I think the HOF elects as either a manager or a player, but does not allow the two to be combined... "

    Stephen - I understand and agree with everything you stated in #99. It's just my personal opinion that Torre _should have_ been selected by the Vets committee strictly on his merits as a player (as you referenced Bill James calling him the best non-HOF catcher).

    As for combining HOF qualifications of both playing and managing careers, it kinda looks like that IS what the Vets did in 1946 with Frank Chance - strong qualifications as both player and manager, but by one or the other, not quite enough. ...Or maybe they just wanted to put Tinkers/ Evers/ Chance in the HOF all in the same year?

    If you compare Hodges to Chance, Gil is a little short of "the Peerless Leader" is a player (despite the power), but well short of him as a manager.

    I must commend (almost) everyone posting here on a most civil discussion, who sez you need controversy for a good discussion?

  2. Michael E Sullivan Says:

    On the non-hall of famers with 100 more wins, I was able to get close with this search.

    I decided it was unrealistic to be out with 300+ wins, so I used .600 Winning percentage as a cutoff. You also can't have 100 more wins than losses without 100 wins, so I looked at everyone who had at least 100 wins and at least a .600 W%. Nobody outside the hall had a win% higher than .687, so I raised my win cutoff to 183 (183W 83L is a .687 w%). Then I lowered the win% cutoff to see if anybody was out there with 300+ wins but a low win%. Well, it turns out nobody with 300+ wins (and not in the hall) had a win% between .500 and .600.

    So I can restrict the search to .600+ guys with at least 183 wins. That gives me 17 players since 1901 that are not in the hall of fame.

    The top three on our win% list are mortal locks (barring PED issues), Pedro, Clemens and Johnson. Next up is Mike Mussina. So far all of these guys have 100 more wins than losses, as does Andy at #5. Then we get five guys who don't, Doc Gooden, Carl Mays, Urban Shocker Jimmy Key, and Lon Warneke unless we reach Greg Maddux at #11, who does, and is again, a mortal lock. The next 5 do not qualify either, as we get 3 daves (McNally, Cone and Wells), an Art (Nehf) and a Wes (Ferrell). Finally #17 is Tom Glavine, who makes the cut by the same two wins as Andy, and, while not quite as mortal a lock as the others, is a pretty sure bet to make the hall.

    So, the only guys who's hall resume is in *any* sort of question on the merits of their playing career who have 100 more wins than losses are Mike Mussina (probably in) and Andy Pettitte (probably? maybe? out).

    Of course, wins are a terrible metric that happens to correlate at least somewhat with being good. So of course, a fair number of long career hall of famers will achieve this goal, and anybody who isn't at least *close* to a hall of fame resume has no real chance to do it. Pretty much everything he couldn't control went right for Andy (played almost exclusively on excellent teams with good run support), he's got at least an arguable hall of fame case and yet he's only 2 wins over the threshold.

  3. MikeD Says:

    @40 Hartvig says: I think Jason Stark's comment about being "the best number 3 starter of all time" is pretty much spot on.

    I agree with most that Pettitte is not quite a HOFer, although I'm not really a "large Hall" guy. I'm also not a small-Hall guy either, so perhaps there's such a thing as a medium-Hall guy!

    I generally like HOFers to at some point have been considered the best in the game, or just below that level for a long period of time. Pettitte falls short in that area. He did have the chance to make up for that if he stuck around for a few more years, something I think was quite possible considering his pitching style. If he made it up to 275+ career wins, and then adding in his postseason wins (which will no doubt have increased), he'd be up in the 300 win range. He'd have to be given serious consideration. Actually, he deserves serious consideration now, but still falls short for me.

    The one area I do disagree with is the Jayson Stark nonsense that Pettitte should be categorized as the greatest #3 of his generation. Even though he said he didn't mean it as a knock, it is. Looking over rotations the past generation, I don't really see teams (outside of maybe the 2011 Phils) with #3s who had peak seasons with a 177 ERA+ and has a career ERA+ of 117. It would have made more sense if he called him this generations greatest #2, since it would recognize he is a front-end starter, but falls short of what we view as a great pitcher.

    Then again, why am I expecting baseball intelligence from Jayson Stark?

  4. Baker Says:

    Stephen, I totally agree that Clemens made his bones away from the Yankees. And the only reason I brought up A-Rod at all is because in your original post you mentioned the 1996-2009 Yankees.

    If we're just addressing the 1996-2000 years (although I've always thought 2001 should be counted in this era as well since the dynasty didn't end until the final play of that season), then yes, Mussina isn't in the conversation either.

    If it's 1996-2000/01, then I think it's still just Jeter and Rivera that will make it, and I'm fine with that. Even though Clemens is more a Red Sox than a Yankee, he still did pitch very well for two of the four championship teams. So it's not crazy to include him. There's your three HOFers.

    Then you've got Cone, Bernie, O'Neill, Tino, Pettitte, Posada, who all had great, but not HOF careers. I don't think it's fair to put someone in the HOF just because it feels like a team that won a lot of WS should have several HOFers. The HOF is an individual accomplishment. Great teams have a lot of players with great years. Many non-HOF players put up a HOF-worthy season or two at some point in their careers.

    Interesting list that you mentioned above. It does seem like three is a reasonable number. For the '93 Jays I assume you're counting Rickey Hednerson, but Rickey only hit .215 in 44 games for Toronto. If we can count that, we can surely count Clemens for the Yankees.

    I'd add to that list the 90s Braves, who only won one WS but took 4 out of 5 NL pennants. With the Braves, you pretty much get the three HOF pitchers with them, and no one else (depending on how you feel about McGriff). And the late 60s/early 70s Orioles may not have been a typical "dynasty," but when you look at that group, you get three HOFers as well: Frank Robinson, Brooks Robinson and Palmer.

  5. MikeD Says:

    @93 - Baker -- "Just because the Yankees had those great teams doesn't mean we need to put 8-12 of them in the Hall of Fame."

    I don't if anyone is advocating 8-12. As you noted, Jeter and Rivera are easy as players, and Torre will go in as a manager thanks to his Yankee years. There is a fourth member of that dynasty run that was there for the very start but already is in the HOF, but he's there because of his career: Wade Boggs. (Clemens should be the fifth, also for his career, but also substantial contributions to the Yankees, but who knows what will happen with the whole PEDs issue. )

    They have three other borderline guys who deserve to be considered, even if they fall short: Posada, Pettitte and Williams. I do not have Williams and Pettitte as HOFers. Posada, as a catcher, still has a chance. He's probably right off the top-ten all-time, and he is still accumulating stats. While his days of catching are seemingly over, if he can play another two or three seasons as a DH and add on some counting stats, including getting over 300 HRs, he just might make it. He'll probably have to leave the Yankees after 2011 to do that, though.

  6. Rip Says:

    #103 - Good point, Mike. I noticed the same thing in that Stark article. It's especially funny because the Yankees were notorious for lining up their playoff rotation every year so that Pettitte could pitch Game 2. Not Game 3.

    Sure, I guess you could consider him a #3 for a good chunk of his career. But when you're in the same rotation with Clemens, Mussina, Cone, Sabathia, Oswalt, etc., that's inevitable.

    I've always hated the "#2, #3, #4" distinction anyway. It's meaningless.

  7. John Q Says:

    @ 103 & 105,

    Good points all around.

    I tend to agree with Mike that Pettitte needed to pitch another 3-4 years and win about 270 games. That would have given him about 58 War + his post-season play would have made him a good HOF candidate IMO.

    Starks #3 pitcher comment is dumb and doesn't explain anything. As Rip said he was pitching behind Clemens, Cone, Mussina, & Oswalt for most of his career.

    As far as his w/l %, there are plenty of pitchers with better winning% who are not in the HOF: Gullett, Spud Chandler, Leever, Vic Raschi, Sal Maglie, Ron Guidry, and Hugh Casey. Dwight Gooden had roughly the same w/l% and didn't get any HOF support. John Tudor had roughly the same w/l% and didn't get any HOF support.

    The whole thing with the 100 more wins than losses is just a cherry picked stat. Sam Leever had 94+ wins than losses and never had any HOF support.

    You could literally make a case for about 1000 players using cherry picked stats like 100 more wins than losses. For example, Sid Fernandez is THIRD all time in h/9 behind only Sandy Koufax and Nolan Ryan. That doesn't make El Sid a HOF.

    Again the stat that is most impressive to me is that Pettitte finished in the top 10 Nine times in his career for fewest HR/9.

  8. J alan Says:

    What gets me in the Pettitte debate is the fact few have noticed how small his CG and Shutout numbers are. In 16 seasons and just over 3000 IP Pettittie threw 25 CGs and tossed 4 shutouts. Think about that, 4 shutouts in 16 years! Compare those to Bert Blyleven's 24 CGs and 5 shutouts in 1985 alone! He threw one less CG and one more shutout in one season than Pettitte did in his entire career! Even Roy Halladay thew as many shutouts last season than Pettitte has his entire career! There is no way Andy Pettitte could ever be a hall of famer!

  9. birtelcom Says:

    I looked at each of the 13 seasons Andy pitched for the Yankees to see where he ranked each season among Yankees starting pitchers in pitching WAR. According to WAR, Andy was the ace of the Yankees starting staff in two of his 13 seasons with the Yanks (1996, ahead of #2 Kenny Rogers) and 1997 (ahead of #2 David Cone). In four seasons (including 2010) he was #2 on the starting staff. In three seasons (including 2008 and 2009) he was #3. In three seasons he was #4. In one season, 1998, he was #5. If you do an average of those thirteen season placements, he averaged around 2.8 in terms of his rank among Yankees starters. The aces, by the way, in the 11 of those seasons when it was not Andy, were: Mussina four times, CC twice, and five guys once: Jack McDowell, David Wells, David Cone, Roger Clemens and Chien-Ming Wang.

  10. MikeD Says:

    @108 and, related, @109 -- Yes. Slotting someone in as #2, #3 or whatever is pointless. He is what he pitched, and in Pettitte's case, he's a career 117 ERA+ pitcher.

    If Cole Hamels or Roy Oswalt toss up at ERA+ in the 130 range this year and that's only good for fourth best, does that mean either one of them is a #4 starter? Of course not.

    Just Stark nonsense.

  11. Sean Says:

    No HOF for Andy Pettitte. Even without HGH his career numbers are not good enough to be numbered among the best ever. His 3.88 career ERA is sub-par at best. He only made 3 All-star teams. There are many players not in the Hall of Fame who made more All-star teams. He came close to a Cy Young Award only one time. He only had 4 career shutouts. He can thank Mo Rivera for having as many career wins as he does. Without Mo he'd be lucky to even have 200 career wins. Also, the only reason he won so many post-season games is because he played for the Yankees during the wild card era. His post-season ERA is 3.83. Not so great either. You don't put a guy in the Hall just because he played in a lot of post-season games. If he had played another 4 or 5 seasons and reached 300 wins then he might be Hall-worthy, but he didn't, so too bad so sad.

  12. John DiFool Says:

    [OT]Jorge will have the most interesting, if not best case of the "also rans" listed above. The Hall has traditionally liked catchers who have played on multiple championship teams (this is reflected in the HoF Monitor), tho Jorge will need to continue to hit (at a DH not C level now) for at least a couple of more seasons. There haven't been many C elected in the past half-century or so: only Yogi, Bench, Fisk, & Carter from the BBWAA, and via the VC Lombardi & Ferrell (that last one very questionable). Is one C every 10 years a too-small a rate?

    From the last 20 years it will be Piazza & Pudge (assuming peds don't hold them up) and presumably Mauer. Jorge isn't as good as these guys (on either side of the ball), but he gets a lot of value from his walks and extra base power.

