You Are Here > > Blog >

SITE NEWS: We are moving all of our site and company news into a single blog for We'll tag all B-R content, so you can quickly and easily find the content you want.

Also, our existing B-R blog rss feed will be redirected to the new site's feed. Ā» Sports Reference

For more from Andy and the gang, check out their new site High Heat Stats.

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-caliberĀ 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!

This entry was posted on Friday, February 4th, 2011 at 7:33 am and is filed under Hall of Fame, Polls. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. Both comments and pings are currently closed.

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

  1. Though it might go away at some point, 300 wins and/or 3000 strikeouts seems to be where the bar is set for hof starters right now. That puts Maddux, Glavine, Smoltz, Clemens (ok, maybe not), Johnson, Schilling and Martinez ALL ahead of Pettitte for induction. I'm not saying that's right, its just how I see it.

  2. How many pitchers with >100 more wins than losses are NOT in the HOF? Can anyone run those #s?


  3. I will say it, because all those guys were better pitchers than Pettite. He was a great pitcher, but his HOF case is pretty much the same as Jack Morris', even down to the 'most wins of a decade' stat. (Pettitte has the most wins of the 2000's).

  4. Detroit Michael Says:

    To opine that Pettitte should be in the Hall of Fame, one has to be a big Hall guy. I voted that yes, he should be in the Hall but that he won't get there in real life. He's certainly behind Mussina and Schilling. I think he's behind Kevin Brown, who just exited with < 5% of the BBWAA vote.

  5. I don't think Andy will go to the HOF. I wish he could, but i don't think that voters will vote for him.

    Nowadays its easier to spit an umpire in the face and go to the HOF.

    "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."

    He was one of the best pitchers in the AL, BUT he also was a Yankee, writers tend to not give them too many votes just because of that; see:
    Matsui not winning Rookie of the Year in 2003 because he was already a star in Japan, while Nomo won it in 1996, Sasaki in 2000, Ichiro in 2001, or even in the negroe league with Jackie Robinson, Don Newcombe, and Sam Jethroe.

    Playing for the NYY it's one of the biggest disadvantages any player could face, CC lost the Cy Young for a pitcher who had better "obscure stats" for the average fan, Mariano never received a big award, but a closer like Sasaki won Rookie of the Year, Eck won a Cy Young, et al.

  6. Pettitte had no discernable peak whatsoever in his career - what were his best 5 years? 1997, 1996, 2005(and if you want to attach an asterisks to this year, that would seem fair...), pick any two other years except 2008. As far as the "peak vs. career value" discussion goes, he's all career value, no peak. And as career value guys go, I don't think he's got enough.

    He never had a dominant postseason - he had some great starts/series, but never had "one of those years" all the way through.

    I thought he would make the hall because he would stick around for 3-4 more years and pitch pretty well, like he always has. But if he is really done now, I would say he falls short. Even if you give him full credit for his extra season of pitching in the playoffs.

  7. @Detroit Michael:

    Schilling?????!!! what theeeee...

    Curt pitched for 20 years, half of that time he pitched somewhere around mediocre, had good numbers for half of his career. Whenever he didn't win 10 games he was downright mediocre, even pitching in the weaker NL.

    He had a better WHIP but he also was a different pitcher than Pettite, Curt was a power pitcher, one who heavily rellied on strikeouts, while Pettitte was more prone to weak bloopers because he was a finesse pitcher.

  8. Who would Andy Pettitte have been if he had pitched for anybody but the Yankees? The guy who looks the closest to me based on the most useful stats for this purpose (ERA+, IP, WAR, WHIP, etc.) is Chuck Finley.

  9. Jayson Stark wrote a great article about this on The line that really hit a chord for me (which was intended I think) is that Pettitte is the "greatest number three starter of all time" and that we don't look at 3's for the HOF, we look at aces.

  10. As a Yankees fan, he's been the best pitcher the team has seen in a long, long time. Only if CC sticks around will we see another pitcher contribute to the Yankees so much anytime soon.