  13. Pat Says:

    No love for Jorge Posada as a HOF? I'm surprised. I think he fits in pretty nicely with the second tier HOF catchers like Dickey, Cochrane and Hartnett.

    I thought an earlier post saying Bernie Williams would be the positional analog to Pettitte was interesting, but I find even Williams' case more appealing than Pettitte. Considering how long he stuck in CF, Williams certainly deserves careful consideration of his case whereas I find it pretty cut and dried that Pettitte is below the line.

  14. StephenH Says:

    #113, Pat

    You really think that Cochrane and Hartnett are second tier HOF catchers? I think they are the best in their leagues up until Berra and Bench came along.

  15. Rock Says:

    Pettitte is not a HOF'er. If Jack Morris had been a second banana his whole career and didn't have to pitch into the 8th inning...that's Andy Pettitte. Pettitte was a very good pitcher for a very long time. That is NOT what the Hall of Fame should be about.

    How many people ever looked at Pettitte as one of the best pitchers in the game at any point in his career? It's one thing to have a high regular season ERA or high postseason ERA...but to have high ERA's in both? In addition to just 25 career complete games and 4 shutouts in the reg. season and ZERO of each in the playoffs? Please. I mean, I can't be the only one who finds it just a little ridiculous that the winningest pitcher in postseason history never had a complete game in 42 tries. Without Mariano Rivera(whose playoff career is legitimately awe-inspiring), would Pettitte even have a case?

    He wasn't an ace. No dominant seasons. No transcendent big game performances to hang his hat on. Was rarely an all-star and lost his only shot at a Cy Young to Pat Hentgen(!). Five rings but no World Series MVPs. Pettitte's best card is his W-L record...but that seems to be on the way down on the list of important pitching stats. Most guys would kill to have Pettitte's career...but that doesn't make it all-time great.

  16. John Q Says:

    @108 J. Allen,

    To be fair to Pettitte, the game has changed as far as pitchers are concerned. For instance J.A. Happ tied for the lead with 2 shutouts in 2009. Pitchers don't stay into games and close them anymore so using shutouts as a measuring device is kind of pointless. Also, Roy Halladay is a complete anomaly as to how modern pitchers are used.

  17. Juan sin Miedo Says:

    3 words, HGH = PED = No Hall for Pettitte...........or does it ??

    I think if you look outside of the win/loss column and the winning pct column Mr. Pettitte was an above average performer, He only had 25 complete games and averaged less then 7 innings per start. His WHIP is very pedestrian and his SO/BB ratio is behind the likes of David Cone, LaMar Hoyt and Denny Nagle (theres two names i have not heard of in a long time), Andy is not even in the top 100 in this category. But,.......on the other hand he was a consistant performer and has a nice won/loss record/pct. I do not feel like he warrants election to the Hall of Fame but there are already a lot worse names in the Hall (Don Drysdale, Dennis Eck). His postseason career and 5 world series rings should shine nicely when his name comes up for consideration. Lastly i feel if Andy were to reach the hallowed halls he would have to wait for other PED users to be enshrined (IE Clemens, Bonds, ARoid, Man Ram, McGwire, etc)

  18. Rock Says:

    John 116--that's true, the game has changed from Blyleven's time. But to have just 25 complete games and 4 shutouts total in his career(postseason included) is absurdly low. Of the guys from the last 20 years that are definitely headed to The Hall--Maddux, Glavine, Johnson, Pedro, Smoltz--they all at least got into double digits in shutouts and all but Pedro at least double Pettitte's complete games.

    Pettitte was good enough to win a lot of games for a lot of great teams. That's a wonderful career, but not immortal.

  19. Navajo Rug Says:

    @84 . . .

    Among the players who were on more than one of those Yankee championship teams of the late 1990s, I would say those who are most likely to be elected to the Hall of Fame (in estimated order of certainty) are: (1) Derek Jeter, (2) Mariano Rivera, (3) Andy Pettitte, and (4) Bernie Williams. I think Jeter and Rivera make it, while the latter two do not.

    Williams may even be a stronger contender than Pettitte. He didn't put up overwhelming numbers and will be facing the normal "bias" against outfielders . . . i.e., there's an expectation that players at the OF and 1B positions tend to produce better offensive numbers than others, so these players must be more dominant offensively than most. But he was one of the best at his position for quite a few years, and was a key player on multiple championship teams.

    And if you really want to make a case for Bernie Williams (BW), just look at his 162-game average statistics and compare them to another "Mystery Player" (MP) who is generally regarded as an "all-time great" by most pundits:

    Plate Appearances: Bernie Williams (BW) 706, Mystery Player (MP) 721
    At Bats: BW-614, MP-639
    Runs: BW-107, MP-98
    Hits: BW-182, MP-194
    Doubles: BW-35, MP-34
    Triples: BW-4, MP-6
    Home Runs: BW-22, MP-7
    Runs Batted In: BW-98, MP-60
    Stolen Bases: BW-11 of 18, MP-9 of 16
    Walks: BW-83, MP-71
    Strikeouts: BW-95, MP-52
    Batting Average: BW-.297, MP-.303
    On-Base Pct.: BW-.381, MP-.375
    Slugging Pct.: BW-.477, MP-.409

    Bernie Williams was awarded 4 Gold Gloves in his career, while this "Mystery Player" won 2 of them but never really played any position particularly well.

    This "Mystery Player" I'm referring to is Pete Rose. When you look past the career numbers that are based almost entirely on longevity, it's remarkable how poorly he stacks up even against a guy like Bernie Williams who is generally considered a borderline Hall of Famer at best.

  20. MikeD Says:

    @108 -- Complete games and shutouts have become meaningless stats. I've been watching the game long enough to remember Catfhish Hunter completing 30 games and tossing 300 innings in a season. Hey, what a surprise his arm started fading the very next season.

    Roger Clemens used to lead the league in shutouts and complete games, or be near the top in those categories. He basically ceased getting complete games when he arrived on the Yankees. When a man named Rivera pitches the ninth, and you're on a team that manages it's pitching staff to stay fresh come October, you cease getting complete games. Clemens still could have done it, and Pettitte was always a work horse who would have been raking up 15-20 complete games a season if he played during Morris' time, yet that wouldn't necessarily make him a better candidate for the HOF.

    I find it laughable when I see guys leading the league in shutouts with two! Roy Halladay is probably the exception today, yet even his streak of leading his league in complete games for four straight years is a bit comical since he's never even cracked double digits. Oh, I have no doubt Halladay would be cranking out in the 20s every year if he pitched during a different time. Today, it's as much a function of circumstances. In Toronto, he was his own bullpen, and I doubt Brad Lidge and company inspire much confidence in Philly. If Halladay was traded to the Yankees last year, his complete games would have ceased down to two or three a season. Today's game has changed to such a degree I don't even pay attention to complete games and shut outs.

    Now, once again, I'm not in favor of Pettitte in the HOF, and he's certainly no Halladay. There are reasons he could be a a legit candidate, but I think there are more reasons that he's not. The complete games/shut out argument is one of the weakest ones.

  21. Navajo Rug Says:

    @86 . . .

    I'm not sure why there would really be much debate about Smoltz's place in the Hall of Fame. I think there's no way a guy with 200+ wins as a starter and 150+ saves as a closer . . . who can legitimately claim to be one of the most feared pitchers of his era . . . doesn't get into the Hall of Fame on the first or second ballot. I don't think he was the #3 starter on those Atlanta teams, either -- he was really the #2 starter behind Maddux and ahead of Glavine.

    Pettitte's 19 wins in postseason play is an all-time record and is worthy of recognition, but I would make the case that Smoltz was a far more dominant postseason pitcher than Pettite was. Smoltz was 15-4 with a 2.67 ERA and 199 Ks in 41 postseason games (27 starts), and he had 4 saves, too. He was a pretty decent hitter, too -- with a lifetime batting average of .211 in playoff and World Series play.

    I don't think I'm stretching here when I say that John Smoltz was one of the top ten players at ANY position in the last 25 years. If I were building a roster for a championship team with major leaguers who played their prime years after 1990, I'd say Smoltz would be one of my top five picks.

  22. Navajo Rug Says:

    I'll tell y'all something else, though . . . Pettitte may not be a Hall of Famer, but if holding baserunners on first base were a major statistic for pitchers this guy would be in on the first ballot. I think he's the all-time record holder for pickoffs.

  23. Johnny Twisto Says:

    He didn't hold runners on first. If he didn't pick them off, he was not that hard to run on. Many contemporary lefties were much better at preventing steals, even if they didn't get quite as many picks.

  24. MikeD Says:

    @123, JT, I think I know what you mean there, although I've never seen stats on that before. It sounds interesting. Is there any data charts on that?

    If runners have a higher percentage of success stealing against Pettitte (not including when he picks them off), that wouldn't shock me, since any player running is doing so with of bit reckless abandon against him. It's all or nothing, hoping Petttitte doesn't throw over. That type of approach could lead to higher success rate. Yet to determine how effective Pettitte's pick-off throw is (or any pitcher) in holding runners would require a lot of different data points, showing attempted steals against pitchers overall in MLB, and pitchers overall on the NY Yankees, as well as LHP overall in MLB and overall on the Yankees compared to Pettitte, taking into the catcher. So it's not only the success rate, it's also the percentage of attempted steals by the runners. So if the success rate against a certain pitcher is higher, but the attempt rate is much lower, then the pick-off move is effective because it's eliminating attempts.

    I'm guessing someone has done this study, although surprisingly I've never seen it.

  25. Matthew Cornwell Says:

    To the question regarding the 66-50 gap in brWAR and fgWAR...

    #1. Since fangraphs has a lower replacement level, fgWAR gives Pettitte an extra 3 WAR or so right off the top.

    #2. fgWAR uses FIP, which only considers Ks, BBs, and HRs. The fact that Pettitte was very poor at preventing hits on balls in play is not factored in fgWAR, but is in brWAR.

  26. Johnny Twisto Says:

    MikeD, look here:

    These are LHP with at least 1000 IP and 25 pickoffs since 1990. Pettitte does have the most picks, but there were a lot more SBA against him than Buehrle or Rogers. If you add the picks to the CS, Pettitte gave up about one SB per 17.1 IP at a 50% success rate. Buehrle has given up one every 49.1 IP at about a 25% rate. Rogers one every 53.2 IP at 28% success. Mulholland gave up a SB every 100 IP! It's not even close. Pettitte gets the pickoffs but he has not been elite at shutting down the running game. (Good, yes.)

  27. Navajo Rug Says:

    @123, 124 and 126 . . .

    Excellent information posted there about pickoff skills vs. actually preventing runners from stealing second. Some of those statistics may be skewed by the skills of the catchers involved, so the only way to really see how good a pitcher is at preventing stolen bases is by computing their stolen base pct. and then comparing it to other pitchers who are being caught by the same catcher. In Pettitte's case, for example, we'd have to compare his numbers (runners were caught trying to steal against him about 33% of the time) to the overall numbers of his catchers. I believe Jorge Posada has thrown out almost exactly 30% of the runners trying to steal against him in his career, but I'm not sure what kind of catching Pettitte had on Houston.

    Amazing information on Terry Mulholland, too. That guy basically gave up 23 stolen bases in 15 years in the big leagues. That's an unbelievable statistic.

  28. Johnny Twisto Says:

    The years I searched cut off the beginning of Mulholland's career. He wasn't quite as amazing in the '80s. He actually gave up 35 SB in his career, one SB every 74 IP, one attempt every 30 IP.

    From 1993 on, it was 12 SB allowed in 14 seasons, one every 143 IP. That's part of why he was able to last so long.