    I do question, would the dynasty have been so easily attained without Pettitte? I'm going to say so. The interesting thing about Andy is that despite his stellar reputation, he's never been more than a #2 pitcher on his team. I don't think any career number 2 has ever made the HOF.

    Finally, we gotta factor in the bias of the voters. Not only did he pitch for the best team of the past thirty years, he used HGH, and was uncomfortably close with Roger Clemens. His case is borderline, but that will probably keep him out. Too bad, but even as a Yankees fan, I think it's appropriate to admit he doesn't have what it takes.

  11. Sean Rogers Says:

    If Pettite can't go in because of a lack of stats then they better remove some of the existing players like Ray Schalk who has a career total of 1345 hits and a .253 batting average. There is more to a Hall of Famer than just stats. Ozzie Smith has less than 2500 hits and hit .262 over 19 years and only has 1 ring although he appeared in 3 World Series. Is he more deserving than Pettite?

  12. @5

    Mike if by "obscure stats" you mean a lower ERA, more innings pitched, more strikeouts, fewer walks, fewers hits, more complete games and more shutouts in both the 2009 and 2010 Cy Young Awards, then yes CC Sabbathia was robbed. But he did have the "clear stat" of more wins than either Greinke or Fernandez.

  13. He won more postseason games than anyone else, but he probably started more postseason games than anyone else. Even with the all-powerful Yankee lineups behind him, Pettite won less than half his playoff starts, and he had the greatest closer of all time finishing each of them so its not like the Yankees left alot of Ws on the table for him. The guy was a good pithcer on many great teams but no way a hall of famer.

  14. I think Pettitte was an excellent pitcher, and a really nice guy, but not a Hall of Famer. He's just a bit outside. I would agree with FourFriends @1 that Johnson, Schilling, Martinez, Maddux, Glavine, and Smoltz are better candidates, and I would throw in Mussina and Kevin Brown as well. That makes Pettitte a top-10 starter for his generation (top 9 actually, and that really depends how you want to count some of those other guys, because many of them debuted long before Pettitte). I would also throw Mariano in the above group, and it would be a toss-up between Pettitte and Hoffman for the #10 spot, if we're including relievers - though I'd probably lean Pettitte. Anyway, I just don't think it's likely that we'll get 10-11 pitchers who played in the 90s-00s in the Hall of Fame. So I'm thinking that Pettitte's on the outside looking in.

  15. And to add to my last post, Pettitte should not be in the HOF.

  16. HGH use will keep him out,especially since he's borderline at best. Look at Palmeiro this year,voters sent a strong message and he reached those magic milestones as a hitter that Pettitte didn't do as a pitcher. Because of the HGH he may be lucky to stay on the ballot after one year,especially when you compare his stats to a supposedly clean Kevin Brown who got 2.1% of the votes.

  17. The HGH admission will allow him never to be voted into the HOF. However, I believe the Veterans Committee will vote him in after that.

    Ronnie @7-Please take a better look at Schillings numbers as he is a no brainer for the Hall of Fame.

    1. One of 4 pitchers to strike out 3,000 batters and walk less thank 1,000.
    2. He is one of 2 pitchers in MLB history to strike out 3,000 batters AND give up less than 3,000 hits (The other is Pedro Martinez).

    Those are marks of a dominant pitcher, not an also-ran.

  18. The ties to Roger Clemens will doom Pettitte. Also the number four. That's how many shutouts Pettitte has. Wouldn't a dominant pitcher have more than FOUR shutouts?

  19. If Jack Morris isn't getting in, then Pettite won't. Morris was a better pitcher than Pettite.

  20. As a Yankee fan, I don't agree with how some of us are making the assertion that Yankees DON'T GET votes for awards/HOF because they are Yankees. That is going too far. It is just as ridiculous as when others on this site claim that the Yankee players GET EXTRA votes because they are on the Yankees.

  21. Mr. Dave, Morris is a more authentic pitcher than Pettitte. To my knowledge, Morris has not been involved with steroids or B-12 injections or whatever. Also, I think Morris has more shutouts than Pettitte.