  29. kenh Says:

    In the NHL, many prolific playoff performers have been welcomed into the HHOF. Further, these players did not necessarily have impressive regular seasons or play long enough to compile 'hall worthy" stats. As for the BBHOF, I would argue that if a player was particularly prolific in the post season, he deserves Hall recognition i.e. Andy Pettite. After all, the main idea of the game is winning the World Series, not just compiling stats. I would vote for AP to get in.

  30. John Q Says:


    It's a silly comparison to compare Rose to Bernie Williams by a 162 game average.

    Pete Rose had almost 16,000 plate appearances Bernie Williams had 9,000. Rose played until he was 46 years old and was actually a pretty mediocre/terrible player after 1979 getting 500-600 plate appearances every year. Williams was shot as a productive player at age 35 in 2004.

    For their Careers Rose had 75 career WAR and Williams had 47. Rose had a 44.9 peak (Best 7 Seasons), which is essentially Bernie Williams entire career. Rose surpassed Williams career WAR in 1973 in his 11th season.

    Williams had a peak of 37.2 WAR which is very good but he was essentially done by the age of 35.

    Rose's Career WAR (75) + Best 7 (44.9) averages out to =60

    Williams Career WAR (47) + Best 7 (37.2) average out to =42.1

    Williams was an underrated player but Rose was much better.

    Rose was one of the top 50 position players of all time while Williams is somewhere between the 150th-175th best of all time.

  31. John Q Says:

    Raines is a possible HOF from those Yankee teams. He was on the 1996 & 1998 teams.

    Boggs has already been inducted from the 1996 team.

  32. Kelly Says:

    Really? 27% of (supposedly) knowledgeable baseball fans who frequent this site think that Pettitte is HOF worthy? I am flabbergasted. I can't think of one argument "for" his induction.

  33. John Autin Says:

    I'm late to the party, and I think the statistical case has been pretty well covered (and is pretty self-evident anyway) , so I'll just mention a gut feeling:

    I can't reconcile the notion of Pettitte as a HOF-caliber pitcher with the fact that the Yankees let him go as a free agent after 2003. Pettitte was 32, coming off a 21-win campaign, and he had pitched well in the postseason that year, particularly in the WS (0.57 ERA in 2 starts, 15.2 IP). He signed with Houston for $30.5mm over 3 years. Yes, teams make mistakes, and the Yanks implicitly acknowleged they had erred by luring him back 3 years later. But I still can't help reading something into the initial snub. A team that expected to play for the championship and that had no shortage of money (their 2004 payroll was 45% higher than any other team in MLB) preferrred to go to war with a rotation of Mike Mussina, Javier Vazquez, Kevin Brown (age 39), Orlando Hernandez (coming off a year-plus absence), John Lieber (ditto), and Jose Contreras (with 9 big-league starts under his belt).

    Of course, this doesn't prove that Pettitte shouldn't get into the HOF. But it sure does feel odd.

  34. Johnny Twisto Says:

    It is believed there are family reasons why Pettitte left NY after '03.

  35. John Autin Says:

    @132, Kelly -- I voted against Pettitte for the HOF in the B-R poll, and I think the case is pretty clear. But I respectfully suggest that if, you truly "can't think of one argument 'for' his induction," then maybe you don't know quite as much about the actual standards of the Hall of Fame as you may think you know.

    Here's one argument I can make for his induction:
    Pettitte's HOF credentials are at least as good as those of Catfish Hunter, Bob Lemon, Jesse Haines, Chief Bender or Jack Chesbro.

    I don't think that's a decisive argument, but I wouldn't go out of my way to insult anyone who put it forward.

  36. John Autin Says:

    JT @134 -- I'm aware that Pettitte went to Houston by choice; the Yankees even offered him about $7mm more to stay.

    However ... As ESPN reported in its initial story of Pettitte signing with Houston:

    "[The Yankees were unusually passive [in their pursuit of Pettitte]. New York waited until the last day of its exclusive 15-day window to make an offer, and it was for $30 million over three years, including a $3 million buyout of a 2007 option."

    I was living in NYC then, and the Pettitte-NYY negotiations (or lack of same) were big news in the sports pages. I can't produce a quote, but I have a pretty strong sense that Pettitte indicated he felt slighted by the process. There were hints that the Yankee brass didn't think he would age well.

    In the end, maybe you're right that his decision came down to family. But I don't think he ever would been open to that decision had the Yankees been more aggressive in trying to keep him. And I think the Yankees' actions did at least somewhat reflect their true estimate of Pettitte's vallue.

  37. Terrence Blount Says:

    The one major stat that I question his HOF eligibility is his 3.88 career ERA, which I think is very high. I think Mussina and Schilling have a better chance.

  38. Biff Fearless Says:

    Andy Pettite is a cheater. No Hall of Fame unless the rest of the steroid gang goes in too.

  39. Navajo Rug Says:

    @ 130 . . .

    I agree that the comparison of Williams to Rose wasn't all that relevant -- for the reasons you described. Longevity does count for me, which is why I give some slack to long-time players whose numbers get kind of marginal as they age. My point was that Williams was a far better player than a lot of people give him credit for. He had a quiet demeanor and played his career in the shadows of other players who got more recognition.

    The other point I wanted to make is that despite his impressive "longevity" numbers, Pete Rose is one of the most overrated players of all time. He was the 50th best position player? When you break down his numbers you find that he was an impressive #2 hitter who didn't have much power, wasn't terribly fast, didn't play the field very well (he was an All-Star at five different positions, none of which he played very well defensively).

    In fact, the year he won the National League MVP Award (1973), I'd make the case that he was probably the fourth-best player on his own team (Johnny Bench, Tony Perez and Joe Morgan are all Hall of Famers who were in their prime years on that team).

    If Pete Rose didn't have a nickname like "Charlie Hustle" and play for great teams that got a lot of well-deserved media exposure, he would have been remembered as nothing more than a Wade Boggs who put in another five years in the league.

  40. CKS Says:

    Andy P's lack of All-Star appearances has been referenced several times previously, but consider also that in many cases, it was his own manager selecting the team!!! (This makes his lack of appearances even more damaging in my opinion).

    Likewise, his playoff record cuts both ways--he is also an all-time leader in playoff losses, playoff HR allowed, playoff hits allowed, etc...I wouldn't hold these against him, but you have to be consistent and put his 19 wins in context of the expanded format and the team he played on.

    It also hurts Pettitte that contemporaries like Glavine, Maddux and Randy Johnson all reached 300 wins--makes it harder to excuse Pettitte falling short in that category, especially given the great teams he played on.

    Ultimately, if one were to rank the top 10 pitchers in MLB each year since AP's career begin, he would probably make the list only a handful of times (confirmed by his lack of All-Star appearances and low Cy Young consideration year in and year out). A very good pitcher, not a HOFer.

  41. Rip Says:

    @ 121: I think Smoltz is pretty great too but I've got to step in on this comment:

    "I don't think I'm stretching here when I say that John Smoltz was one of the top ten players at ANY position in the last 25 years. If I were building a roster for a championship team with major leaguers who played their prime years after 1990, I'd say Smoltz would be one of my top five picks."

    I think that's a stretch. Maddux, Pedro, Johnson, Clemens, Bonds, Pujols, A-Rod, Griffey, Bagwell, Thomas, Piazza, Jeter, Rivera, Mussina and Schilling would all have pretty compelling cases, and there are probably a dozen more I've overlooked. I like Smoltz too, but to say he's a clear-cut top five player of the last 20 years is hyperbole.

  42. ACE Says:

    Andy Pettitte is not going to the HOF,...there is no possible argument based on Indiviual contribution that would support a case for his induction. Its made all the more difficult by the mear fact that so many of his peers must proceed him, who have the credentials necessary for enshrinement. The names have allready been listed,...but just to reiterate, Clemens (Yes, inspite of...) Johnson, Maddux, Martinez, Schilling, Smoltz, and Brown. What? not Glavine!,...He's probably the least deserving of this bunch, and will only make the grade because he played long enough to accumulate the counting stats necessary to get the node from voters,...the truth be told, Glavine had only a slightly better career record than AP...all said and done, Schilling will probably join Brown on the sidelines only because there is no room, otherwise he would be a lock, just bad luck, like Brown,...pitching in the same era as the others. Smoltz will get in eventually,...the other 4 are bet is that Maddux has the best chance at first ballot among voters,...though I think Clemens than Johnson have the best career stats,...Johnson edges Martinez on peak value, only because of injury time for Pedro...

  43. ACE Says: apoligies! I left out Mussina in error,...sorry Andy, more ahead of you! Mike falls in ahead of Glavine as well. Right in the mix with Brown and Smoltz,...real close. If I had to pick, it would be: Brown,Smoltz,Mussina,Glavine and Pettitte...

  44. ACE Says:

    ...I have Brown ahead of Smoltz based on career value as a starter. Smoltz has the better overall record with his 4 year relief stint included, and on that basis the BBWAA will vote him in at some point...

  45. NoChanceforPettitte Says:

    Andy Pettitte should not be in the Hall of Fame for the following reasons:
    1. Wins don't mean anything at all. The illusion over the past centuries that games should be fundamentally judged by who wins and who loses is wrong.
    2. His career run support was 5.5. Because he played on teams that were winners (and wins was previously proven to be an ineffective grounds for determining anything) we must focus on his 3.88/117 ERA/ERA+ which is significantly worse than Kevin Brown's lifetime stats.
    3. The Yankees are known as a team who throw money only at the best players in baseball. Their record and free agent moves over this time proves this. Therefore we must negate the fact that the Yankees stockpile great players and that is the reason they win (because then we would have to say that Andy Pettitte must have been a great pitcher to pitch on the Yankees).
    4. Continuing on point 3: Andy Pettitte should be held accountable for incorrectly thinking that wins is important in determining legacy. By playing in Free Agent times and time and time again selecting good teams to play for, those that would enhance his legacy, is a negative for his inclusion into the Hall of Fame. This is because:
    5. Even though he was consistently chased by those great (or on the cusp of greatness) teams in his career... that only chased the best baseball players... he is not the best, nor even close, because he never played for, or even considered playing for, a team like the Chicago Cubs or the Kansas City Royals.
    6. Post season statistics mean nothing because someone had to win the 19 games that he won and even though the teams that he won those 19 games with considered him to be a great player we HAVE to discount this because wins don't mean anything.
    7. It doesn't matter that since the beginning of time, pitchers have been known to 'let up' when a lead is firmly in hand, and lax defensive strategies (i.e., not playing the infield in when you're up 10-1) contribute to runs against. That 3.88 ERA is just too high.
    8. It also should count against a pitcher for being on a good team and then expect to win more games than a pitcher on a bad team.
    9. Andy Pettitte is therefore replaceable with any pitcher.
    10. Pitchers like Zach Greinke are the ones that truly get it. Greinke understands that a team that scores the most runs is the team more likely to win. He also understands that he can blame his lack of winning on the fact that his team sucks even though he could change his situation by going to a winning team and thus get more wins. By choosing to not even consider going to a great team is what being a great player is all about.

  46. Johnny Twisto Says:


  47. Bill Johnson Says:

    I think its a close call but I would vote him in. He was a a rock for so many years regular season and play-offs. It's ironic that he gets slammed for not being the ace in any given year (though I'm not positive that's right) and yet most of the same folks would exclude one of the true aces of the modern era- Jack Morris (ace for 3 different champions).

    I understand the pitching for good teams de-valuation argument but that should cut both ways, he was a big big reason those teams were so good. Heck even the great Bert Blyleven whom everyone loves only won 12 for the World champion 1979 ("Lumber Company") Pittsburgh Pirates.

  48. MikeD Says:

    @126, JT, thanks for the link. One of these days I'm going to learn where to find everything on B-R!

    @133, 134, I was in Chicago at that point, although I followed the Pettitte negotiations from afar. Nothing could set George Steinbrenner off more than losing in the World Series, as happened in 2003. He was heavily involved in many of the off-season moves, more so than usual, including personally courting free-agent Gary Sheffield, even though Cashman and Gene Michaels wanted Vlad Guerrero (sound familiar), while Big Stein wanted Sheffield. We know how that turned out. For whatever reason, Steinbrenner was always on the fence regarding Pettitte, since he never showed much external passion. Odd, because if Pettitte was on another team, he's exactly the kind of pitcher Steinbrenner would have gone after. A lefty, consistent winner, who pitched well in the postseason. Someone else's toy is sometimes more interesting than the one you already got. Anyway, normally the Yankees baseball people could be counted on to step in, but they also had concerns about Pettitte, although of a different type. Some were sure he was going to need elbow surgery during his next contract, so Cashman was off trying to work out a trade for his obsession Javy Vazquez, Part 1, as well as Kevin Brown. So with neither Steinbrenner pushing for Pettitte, and Cashman distracted by working out other trades, the door was left open for Houston. While I believe Pettitte's first choice was the Yankees, their lack of action was viewed as a bit hurtful by Pettitte, so with the 'Stros making a good offer and the chance to be near home, the two sides came to an a agreement. Steinbrenner did step back in during the last hours and topped the offer by the Astros, but it was too late. Pettitte had already made up his mind, and had told the Astros he'd play for them. He wasn't going back on his word, and I'm sure was still annoyed by the Yankees lack of action. (BTW The Yankees offer, while more than the Houston's, supposedly wasn't even the top offer. The Red Sox offered more.)

    Turned out the Yankees' baseball people were right about Pettitte's elbow, as he did have an operation that first season with Houston, leading to the whole HGH incident. In retrospect, both sides probably wish they could undo what they didn't do. Stay together. The Yankees would have been happy (well, sort of), to lose him for 2004 to have him back for 2005 forward.

    Red Sox fans, however, should be happy. My guess is if Pettitte had returned to the Yankees, then Clemens also would have returned to the Yankees, which means Vazquez and Brown never show up in the Bronx, and who knows what happens in 2004. Another one of those fun "what-if" scenarios.

    Most of the events from above have been reported in the media, but I weaved them together on what I believe happened in the Yankee front office. In other words, I am not saying this is exactly what happened. It's what I think happened based on what was reported then and what's been reported since. The what's been reported since part may very well include revisionism by both the Pettitte and Yankee camps, but it does seem to fit together.

    The Yankees never really found a replacement for Pettitte after 2003 until he returned in 2007. They didn't have a replacement for him when he was injured for two months last year. Pettitte's now left again, this time for good (most likely) and they still don't have a replacement for him.

  49. ACE Says:

    ...Pettitte was a money player, a stopper (whether he was the ace or not...), and would be a great fit in any rotation, someone mentioned in an earlier post...a better candidate for the Hall then a number of folks that have gone in.

    ...the unfortunate reality is that in a 30 team league there are lots of starting pitchers with near Hall ready stats. Its not his fault he played in an era with so many good ones...look how long it took Blyleven to get in,...he had to contend with the likes of Carlton, Niekro, Perry, Seaver, Jenkins and Palmer,...heck many thought Tiant had a better peak caeer!

    Bert actually had a better career value then Ryan and easily superior to Sutton's...but of course these 2 had the 'magic' 300+ career win totals!

    ...only so many votes to go around,...and for the record, Bert was deserving IMHO...back to AP...I'll miss the stare!

  50. John Q Says:

    @139 Navajo Rug,

    Rose was such an odd, unusual & unique player that its difficult to use him as a comparison player. He had such a long career and he moved around all over the diamond that again its difficult to use him as a comparison.

    He is somewhat overrated like you said. He's a top 50 player of all time but nowhere near a top 10 or 20 player he's sometimes lumped in with.

    Rose was good in his rookie year in 1963 and horrible in 1964. Rose at his peak from 1965-1976 was a great player and probably one of the top 5 players in baseball. That's the time period when he was primarily an outfielder and the Reds went to 4 WS.

    Rose was good from 1976-1979 because he could still hit but he wasn't a good fielder at 3b or 1b and he was almost 40.

    Rose from 1980-1986 was a pretty terrible player. He was essentially a full time 1b getting 3685 plate appearances and batting .274/.354/.333 with 301 RBI, 414 runs scored, 400 runs created, and 6 Home Runs!!! Essentially that's like having Luis Castillo (2004-2010) being your full time 1b for 6 1/2 years. He was 43/72 in stolen base attempts & grounded into 67 double plays. And on top of that Rose was between the ages of 39-45 so he couldn't really play defense at first either.

    Rose at his best was an extremely durable player that excelled at getting on base, getting hits, getting doubles, batting average, getting on base and scoring runs. Like I said he was probably one of the top five players in baseball from 1965-1976. He couldn't really play defense in the infield but wasn't bad in the outfield.

    Here are some of his top tens:

    18 times top ten in Times on Base
    17 times top ten in hits
    15 times top ten in runs scored
    15 times top ten in doubles
    13 times top ten in Batting Average
    14 times top ten in Runs Created

    My problem with Rose is that he played about 5-6 years too long.

    He's kind of like a much more durable version of Paul Molitor or Tim Raines that had a longer peak.

  51. JMac Says:

    I would put Pettitte in. Career regular season and postseason numbers are too weighty to ignore. Additionally, I find his membership in the "W >= L+100" club compelling.

    Correction on Bob Caruthers --> He did play 10 seasons in the major leagues (as they are conventionally defined. He only pitched in 9 of them, so if you don't scroll down to his (very impressive) batting statistics, you miss that. Caruthers, with apologies to Wes Ferrell, was the best hitting pitcher not named Ruth of all time.

  52. John Autin Says:

    @145, NoChance... --

    You had a nice little facetious thing going there, but you spoiled it with #7: "It doesn't matter that since the beginning of time, pitchers have been known to 'let up' when a lead is firmly in hand, and lax defensive strategies (i.e., not playing the infield in when you're up 10-1) contribute to runs against."

    I challenge you to prove any such pattern in Pettitte's record.

    Until you do, your backhanded defense of Pettitte is nothing but hot air.

    And by the way, the idea of Pettitte "letting up" with a comfortable lead goes completely against his image.

  53. John Autin Says:

    Following up on #145 & my #152: In 2003, Pettitte went 21-8 with a 4.02 ERA and a tasty run support of 6.88 R/G. Let's look for signs that he "let up" with a comfortable lead:

    1. In his 21 wins, Pettitte averaged 6.8 IP per game, with zero complete games. That looks like strike one to me -- unless someone thinks it's likely (or appropriate) to start "letting up" in the 5th & 6th innings.

    2. In his 8 losses (no letting up here), Pettitte got torched like a mob-owned restaurant, allowing 47 runs in 39.2 IP, a rate of 10.66 runs per 9 IP.

    3. How did his performance vary according to his run support?
    -- When the Yanks scored 0-2 runs (5 games), Pettitte had a 4.04 ERA and 0-4 record.
    -- When the Yanks scored 3-5 runs (8 games), Pettitte had a 4.88 ERA and 4-2 record.
    -- When the Yanks scored 6+ runs (20 games), Pettitte had a 3.68 ERA and 17-2 record.

    That pattern is the opposite of "pitching to the score": When given 3-5 runs -- i.e., a chance to win, but a strong incentive to keep up the intensity -- Pettitte's ERA was 1.20 higher than when he was given 6+ runs.

    The Yankees scored 10 runs or more in 8 of Pettitte's starts. He went 7-0 with a no-decision. These are the games where you would expect to find the clearest evidence of "pitching to the score," if such evidence existed; you would expect to find Pettitte winning a few of these games with lines like 6 IP, 5 ER. But no; his IP/ER lines for these 7 wins are: 6/1, 6/2, 7/0, 7/2, 5/0, 7.2/2, and 7/3. Combined: 10 ER in 45.2 IP, a 1.97 ERA. In 2003, Pettitte did his best work in blowouts.

  54. NoChanceforPettitte Says:

    1. Let's assume for a minute that a baseball season is a 'long haul'. Let's even assume that it's 162 games long, but closer to 180 if you factor in post season. I know I should frame my argument in reality, but bear with me.
    2. Let's assume you're a pitcher for a great hitting team and one with the best closer of all time. Again, this isn't the case with Pettitte, but hear me out.
    3. Now... if you pitched for a great hitting team that is more likely to have big innings than a weak hitting team are you more or less worried about an opponent scoring a run (or even 4) on you?
    4. If your team regularly scores 5-6 runs in not only your starts, but your other pitchers' starts as well, are you really going to care if you give up 3-4 runs in a game?
    5. Since armchair statisticians and general managers and pretty much everyone else 'plays' percentages, is it too possible that an individual pitcher or player is also going play those percentages?
    6. If yes, then it is not beyond reality to consider that a pitcher is going to think, "Hey, the runners on first and second with no outs really don't mean as much when you have a lineup like the Yankees."
    7. Recently the Yankees (and Red Sox for that matter) have consistently put out a product that is, without a doubt, considered great. They consistently add great players to their team and win with those players.
    8. If a team that prides itself on greatness and qualifies its greatness by wins, losses and championship, is it not conceivable that they would understand greatness in an individual?
    9. Andy Pettitte's job as a Yankee (and Astro) was not to have the best ERA or the most SO/9. His job was to win games.
    10. I don't think it's wrong, by any stretch to say: Andy Pettitte is a Hall of Famer. Again, his job was to win games. That's it. He did his job and he did it effectively.

  55. Mike Says:

    Is WPA park-adjusted?

  56. Johnny Twisto Says:

    Mike, yes.

  57. John Autin Says:

    @154, NoChance... --

    I'm afraid I don't get what you're trying to say about Pettitte now. Previously, you had said that pitchers are known to "let up" with a comfortable lead, clearly implying that this phenomenon had something to do with Pettitte's modest (for a HOF candidate) 117 ERA+.

    So, I broke down his 2003 season -- the most representative one in his career in terms of "great record with a so-so ERA." -- and, I think, showed convincingly that there was no significant evidence of that sort of let-up; that, in fact, when given a big lead, Pettitte tended to hold the opposition to very few runs.

    Now you seem to be taking a different tack. You seem to be saying that, since Pettitte could reasonably expect the Yankees to score 5-6 runs per game, he started the game with the modest goal of holding the opponent under 5 runs.

    For the sake of argument, let's say this is true. How does that in any distinguish Pettitte from some other contemporary Yankee pitchers whom you presumably consider less talented (or at least less HOF-worthy) than Pettitte? For example, David Wells. His career stats are fairly similar to Pettitte's; Andy has him by a little bit in ERA and W%, but Wells pitched about 400 more innings. On the surface, one might conclude that Pettitte had a slightly better career.

    But look at Wells's record with the Yankees: 68 wins in 123 starts (won 55% of starts), 28 losses, .708 W%, 3.90 ERA, 114 ERA+, 6.9 IP per start.

    Pettitte with the Yankees: 202 wins in 396 starts (won 51% of starts), 112 losses, 202 wins, .643 W%, 3.98 ERA, 115 ERA+, 6.4 IP per start.

    Wells clearly has better rates as a Yankee. To me, the only reason that Pettitte gets serious consideration for the HOF, while Wells does not, is that Pettitte had the good fortune to spend the bulk of his career with the Yankees.