  22. Mr. Dave, just checked. Morris has 28 shutouts to Pettitte's four.

  23. I am a believer in the Ringo Starr theory. Meaning, if a player is an important part of a great team, then that player deserves to be immortalized. The bottom line is winning and the Yankees of Pettite's time won 5 WS Championships. Who will get in from those teams? Torre, Jeter, Rivera, and Pettite, in my mind.

    Yes, he has a high era, yes he is the greatest #3 starter of his generation (I actually think #2 starter), and yes he benefits from great teammates. But all but one pitcher (who is eligible) who is over 100 games over .500 is in the Hall, and while wins and losses for a pitcher may be overrated, the bottom line is winning.

    All that being said, I agree with poster #1 who said: "Maddux, Glavine, Smoltz, Clemens (ok, maybe not), Johnson, Schilling and Martinez ALL ahead of Pettitte", I would also add Mussina plus relievers, Rivera and Hoffman to that list.

    I think he gets in. Within ten voting years. As for the HGH, believe him or not, at least he gave some sort of plausible explanation.

  24. I'll repeat my question for someone who kows how to work the BR database:

    How many pitchers with >100 more wins than losses are NOT in the HOF? Can anyone run those #s?


  25. Paul, there is no single automatic search that can find that answer, unfortunately.

  26. Its a bit of a copout, but Pettitte is a true borderline case. The In-Out line is not always clear.

    I don't believe in defining the location of the in-out line ahead of time. I'm more of a believer of elect-the-best-of-the-available-candidates. With that in mind, I could see him waiting a bit because there are several slam dunk choices ahead of him and the HOF ballot promises to be *very* crowded in a few years. But once they induct everyone ahead of him, there will be some interesting debates.

  27. "Playing for the NYY it's one of the biggest disadvantages any player could face"

    This is sarcasm, right? Right??? Playing for the Yankees is one of the biggest ADVANTAGES any athlete could possibly have. How else does a below-average defensive shortstop win several Gold Glove awards? How else does a good-not-great pitcher linked to steroids get talked about as a Hall of Famer? How else does a middle reliever become one of the most talked-about pitchers in baseball? Rivera has never won major awards because most voters realize that relievers are less important than starters and position players. Matsui didn't win RoY because a good defensive shortstop put up an almost identical slash line. And Sabathia didn't win the Cy Young because Felix was better in almost every conceivable way.

  28. Of his 42 playoff starts, he did NOT win 23 of them. The 42 starts and 19 wins are largely a function of playing on outstanding teams. And remember, Whitey Ford, for instance, had only the Series, not multiple layers of playioffs. The 42/19 numbers really don't mean as much as it would initially appear.

    A 3.88 ERA? There's not one pitcher in the HOF with an ERA that high.

    Also, of course, the PED use. He was "honest " about it, many will say. But only under pressure, and who's to say he used only during that one period, and only "to get back on the field"? Says who? Him? I'm sceptical, to say the least.

    A good/very good pitcher, but not a HOFer.

  29. @23- If I checked correctly, the number should be at 25 pitchers that have 100 more wins than losses.

  30. mr.baseballcard Says:


    There is no one eligible who has 100+ more wins than losses who is not in the Hall if they are eligible. Pedro, Mussina, R. Johnson, Clemens, Maddux and Glavine are not yet eligible but meet the criteria.

    By winning %, I read he has the highest Winning percentage on any pitcher since 1945.

  31. Mark --actually, in reality it is perhaps a slight disadvantage to be a Yankee today when it comes to awards. This is a big misperception at this point. Once upon a time it was advantage, but the facts support that Yankee players are at a slight disadvantage since at least the mid 70's. So no, not sarcasm.

    As for your answer Paul, I believe everyone with more than 300 decisions and a record of 100 more wins than losses is in the Hall. If Pettitte doesn't make it, he'd be the first. I don't think Pettitte will get least not via the writers vote. He could eventually get in as a Vet pick. To me, he needed at least one more really good injury free year or 2 more solid years to have any chance with the writers.