    You asked: "If your team regularly scores 5-6 runs in not only your starts, but your other pitchers' starts as well, are you really going to care if you give up 3-4 runs in a game?" Which sounds to me like you're saying, Pettitte knew he didn't have to pitch great to win, so he didn't try to pitch great, and that's why he didn't pitch great.

    That is a hell of a hook on which to hang a HOF argument.

  58. John Autin Says:

    Records with the Yankees of some Pettitte contemporaries:

    Dwight Gooden -- 24-14 (.632), 103 ERA+.
    Kenny Rogers -- 18-15 (.545), 93 ERA+.
    David Wells -- 68-28 (.708), 114 ERA+.
    Orlando Hernandez -- 61-40 (.604), 116 ERA+.
    Hideki Irabu -- 25-20 (.556), 95 ERA+.
    Ramiro Mendoza (as a SP) -- 23-19 (.548), 5.09 ERA.
    Roger Clemens -- 83-42 (.664), 114 ERA+.
    David Cone -- 64-40 (.615), 119 ERA+.
    Mike Mussina -- 123-72 (.631), 115 ERA+.
    Jeff Weaver -- 12-12 (.500), 83 ERA+.
    Jose Contreras -- 15-7 (.682), 93 ERA+.
    Javier Vazquez -- 24-20 (.545), 86 ERA+
    Jon Lieber -- 14-8 (.636), 104 ERA+.
    Randy Johnson -- 34-19 (.642), 100 ERA+.
    Chien-Ming Wang -- 55-26 (.676), 108 ERA+.
    Jaret Wright -- 16-12 (.571), 89 ERA+.
    Kevin Brown -- 14-13 (.519), 89 ERA+.
    Carl Pavano -- 9-8 (.529), 87 ERA+.
    Shawn Chacon -- 12-6 (.667), 93 ERA+.
    Cory Lidle -- 4-3 (.571), 88 ERA+.
    Aaron Small -- 10-3 (.769), 94 ERA+.
    Ted Lilly -- 8-12 (.400), 97 ERA+.
    Phil Hughes (as a SP) -- 25-17 (.595), 4.68 ERA.
    Sidney Ponson -- 4-5 (.444), 68 ERA+
    Joba Chamberlain (as a SP) -- 12-7 (.632), 4.18 ERA.
    A.J. Burnett -- 23-24 (.489) 96 ERA+.
    C.C. Sabathia -- 40-15 (.727), 136 ERA+.

    I've covered 1996-2009, and I grow weary. If I omitted anyone, it was an oversight, but I'm pretty sure I got everyone who made at least 20 starts for the Yankees.

    What do we see here? With very few exceptions, the following things are true of Yankee SPs in this period:
    -- If you pitched VERY WELL (ERA+ over 130), you got a fabulous W% (Sabathia).
    -- If you pitched FAIRLY WELL (ERA+ from 105-120), you got a very good W% ranging from .604 to .708 (Cone, Clemens, Wells, Wang, El Duque, Mussina).
    -- If you were ROUGHLY AVERAGE (ERA+ from 93-104), your W% was still quite likely .595 or higher (Hughes, Gooden, Contreras, Lieber, Johnson, Joba, Chacon, Small all at .595 and up; Rogers and Irabu around .550; Burnett just below .500; only Lilly had a notably losing record).
    -- If you were BELOW AVERAGE (ERA+ of 84-92, your W% was still between .519 and .571 (Mendoza, Vazquez, Wright, Brown, Pavano, Lidle).
    -- If you were BAD (ERA+ of 83 or below), your W% was still likely to be around .500 (Weaver & Ponson combined went 16-17).

    When you look at all these records, it becomes absurd to point to Pettitte's high W% as evidence of great performance.

  59. Michael E Sullivan Says:

    JA@157: "Wells clearly has better rates as a Yankee. To me, the only reason that Pettitte gets serious consideration for the HOF, while Wells does not, is that Pettitte had the good fortune to spend the bulk of his career with the Yankees."

    To be fair, Wells only played 4 years with the Yankees, and all 4 were in his prime. In fact, three of his 4 years with the yankees were his first, third and fourth best seasons WAR-wise, and the fourth was above his average.

    That said, I agree generally that these guys are pretty close, and if Wells had had the run support and relief backup that Pettitte enjoyed, his record would look similar and he'd get a similar amount of HoF play. Also, nice research at 158, once again pretty much demolishing the idea that win% can be used the way some people want to use it.

  60. Mike Felber Says:

    Clearly Pettitte was a good pitcher who benefited greatly from his team contexts. His actual pitching contributions in career, peak, & post season performance do not justify the HOF. Yes, he would have needed 3 or more quite good years to make a good case.

    He just did not add enough value separated from his run support context, in his best years OR in longevity, to put him up there with Smoltz, Mussina, Schilling, or Brown. He may eventually get in when his actual lack of dominance fades from memory, & only his W-L record stands out.

    Possibly. But he is not a borderline case re: being deserving. He is a no go.

  61. Pat Says:

    @114: StephenH, no disrespect intended. What I meant was there career WAR totals were well behind Bench, Berra, Fisk and, iirc, Carter, who represented the first tier in terms of career WAR totals. I did not mean to imply they were not great players or worthy HOF.

  62. John Autin Says:

    Michael E. Sullivan @159 -- Fair point re: Wells's limited tenure with the Yankees, which also came during what appears to be his later-than-usual "prime" period.

    On the other hand, one could argue that Wells lost a few prime seasons to the fact that Toronto used him in relief almost exclusively for his first 3 seasons, and more or less as a swing-man for 3 years after that. He didn't get 30 starts in a season until he was 30 years old. If Wells had had the good luck to come up with the Yankees in 1995, step right into the rotation and stay there for his whole career, I think he would have gotten 280-300 wins.

  63. NoChanceforPettitte Says:

    1. You have the luxury of buying any car you want.
    2. Because you have this luxury you choose to buy a whole ****load of cars to try out.
    3. You buy a Maybach (Randy Johnson); a Mercedes (Andy Pettitte); a Ford Taurus (Jaret Wright); a DeLorean (Carl Pavano); etc., etc.
    4. At the end of a period of time you find that the car you kept going back to when you had the luxury of having any car you wanted was the Mercedes.
    5. Phil Jackson is considered to be one of the best NBA coaches ever yet the knock on him is that he only coaches good teams and has never coached a developing or rebuilding team. This argument is fine, but you cannot change the fact that he won. Essentially he wins with established teams.
    6. Baseball is a team sport where several parts make up a winning team. The argument Yankees offense was so good (that 'tasty run support') that 'anyone' with an ERA+ of 117 could win flies only halfway.
    7. If it was that easy to win pitching with that offense behind you, and the parts so replaceable, then why was Pettitte not replaced? Why did the Yankees, the best team (whether you like them or not) continue to employ him? It cannot be loyalty, because post 158 proves that the Yankees brought in multiple pitchers, sometimes on a whim.
    8. Using Zach Greinke as an example: Zach Greinke has a smaller chance of being on a championship team consistently then that of a Yankee pitcher. His secondary, non-Wins statistics will therefore need to be better than a Yankee because he has less of a chance of run support and thus Wins.
    9. You cannot judge how well Zach Greinke would do as a Yankee because he WON'T play for the Yankees. He's scared of big cities and crowds or something.
    10. To be fair, you can't judge how well or how poorly Andy Pettitte would have performed for a lesser team than the Yankees. You can assume that he would be about average, but that assumption does not take into account critical factors.
    11. The goal of team sports is to win championships. If you put yourself in the position of lessening your chances of winning, by going to a mediocre team, or being mediocre then it has to count against you.
    12. If the above is true, then it has to count to your benefit if you perform well for a winning team.
    13. In the days of the reserve clause you can easily and correctly posit the argument that a player couldn't control wins because they couldn't control the team they were on. You can't make that argument in non-collusion free agent times.
    14. If you want to hold it against Pettitte for being born with baseball's equivalent of a silver spoon, that is fine.
    15. The argument about pitching to score or pitching to odds is an easy one: If you love your job and your boss and your boss loves you and allows you to take risks because the end result is a 'win' for the company are you more or less likely to take chances (even though you are drastically increasing your chance of errors)? Are you more or less likely to not worry about giving up a big inning because you have the Yankees offense behind you?
    16. Recent Yankee lore is filled with good and great pitchers who should have won more games than they did or been better than they were (R. Johnson, K. Brown immediately come to mind). They didn't. They were abject failures or mediocre as Yankees.
    17. You can't hold it against Pettitte for being a great Yankee pitcher (as judged by how the Yankees judge themselves - wins and losses) when history shows that great pitchers are not always great Yankees and that the Yankees have a revolving free agent pitcher history.

  64. Michael E Sullivan Says:

    "7. If it was that easy to win pitching with that offense behind you, and the parts so replaceable, then why was Pettitte not replaced? Why did the Yankees, the best team (whether you like them or not) continue to employ him? It cannot be loyalty, because post 158 proves that the Yankees brought in multiple pitchers, sometimes on a whim."

    Who says that a career ERA+ 117 pitcher is an easily replaceable part? Few teams in major league history have been able to assemble a staff with 4 guys who pitch that well even for a single year. So any pitcher *expected* to do that well on average is a pitcher every single team wants on their staff, and anyone who wants to assemble a good pitching staff will be willing to pay them a lot of money.

    The point of the win% with the yankees breakdown is to show that even an average pitcher would have a pretty decent win% playing with the yankees of 1995-2010, and that most of the solidly above average pitchers they had there did about as well as Andy.

    In other words, the win% he had, given the teams he played on, does not represent any kind of evidence that he was better than his ERA+/WAR/FIP suggest that he was. Other players with a similar ERA+/WAR/FIP profile would expect to (and when the Yankees had them, did) win about as often. What those stats suggest is that he was quite good, but never dominant and without enough career length to make up for never being dominant.

  65. John Autin Says:

    @163, NoChance... said: "If it was that easy to win pitching with that offense behind you, and the parts so replaceable, then why was Pettitte not replaced? Why did the Yankees ... continue to employ him?" (emphasis added)

    Well, it seems like we've come full circle now. As I said in my first post on this thread (@133), "I can't reconcile the notion of Pettitte as a HOF-caliber pitcher with the fact that the Yankees let him go as a free agent after 2003."

    So we're asking the same question -- but I'm focusing on his departure, you on the fact that he spent most of his career here.

    As to your point #9 (that Zack Greinke will never play for the Yankees), wow, that sure sounds like a desperation ploy -- you pick the one guy in baseball known to have a social anxiety disorder, and try to use him to bolster Pettitte's case for greatness? I'm surprised you didn't bring up Ed Whitson as another example of that easy-to-spot breed of pitcher who is too yellow-bellied to cut it in the big city.

    Of course, many people had similar qualms about Mike Mussina when he first joined the Yanks, since he's intensely private and prefers a quiet rural lifestyle. But somehow, Mussina gutted out a .631 W% in his Yankee career.

    I was once determined to worship Jack Morris, and I clung to every shred of evidence I could scrounge up that suggested he was a HOF-worthy pitcher. Eventually, I had to acknowledge the big statistical picture; had to recognize that memory is selective, and reputations are self-reinforcing. Yeah, Morris was a tough bird and a good pitcher for a lotta years. But if I need to win a game to save my life, Jack's taking a back seat to Felix Hernandez or Zack Greinke.

  66. NoChanceforPettitte Says:

    The Yankees did not let Pettitte go after the 2003 season. Pettitte left the Yankees to be closer to home. It is completely different to leave on your own volition as opposed to not being wanted.