  32. Also, I didn't vote since the options seem a bit too black and white like they often are --no big deal. I'd say No, but he would make a solid Vet pick one day. As nuanced as that sounds.

  33. Pitchers who have won 100 more games than losses:

    Cy Young
    Walter Johnson
    Pete Alexander
    Christy Mathewson
    Warren Spahn
    Kid Nichols
    Greg Maddux*
    Roger Clemens*
    Tim Keefe
    Eddie Plank
    Tom Seaver
    Old Hoss Radbourn
    Tom Glavine*
    Randy Johnson*
    Lefty Grove
    Mike Mussina*
    Andy Pettite*
    Jim Palmer
    Bob Feller
    Juan Marichal
    Whitey Ford
    Pedro Martinez*
    John Clarkson
    Al Spalding

    * Denotes not in the HOF

  34. John DiFool Says:

    "As a Yankees fan, he's been the best pitcher the team has seen in a long, long time."

    Moose Mussina says hi (as does a Messr. Clemens who just so happened to win a Cy in NY, not to mention Fruit Bat, if you mean to only include strictly Yankees' accomplishments).

    Fan Graphs has him at 66 WAR, while here he's only at 50, a pretty significant gap. They have his FIP as 4.17, but his xFIP as 3.68; since they say (in their glossary) that the only difference between the two is that the HR rate is based on the league average of HR/flyball (10.3%). But in Pettitte's case that shouldn't make that much of a difference because his actual HR/flyball was 9.8%. Perhaps someone who is more in the know about the precise nature of the fielding independent stats can enlighten me on this.

    In any event, since never is a long time, I'm sure someone 100 years from now on a future VC will take a look at his W-L and convince his fellow voters to let him in. But he only has 3 HoF level seasons-compare him to Moose and he's blown out of the water on that score.

  35. Thanks Junior.

    Add a 19-10 "season" of post-season pitching (against MLB's best pitchers & hitters) and I give you Andy Pettitte, Hall of Famer.

    Get used to it, Yankee Haters.

  36. John DiFool Says:

    Sorry, was looking at the wrong row-for ERA/FIP/xFIP he's at 3.88/3.75/3.72.

  37. Bob Caruthers went 218-99 and is not in the Hall of Fame.

  38. Michael E Sullivan Says:

    All I can say about Pettite is that a number of guys who have never gotten much serious consideration are somewhere between clearly ahead of him to right there with him, even accounting for his postseason work. Cone for starters. I didn't even start with Brown because he was around 50% on this site (which I'd call serious consideration), but the voters dropped him like a stone, as they did Cone. Brown is pretty far ahead of Pettitte, in my judgement. Steib has about as good a case as Pettite, as does Hershiser. Chuck Finley, Frank Tanana, Bret Saberhagen are all in the ballpark on career value, even if they might be slightly behind him on overall resume.

    Aweb nails the main problem with Pettitte's hall resume. He's like the lou whitaker of pitchers, good to very good for a long time and tons of career value, but only a few separated years when he was excellent. But his career value is short of whitaker's, and short of any pitcher who's been elected in the last 30 years, even if we treat his playoff resume as equivalent to his second best regular season. Given the large number of pitchers from his era with better resumes.

    I'd say, like Saberhagen or Stieb, he's borderline and probably in the hall of merit, where we kick out all the old guys who's career value is slight and we don't remember why they got elected, but keep the same size hall. In the real hall, he needed a few more good years, and now he won't have them.

    As for his chances with the voters. They will love the wins, but he doesn't have 300, and I think both PED issues, and getting voted on at the same time as the other great pitchers of the 90s/00s will hurt him. So I don't think he's going. In another era, with a squeaky clean image, he'd probably make it because of his Win-Loss.