    I am not saying that Pettitte was better than his statistics indicate. I am saying that the circumstances under which Pettitte pitched and who he pitched for and how long he pitched for cannot be ignored.

    Since you failed to answer the question (or even attempt to): Why did the Yankees continually employ Pettitte, let's try this one:

    7th game of the WS, you have to pick between Sandy Koufax or Whitey Ford to start, who do you start?

    Finally, If you were the GM of the NY Yankees or Boston Red Sox or Los Angeles Dodgers or the other 5 teams he won't pitch for and you picked Zack Greinke to win a game to save your life you would be dead. Greinke will not pitch for those teams. You cannot pretend that he would.

  67. Matthew Cornwell Says:

    Glavine only slightly better than Pettitte?

    WAR has Glavine up 72 to 50

    Top 5 WAR seasons has Glavine up 31.6 to 25.7

    6+ WAR seasons: Glavine 3 to Pettitte 1
    5+ WAR seasons: Glavine 5 to Pettitte 3
    4+ WAR Seasons: Glavine 7 to Pettitte 3
    3+ WAR seasons: Glavine 12 to Pettitte 7

    Peak-adjusted WAR has Glavine up 94 to 68
    Peak weighted WAR has Glavine up 107 to 65

    Despite W-L record, Glavine's postseason ERA relative to regular season was much better than Pettittes - 25% better to 5% better.

  68. Mike Felber Says:

    The answer has been clearly provided; the yanks employed Pettitte because he was a good & consistent pitcher. That does not bridge the gap between that good value & HOF career & peak value.

    I disagree strongly that any player should be judged based in any part based upon how good the team he is on is. Even if players could control or predict perfectly how good a team will be, how prospects will pan out, which players will shine, which will fade or be injured, what decision management will make-& they can only try to do these uncertain things-it says nothing about a player's skills that he "chooses" to be on a better team.

    What he does to add victories is relevant. Not whatever combination of shrewdness, luck, or win-lust that gets you on better teams. Teams are rewarded plenty for their success, & player benefit in myriad ways. Historically being on better teams tends to get guys exaggerated consideration for awards that should be individual, just having great line ups & parks inflating context dependent #s like RBIs & runs.

    i admire a dude more for not just signing up for the best win prospects & most money every time. That does not reflect better on your abilities, toughness, or values. it might be perfectly OK, but you cannot tell me that someone who is loyal to individuals, a home team, a favorite city, a Philosophy of an organization, etc., & thus chooses these things over just where he can 'get' the most wins, money, or glory deserves more credit or praise than someone motivated by different, often more ennobled & mature, motivations.

  69. Matthew Cornwell Says:

    Not trying to hijack the thread - but as the comparison of Pettitte to Glavine has been made, it is somewhat relevant:

    Look at how Glavine ranks all-time in a myriad of advanced stats:

    Win Shares: 31st
    Win Shares Above Bench: 24th
    BR's WAR: 26th
    Fangraphs WAR: 8th in the last 30 years
    BPs WARP3: 18th
    Wins Above Teamates: 16th
    Adjusted Pit. Wins: 25th (not park, batting, or defense-support adjusted)
    Peak-weighted WAR: 37th
    Peak-adjusted WAR : 28th
    Win Probability Added: 15th since 1950 (not defensive support or batting adjusted)

    Glavine had an 8 year stretch with 42+ WAR...or 3 more than Jack Morris's career total. Glavine had a 10 year stretch with 50+ WAR from 1991-2000...or Andy Pettitte's 16 year total.. No one will confuse him for Pedro, but to infer that he is a compiler is erroneous to say the least.

  70. NoChanceforPettitte Says:

    I suggest, if you haven't already, reading this article/blog:

    In order for one to say that Tom Glavine is not a Hall of Famer, one must participate in an endless paradoxical monologue/discussion that ends with no one being in the Hall of Fame.

    Are you saying that you can't judge a player positively when he plays for a winning team, but you can judge a positively player if he is loyal to a mediocre one? As far as I know there is not a park adjusted metric for loyalty, maturity, commitment to an organization or pluckiness.

    Of course, historically, players for great organizations get more consideration for awards and honors than players for bad, mediocre or inconsistent organizations. This is because there is a need to define what makes a team great and it will always go back to the players. Statistics assist in defining an individual player's role in that greatness... otherwise it would be a lottery and Miguel Cairo may be a Hall of Famer.

    If you take a route that portends to purely looks at numbers-- and thus look at performance only in the bubble of those numbers-- then outside factors cannot influence you at all. You have to admit that factors that affect individuals in all forms of daily life (comfort, contentedness, fear, death, disease, etc.) are not relevant in a Hall of Fame discussion.

    You can't say:
    1. How good could David Clyde have been if Bob Short didn't insist upon him pitching an MLB game directly out of high school? Based on statistics that doesn't matter.
    2. What would Kirby Puckett's career look like if he wasn't physically forced into an early retirement?
    3. Were catchers less likely to block the plate on Pete Rose after he destroyed Ray Fosse's shoulder?
    4. How many wins would Andy Pettitte have if we played his whole career with the Royals?
    5. I would start Sandy Koufax over Whitey Ford if I had one game to win.
    6. This manager is a Hall of Fame manager.

    Now, you can say:
    1. Andy Pettitte would've had a 117 ERA+ no matter where he played. After all the team, the players behind him, his cleft chin have no impact on such silly things. A 117 ERA+ for the Yankees is the same as a 117+ for the Royals.
    2. If the year was 1961 and I had to choose between Dick Donovan and Whitey Ford to win a game, I would start Dick Donovan.
    3. In order to be in the Hall of Fame, you have to meet these metrics: A, B, C.

    The argument for Pettitte does take into effect outside factors, but it does not employ mysticism. It is a plausible statement that 240 lifetimes Wins (19-10 in the post season) does not happen by accident. If outside factors don't exist (and I mean those that exist on the field, but not in box scores (not guarding the lines, playing infield in at certain times) or in the context of the team (that they score a s***load of runs) Zack Greinke would have won the Cy Young two years ago playing for a team that in reality he wouldn't have played for.

  71. ACE Says:

    @169 ...since I made the original reference as to Glavine having an only slightly better career value then AP, is a brief analysis:

    Glavine played in 20 seasons in which he started at least 20 games (a rough qualifier as a starting pitcher)...Pettitte started 15 seasons

    The average WAR per season for both: (Sean Smith version Baseball -Reference)...

    Glavine 3.4
    Pettitte 3.3

    ...WAR accounts for run support so we're good there. Both pitchers played for arguably 2 of the best franchises of the time, its a wash by any measure in that respect...

    adjusted ERA over the afore mentioned campaigns:

    Glavine 118+
    Pettitte 117+

    Win Shares,...and here is where Tom has a slightly better edge...

    Avg WS's per season:

    Glavine 15.65
    Pettitte 13.60

    ...again the real difference between the 2 (at least in the eyes of voters) is longevity. In other words if Andy had played 5 more seasons averaging 13 wins per season, he would have the same career win total as Tom,...meaning over the 'magic' 300+ ...all said AP's accumulated counting stats are not good enough for the Hall (nor was his individual contribution...),...Glavine's counting stats are, and that's why he is going to the HOF (in spite of his individual contibution, or lack there of in relation to his peers). lets be clear...longevity, especially when its above league average performance is intrinsically valuable to a team,...just shouldn't be the sole measure as to whether some one is voted in or not...

    ...and the point being is that the HOF is less an objective measure of greatness,...more a subjective measure based on a lot of things that have nothing to do with individual's contribution to their respective teams' success.

    ...that said, we shouldn't be to hard on the voters of the past because they did not have the benefit of the knowledge we have today to assess objective measures of performance,...which makes it all the more mystifying that voters of today will not take more advantage of the opportunity to apply the best tools available to assess individual performance.

    Seriously! Kevin Brown was dropped from the ballot this year. He failed to garner the minimum 5% from voters!!!???? is that possible?

    ...a case in point is the comparison between Glavine and Mussina...

    Mike 17/4.2/123+/15.76
    Tom 20/3.2/118+/15.65

    ...if Mussina goes in ahead of, or at least with Glavine, faith is restored!

    will either scenario happen?...sadly, not very probable,..though hope springs eternal

  72. ACE Says:

    ...forgot to include the line for Brown...


  73. Kevin Brown's Brain Cell Says:

    I hate to hijack this post, but saw my name earlier and see it quite often and had to jump in. I appreciate the support and I agree with you all when you agree that I am one of the greatest pitchers of all time.

    I would say that if I had to do it over again I wouldn't have had those PEDs Fed Exed to my house...

    I also would have tried not to be a clubhouse cancer... whatever that means. My career WAR was 64.8. My teammates, managers, general managers, coaches, fans may not have liked me personally, but they should've liked my tasty 64.8 WAR.

    There was no reason for me to be better in the post season because as you guys and gals all recognize that such things are not important. My performance in Game 7 of that historic collapse of the 2004 ALCS is something I actually got over in the shower in inning four of that game. I appreciate you guys realizing how unimportant my complete disaster of a start that was too.

    I also should not have pulled that gun on my neighbor a few years back.

    I also think it's weird that when Marvin Miller didn't get into the Hall of Fame a whole truckload of people came rushing out crying injustice. When I didn't even get 5% of the vote not one ex-teammate, coach, GM or writer cried injustice. I guess everyone was on vacation or something that day.

    Anyway, I'd like to thank you all for your support.


  74. Matthew Cornwell Says:

    But Glavine's value is not only longevity - he posted a 10 year stretch of WAR over 50. That is a solid, middle of-the-road HOF peak.

    Compare top 5 WARs to those peers that he can't hold a candle too:

    Mussina: 30.6
    Schilling; 31.7
    Brown: 33.2
    Smoltz: 26.2
    Glavine: 31.6
    Pettitte: 25.7

    Note- these numbers do reflect offensive WAR too, but outside of Pettitte and Mussina, almost all of the seasons represented by Schilling, Glavine, Smoltz, and Brown were NL seasons.

    Lack of individual accomplishments? Not quite.

    For the record, I agree that Mussina and Schilling are better and Brown is right there with Glavine.

  75. Matthew Cornwell Says:

    Even if I make the mistake of pretending that Glavine was an average hitter that wasn't tons better than most every pitcher in his era and give him zero batting WAR, his 5-year peak WAR was still 28. More than Smoltz, Pettitte, and just a hair behind Mussina.

    Did I mention:

    6+ WAR seasons: Glavine 3 to Pettitte 1
    5+ WAR seasons: Glavine 5 to Pettitte 3
    4+ WAR Seasons: Glavine 7 to Pettitte 3
    3+ WAR seasons: Glavine 12 to Pettitte 7

    PEAK-adjusted WAR has Glavine up 94 to 68 (37th all time)
    PEAK-weighted WAR has Glavine up 107 to 65 (28th all time)

  76. John Autin Says:

    @166, NoChance... -- I assumed the question was rhetorical ("Why did the Yankees continually employ Pettitte?"), since no one would deny that he was a consistently good pitcher for a long time. But does that mean that every pitcher the Yankees employed for a long time during their winning years should be in the HOF? Because if that's not the point of the question, I don't know what it could possibly be.

    Your other question (Koufax or Ford for a WS game 7) is a no-brainer. Give me the guy with the career 0.95 WS ERA, who beat Ford twice in the '63 sweep.

  77. John Autin Says:

    NoChance -- What is it with you and Zack Greinke, exactly? Once again, I have to ask why you focus on the one pitcher currently in MLB who is widely known to have suffered from social anxiety disorder, and why it is that whatever you think of Greinke has any bearing on Pettitte's HOF credentials.

  78. Mike Felber Says:

    @170. I said nothing like what you are wondering about.

    Rather than denying credit for loyalty to any team, I merely rebuffed the absurd notion that a player should get more credit for staying with, or transferring to, a better one. I also did not attempt to give HOF credit for the character issues I described as honorable. You are conflating two separate points. I just described what is more laudable & honorable-which i explicitly said does not preclude loyalty to a great team at all, but I celebrate loyalty to principles involving others-City, Philosophical paradigm, beloved individuals-above merely things that benefit the self & brittle Ego: glory, wins, & money.

    Players sometimes get award & individual credit BEYOND what they contributed to a team, because the team is better. This is absurdly easy to show, & glaring examples usually involve misunderstandings of how influenced by context many traditional stats are.

    I never said at relevant stats: but that they are the right things to evaluate when deciding how good someone is or if the deserve the HOF. And character is relevant, to a degree though secondary to performance, as it impacts baseball. An injury shortened career we should not credit, but we can for fun, or to evaluate how good someone is, compare who would be better under the same or neutral conditions.

    I think you are eliding the truth, or being deliberately general, re: your final statement about Pettitte & his career accomplishments. Nobody said that the results were by accident, & everyone said he was a consistently good pitcher. But a 117 ERA + over the length of his career does not give a 1st glance assumption of HOF worthiness. Looking at any measure of peak value combined with his career value shows him to be not standard HOF material. Small point: I wonder if he benefited more from defenses than an average pitcher, FIP likely would show some effect here.

    But unarguably ANY pitcher on his teams would do significantly better than what their neutralized stats would show. I like Pettitte, but with his decent but not HOF worthy peak value, he would have had to be quite good for a few more years to fairly warrant HOF placement.

  79. JMac Says:

    @178: "Small point: I wonder if he benefited more from defenses than an average pitcher, FIP likely would show some effect here."

    I'll leave the FIP figuring to others, but just going off one's eyes and players' reputation, Pettitte has had below average defensive help throughout most of his career, especially in the decade of the aughts (i.e. 2001-2010).

    In the late 1990's when the Torre Yankees were at the height of their powers, the defenses were actually rather strong. Bernie was near the height of his powers in CF, Jeter was playing a pretty strong SS then, and the team had Gold Glovers or nearly so at C (Girardi), 1b (Mattingly & Tino), 3b (Brosius), and RF (O'Neill). The only weak links were a rotating cast of fill-ins in LF and Knoblauch's nervous breakdown at 2b.

    But for the last decade, the Yankees have had mostly below average defense at nearly every position! They've overcome this with fantastic production on the mound and at the plate. These Yankee teams had consistently below average defense @ C (Posada); 1b (Giambi...Tex has been excellent, but just the last couple seasons); 2b (Soriano was a notorious butcher; early Cano was very erratic); SS (the steady decline in Jeter's range accelerated throughout the decade; it's a little overblown, but it's there); 3b (good early with Ventura, but ARod has never really taken to 3b); and CF (Bernie's range declined and his arm went from ordinary to laughable; the same thing happened to Damon; Melky just seemed good by comparison; I suppose Granderson is OK). At the corner OF positions they were regularly staffed with offense-first players (appropriately).

    Especially in the last decade, I would wager Pettitte was successful in spite of his defenses, not because of them.

  80. Matthew Cornwell Says:


    If we like to break down WAR per season,

    Pettitte played 16 seasons. If we took Glavine's top 16 seasons, he leads Pettitte

    4.1 WAR to 3.3 WAR per season.

    Glavine was an above replacement level pitcher the other 6 seasons, so what we have is Glavine who was .8 WAR per season better over the span of he # of years they shared with Glavine putting up another 6 seasons of above-replacement play.

  81. NoChanceforPettitte Says:

    I understand that any debilitating disorder is a serious thing whether physical or emotional. My discussing Greinke is valid though. Greinke demanded a trade from the Royals this year because they failed to put together a foundation for future winning. His point is certainly valid and almost inarguably true. So... clearly, in reality, pitchers put a great emphasis on team wins. However, in Greinke's case, one can't argue that he would be much better as a Yankee or a Red Sox or a Dodger because of available evidence (i.e., that he refused to pitch for those teams). The argument against Pettitte is somewhat similar (though, I admit not completely).

    To blindly take Pettitte's numbers as a case for his effectiveness or ineffectiveness playing for an inferior team or in neutralized conditions is not possible. We want it to be- everyone does- but it is not. Greinke unfortunately highlights this.

    There are factors in baseball that statistics do not point out and their are weights and measures and odds and gut feelings that are employed in an individual game countless times that add up over time.

    To illustrate: Sandy Koufax, at his peak was one of the great left handed pitchers of all time (based on almost every conceivable measure). If the bases are loaded, with 2 outs, in the 7th inning of a 0-0 game and Sandy Koufax is due up... do you pull Sandy Koufax for a pinch hitter? When weighing this decision you have a lot of information available to you: Koufax was a horrible, dreadful hitter so your odds of scoring - that increase your chances of winning obviously are limited. But, it's Sandy-Freakin-Koufax so the odds of him preventing scoring opportunities in future innings are greater than that of Joe Roebuck or whomever... maybe the middle of the order is coming up in the 8th... etc., etc.

    Now, if you choose to let Koufax hit, the pitcher facing him has roughly a 90% chance of improving his 'clutch' statistics.

    It's not inconceivable to say that an individual player is at the mercy of the overall odds of a team winning. It's not inconceivable to say that Pettitte's statistics as a Yankee were deflated because the whole of the team's offense was outstanding. A run in the third inning or even the 7th or 8th against the Yankees means a lot less than a run against the 1908 White Sox in a similar situation. These situations add up over the period of a season and definitely over a period of a career.

    The information about Greinke, whether correctly or incorrectly exposed to the public, provides an extreme context to Pettitte, but it can't be ignored. He is unable or unwilling to pitch for the Yankees therefore we cannot, based on his WAR/ERA+/etc. automatically give him 275 career wins if we replaced him with Pettitte. We therefore cannot automatically give Pettitte 152 wins if he pitched for the Royals.

    At the end of Pettitte's career one has an outstanding win percentage (both in the playoffs and regular season), very good analytic numbers and so-so counting stats to consider. To ignore the context of the team he played for, and what a run or hit allowed meant to that/those team(s) is absolute ignorance. With Pettitte you are not dealing with a small sample size. You are dealing with a player who's normalized or neutralized statistics suggest a far smaller winning percentage than his actual winning percentage dictates.

    Now, I will say that you can argue Pettitte's place in history against his team. Not individual seasons of rent-a-players, but based on the average performance of a teammate in that same season.

    Over his career, his teammates who were also starting pitchers had a no decision percentage of 37.3%. Pettitte: 21.5%.

    The winning percentage of his teammates over this time was 59.1%. Pettitte: 63.6%

    Pettitte finished with a 239-137 record as a starter.
    Pettitte's teammates, who also started, would be expected to be, based on No Decision% and their win percentage 174-126.

    That leaves 76 additional expected decisions for a bullpen that averaged a 57.7% winning percentage overtime.

    Yes, this is a modified Wins Above Team metric, but I don't think it is easily passed off as a fluke and not indicative of Pettitte's overall contribution.

  82. John Autin Says:

    NoChance... @181 -- I'm starting to think one of our fundamental differences is this:

    You seem to think that a large percentage of talented pitchers would not thrive under the pressure of pitching for the Yankees in a time where they expect to reach the WS every year. I think that percentage, while not zero, is much smaller.

    I'm sure you can cite instances of pitchers who were successful elsewhere, but more or less flopped in the Bronx. I would counter that none of those pitchers suggested HOF-caliber talent before reaching NY (with the possible exception of Kevin Brown, who was 39 when the Yanks got him).

    There are many examples of pitchers whose pre-Yankee records were mediocre or worse, but went on to stardom and sometimes the HOF after donning pinstripes:

    -- Red Ruffing was 39-96 with Boston, a .289 W%, with a 92 ERA+ in over 1,100 IP. His fortunes instantly reversed with a new uniform, as he went 231-134 as a Yankee (despite losing a couple of years to WWII service), with a 120 ERA+. He remained very effective in a limited role right up through age 41, going 5-1, 1.77 in 8 starts. The next year, with a bad White Sox team, Ruffing went 3-5, 6.77 in 9 starts, then retired. Would you have predicted Ruffing's great success with the Yankees?

    -- Allie Reynolds went 51-47 in 4 full years with Cleveland, age 26-29, 3 of those years against watered-down wartime competition. The Yankees got him for Joe Gordon in 1947, and he went 131-60 (.686) and helped the Yanks win 6 WS in the next 7 years, winning at least 1 game in each Series.

    -- Herb Pennock went 79-72 with other teams, a .523 W%. With the Yanks, he was 162-90, .643.

    -- Waite Hoyt went 80-84 with other teams (.488); he was 157-98 (.616) with the Yanks.

    -- Tommy Byrne may be the most classic example, since he was with the Yanks both early and late in his career. In his first tenure, Byrne went 42-24. Banished to the 2nd division for 3 years, he went 13-29. And back in the Bronx, from age 34-37, Byrne went 30-16.

    -- Art Ditmar went a combined 25-45 with the A's before and after his Yankee stint, in which he went 47-32.

    -- Check out the careers of Johnny Allen, Vic Raschi, Ralph Terry, Bullet Joe Bush, Bullet Bob Turley, Hank Borowy, Tom Sturdivant, Tiny Bonham, David Wells, Ed "Satchelfoot" Wells, El Duque, Johnny Kucks, etc., etc.

  83. NoChanceforPettitte Says:

    Actually, it's not what I am saying. I agree that Win-Loss in a vacuum or over one season or even three seasons is not indicative of anything (Aaron Small's 2005 season does not put him on par, or even close, to Felix Hernandez's 2010 season). I also agree that prior season win-loss records are not a predictor for future win-loss records.

    I am arguing that over 16 seasons it does mean something. Baseball is not about preventing runs, it is about scoring more runs than your opponent. You can correct me if I am wrong, but essentially the argument against Pettitte is that his run prevention metrics do not stack up to 'Hall of Fame' standards.

    My argument against that argument is that though one can try to predict what Pettitte would have done on a different team at the same time, one cannot. There is a point when certain 'important' statistics are rendered unimportant at times. There comes a time when performance can only be taken in context of the team for which one performs. I would submit that Pettitte is a case study for this. Pettitte clearly over an extended period of time outperformed the whole of his teammates.

    I think you would logically agree that Pettitte's CG total (which is minimal) is not the result of his ability to complete a game. It is partially due to the fact that he had the greatest closer of all time behind him. It is partially due to the length of a season and when a team like the Yankees scores so many runs there are more chances to rest (literally rest by being taken out of a game, not pitch to score). It is partially due to concerns during his career of the effect of overuse of pitchers in general. Blah, blah, blah.

    I think therefore you can extend this discussion to the importance of other statistics like ERA+, WAR, etc. because in some cases there are factors that can inflate or deflate statistics. How important is a 117+ ERA to a team that needs only a 94+ ERA to wildly succeed?

    At the end of the day, the Win-Loss metrics stick out a lot. His starting pitching metrics against his teammates, too, stick out a lot.

    Can I live with Pettitte not being a Hall of Famer? Absolutely.
    I do think, and I think this is correct, that Pettitte should extend the Hall of Fame discussion; similarly to how Bill James book and the Bert Blyleven and Jack Morris debates extended the Hall of Fame discussion.

    What I am having a hard time with though is re-reading some of my previous posts and finding horrible grammar, and misuse of their/there here and there. So for that, I do readily apologize.

  84. Mike Felber Says:

    I see no reason why we cannot get a good idea how Pettitte would do on other teams, in neutralized contexts. The extra rest of not completing games if anything would benefit him, but he overwhelmingly had normal IP. How good he was compared to his teammates only has meaning if you show how good THEY were on average, & even then there can be differences in runs support. Though those tend to equalize over time, they are not always the same, & the pitcher is not responsible for it.

    The Koufax example is one which stats can well predict, better than hunches. though it is always law of averages whether pulling him would be worth it. though what evens out is the "clutch" stats that could be accumulated pitching to him-there is no indication that certain pitchers get a significant difference in terrible hitters over time.

    I see no further supporting evidence for Pettitte's HOF case through comparing him to other Yankee pitchers. Do they make him look better than, say, the 117 ERA + does, or his yearly WAR total? If so, why exactly? He just does not seem to have the peak value to warrant admission when his career was quite good, but not great, & with just moderate longevity, 3055 IP.

    His 4th best WAR is listed as only 3.3. Is there any reason to think that this is not pretty accurate?

  85. NoChanceforPettitte Says:

    To say that you can neutralize and therefore predict what a player would do for another team, but then say that there's no reason to compare him against the team he plays for, is a bit crazy, don't you think? Anyway, let's move on.

    1. Pettitte's career is a big benign tumor.
    2. You can take a position that it should be removed (which is either immediately stamping his ticket to the Hall or saying "No way").
    3. You can also take the position that you do nothing with it for the time being. You can see if it grows or shrinks over time, blah, blah, blah.

    Taking either approach 2 or 3 is fine and is based on a whole lot of factors.

    Person A is 5-pack a day smoker that gets lung cancer makes immediate sense. There is no need for a pro-longed discussion.

    Person B is 5-pack a day smoker that never gets any conceivable form of cancer or ill-health does not readily make sense. It happens and these individuals are studied more frequently and in-depth than Person A.

    Where I have an issue is when there is little acknowledgement over the size of Pettitte's big career tumor or his smoking habit and the immediate and categorical assessment that "these things just happen and are easily explainable". Frankly they are not. Individual factors may help in gleaning pieces of knowledge, but not necessarily the whole picture.

    You're saying you want Pettitte's tumor to be bigger or 'better' (3 more years of ...) because frankly that is easier.

    I'm saying big tumors don't just happen. This isn't a golf ball sized tumor, this is a soccer ball sized tumor.

    If I am convinced that it was not impressive and is explainable, then I'll move on and spend more time wondering why Lou Whitaker was so underrated.

    Or something like that...

  86. Mike Felber Says:

    No reason to "move on" when i have something to say. Especially when you have a huge, basic & puzzling misunderstanding of what i painstakingly delineated. Which makes you think what i suggested is "a bit crazy".

    I did not indicate that there is no= reason to compare him against the team that he plays for. I believe you mean their other pitchers. I said that if you do so, you must both control for inexactly how good those pitchers are compared to league average, & also consider any differentials in runs support that pitchers receive.

  87. NoChanceforPettitte Says:

    Actually it was unintentional for that first paragraph to be included. At first it was, but then I re-read your post, understood that I wanted to misunderstand what you said, but actually understood it and thought the comment was removed. Then I started prattling on about tumors, looked way too much at Allan Anderson game scores from 1988, reminisced about Lou Whitaker, thought way too much about Bid McPhee and pressed submit before validating the deletion and the rest is history.

  88. Mike Felber Says:

    I am trying to see the fitting analogy in the tumor matter, but it seems very ill fitting. I do not know that those who smoke heavily & never get diseases are more studied, but if you mean to say that that there is something unusual or unexpected in comparing his record with isolating the quality of his performances, I see nothing at all unusual about these things.

    He was a good pitcher over most of his career, & for 4 years seems to have been excellent, more like All Star-elite level performance. It has been charted above how well even a mediocre pitcher would do in W-L record with the Yankees over the years he played. How is it surprising that his 117 OPS + & a great closer would yield the results he had?

    And again, is there any indication that he was significantly or at all better than the 3.3 WAR per year results he repeated, not counting his best 3 years? If not-& he was no Koufax/Clemens ever, then he has no good HOF argument.

    Lou Whitaker? He is a great case of a "compiler" of value, tremendously consistent with no significant peak at all. One may not want him for the HOF if the view of it is either 1) Small hall, or 2) Peak greatness is valued. I would put him in. But comparing him to Pettitte, he created significantly more career value. If Pettitte created his average career value over, say, at least 1/6 more IP, then he would be seen fairly as creating enough career value.

    I welcome info here about how much Pettite or Whitaker varies in WAR or career value assessments in different systems. I recall a listing which rated Pettitte somewhat higher than ~ 50 WAR, but I cannot see how he deserves this.

  89. Mike Felber Says:

    OK, I see your explanation of how your post got through, thanks. I meant that Pettitte had 3, not 4, years when he was really excellent.

  90. ACE Says:

    @175 terms of peak value, there is no question that Glavine increases the margin over Pettitte. I think we can generally agree that TG's peak seasons were between 1991-2002 12 seasons,...the first 4 were non descript, as he worked his way into the show,...the last 6 were,...well, just not up to the standard he set for himself over the previous 12

    ...his unweighted average ERA+ over that time was 9 points over AP's peak,...roughly 1996-2006 (minus 05'... less than 20 starts) 9 seasons

    135+ to 126+

    ...if we employ WAR (Sean Smith version) over the peak seasons for each respectively we have an unweighted average of 4.3 for Glavine and 4.0 for Pettitte

    ...for those who prefer a more traditional stat (let's face it, the voters do ....)

    TG averaged 17.4 wins over his 12 seasons, and AP averaged 17.1 over his 9 seasons...

    conclusion: TG's peak was certainly the better by a larger margin than career value, over AP...the 'downfall' for Glavine is that when you factor in the seasons in which he made 20 + starts outside of his peak = (8) and Pettitte's (6)...

    ...the gap closes substantially in terms of career value between the two...

    which is the original point I was trying to make with my comment @142

    ...I'm glad we see eye to eye on Mussina 🙂

  91. John Autin Says:

    I want to preface the following long post by saying that I think Pettitte belongs in the first tier of pitchers just outside the HOF.

    1. Pitching against the top-scoring team in his league.

    (a) How did he do against the #1 offense?
    -- 20 starts, 8-10 W-L, 5.28 ERA.
    (year-by-year stats at bottom of post)

    (b) How often did he face the #1 offense?
    If everything were distributed normally, he would have made about 30 starts against the top-scoring team in his league.
    But Pettitte made just 20 starts against the #1 offense.
    -- The Yankees were the top offense in 5 of Andy's 13 years with them.
    -- Just once in his 13 Yankee years was the top-scoring team an opponent in his division.
    -- Pettitte made 15 starts with Houston in 2004, but never faced division rival St. Louis, who led the NL in scoring and won 105 games.

    2. Pitching against Boston, the Yankees' main division rival throughout his career.

    (a) Did Pettitte get any extra share of the starts?
    -- No. The Yankees faced Boston in 9.7% of all games during Pettitte's two terms. Pettitte made 9.3% of his Yankee starts against the BoSox (37 out of 396). He started 40 games against Baltimore, 41 against Toronto.

    (b) How did he do against Boston?
    -- He did well: 3.91 ERA, 18-10 record in 37 starts. He gave up a lot of hits, but he kept them in the park (10 HRs in 227.2 IP).

    3. Pettitte vs. losing & winning teams:
    -- vs. teams = .500: 219 starts (45.7% of starts), 97-70 W-L (.581), 4.24 ERA.

    Year by year vs. #1 offense:
    2010 -- 0 (NYY)
    2009 -- 0 (NYY)
    2008 -- 1 (TEX: 5 IP, 5 ER, 0-1 record)
    2007 -- 0 (NYY)
    2006 -- 1 (PHI: 6.1 IP, 2 R, 1 ER, 0-0 record)
    2005 -- 3 (CIN: 20 IP, 7 R, 4 ER, 2-1 record)
    2004 -- 0 (STL)
    2003 -- 4 (BOS: 25 IP, 15 R, 14 ER, 3-1 record)
    2002 -- 0 (NYY)
    2001 -- 2 (SEA: 12.1 IP, 15 R, 11 ER, 0-2 record)
    2000 -- 3 (CHW: 18 IP, 15 R, 14 ER, 1-2 record)
    1999 -- 1 (CLE: 2.2 IP, 8 R, 6 ER, 0-1 record)
    1998 -- 0 (NYY)
    1997 -- 2 (SEA: 13.2 IP, 5 ER, 1-1 record)
    1996 -- 1 (SEA: 9 IP, 4 ER, 1-0 record)
    1995 -- 2 (CLE: 12.1 IP, 9 ER, 0-1 record)

  92. Matthew Cornwell Says:


    I can see your point,

    Overall, I am sayign that when you have 72 WAR for your career, you need a moderate peak to be a HOFer.

    Glavine posted three 6+ WAR seasons, five 5+ WAR seasons, seven 4+ WAR seasons, and twelve 3 WAR seasons. He has 21 WAE (Wins Above Exclellence - which is WAR accumulated above 3 in any given season) which is about the same as Biggio, Gwynn, Manny, and a host of other "easy" HOFers. More than Smoltz and a lot more than Pettitte. His rankings in Peak -weighted WAR (38th all time) and Peak-Adjusted WAR (29th all time) attest to a pretty good peak.

    I am not saying his peak was amazing or that his peak was dominating or even as good as Schilling or Mussina or Borwn. Just more than enough to get into the HOF when you consider his career value on top of it.

    If someone is a "small-hall" fan and thinks Glavine is short due to lack-of-peak...fine. But there will be a lot of "No-brainers" that will be left behind with him.

  93. NoChanceforPettitte Says:

    Great post. I would like to be petty and pretend that it doesn't mean anything, but I think it's outstanding. It's primarily great because it doesn't say, "Oh, you don't understand WAR or ERA+" (I do)... it says "Here is your Pettitte vs. Yankee Teammates and I'll raise you Pettitte vs. #1 offenses."

    When a player such as Pettitte is brought up... a clearly borderline player, this information is important. Unlike the Glavine-related post with I am yawning myself to pieces over.

  94. ACE Says:

    @192...I agree,...the bottom line is Glavine is going to the HOF and he will get in based on his above average peak, in spite of his less than stellar career value relative to his peers...I just believe a pitcher with 'extra' seasons gets too much credit from the voters, at the expense of others with a better career value but with not enough counting stats or the magic this case 300 Wins to 'guarantee' entry... a case in point being Mike Mussina...

    ...the sad part is Mike had a peak as long as Glavine - 12 seasons ('93-'04)...his unweighted adjusted ERA was 131+ to Glavine's 135+...however his WAR was 4.8 to TG's 4.3, and his 17 /20+ start seasons were 125+/4.3 to Glavine's 20 /20+ start seasons of 122+/3.4

    ...unless there is a wholesale conversion of the voters,..Mussina has little or no chance of getting in. I hope they prove me wrong for Pettitte,...he did not achieve a sufficently high peak nor was he able to sustain an above average performance for enough seasons, to qualify for the Hall


  95. Matthew Cornwell Says:

    So Ace, we both agree that Mussina (and Brown) will get hosed by he voters. I think it is a shame too.

    Either way, we better stop before we put everybody to sleep. 🙂

  96. ACE Says:

    yeah,...I'm on the edge of my seat though,...wondering if Andy is going to survive the benign tumour he's afflected with @

  97. Jimbo Says:

    I feel like his Post Season stats and successful results make him a hall of famer.

    Had his post season numbers been less impressive with the same career regular season stats, I wouldn't even consider him.