  39. Without being too self promoting, I did blog about this myself today, so check it out if you want more in-depth analysis. :-) If you really break down the numbers, Pettitte just doesn't cut it. His postseason excellence and high winning percentage are both just reflections of the Yankee dominance. He only had two qualified seasons where his ERA+ was above 130, and only three where his WAR was above 4.0. For comparisons sake, Chuck Finley had 4 and 7, David Cone had 6 and 8, and Kevin Brown had 7 and 8. All three had lower ERA and more strikeouts.

    Finley, Brown and Cone all fell off of the ballot after one year. Pettitte will get a few extra votes because of the Yankee connection (he can be a Mattingly for the new generation), but he's not a HOFer based on performance, and with the seemingly tightening restrictions on pitchers, I don't think he gets there.

  40. I'm a big Hall guy and I don't see Pettitte getting in. I think the pro-New York bias is mostly a non-issue and his record, including in the post season, is largely a reflection of the teams that he played for. Very good player, nice career but not a Hall of Famer. I think Jason Stark's comment about being "the best number 3 starter of all time" is pretty much spot on.

  41. @22 - Morris' shutouts (28) outnumber Pettitte's complete games (25)

  42. It's interesting that everyone is thinking of Jack Morris, because I thought the first thing about his Hall chances. I know that had a good feature about Jack Morris' record against weaker teams and his run support. Does anyone have any good stats for Pettite? Also, I wouldn't be THAT upset about 19-10 in the post-season. Remember, if anything, that would dispel the notion that he racked up numbers against inferior competition. Any team in the postseason is good by definition, and he made his opportunities count...which is more than you can say about a lot of pitchers, even the good ones.

  43. And Sean @ 11

    While you do overlook that most of Schalk's career was in the dead ball era and his defense, more important is the fact that his selection. If you're going to put every player who was clearly better than Schalk then you had better be prepared to sit thru a 2 week long induction ceremony someday while they admit a few hundred new inductees.

    And yes, Ozzie Smith was a better player than Andy Pettitte. By a considerable margin.

  44. Oops. It should read "was a mistake in the first place" after selection in the first sentence of the previous comment.

  45. Pettitte is not a HOF. Check out the black ink, for one example: W's once, GS 3 times and HR/9 once. There are plenty of other examples as well. The only area he stands out in are W's and W%, which are both hugely attributable to playing for the Yankees. Voters are picking up on this nuance now.

    When it comes to actual voting I think he will suffer a similar fate to Blyleven. Voters will recognize he was far from the best pitcher of his era and he will languish on the ballot for a long time. I just don't think anyone will take up his case the way Rich Lederer did because there is no statistical justification for him to be in the HOF. Very good pitcher and very durable pitcher who played for great teams does not make one a HOF.

  46. Frank Clingenpeel Says:

    Without the HGH garbage and trying to denigrate Clemons {et tu, Andy}, he would have been marginal. But the way he's tried to kick the Rocket while he's down and his own "cheating", my vote would be somewhere between "No Way" and "Only when we see flying pigs".

  47. WanderingWinder Says:

    I'd be interested in seeing the how the ratio of people who vote A:B compares with the ratio of those who vote C:D. In general, do people think the writers agree with them, or not? Or perhaps, is there a bias to think the writers are more restrictive or permissive than the fans here?

  48. We may get an idea on how the voters will treat Andy Pettitte by how they treat his positional equivalent starting next year, Bernie Williams.

    Williams was a good player, a steady, consistent player, but in no way a HOF caliber player.

    By the time Pettitte gets on the ballot, Williams should be off.

    Pettitte's 3.88 ERA and more hits allowed than innings pitched doesn't seem like "ace" numbers to me.

  49. Lawrence Azrin Says:

    #37/Michael E Sullivan summed it up quite nicely; there's just too many pitchers _at least_ as qualified as Petit is (if not more...), who didn't get any sort of serious HOF consideration. He was a very fine pitcher for a long period of time, but never really dominant; as Jerome S. said in #10, he's never been more than a #2 pitcher on his team. If you're not dominant, you'd better have a good career argument.

    If he'd pitched another two/three years at close to the level of his last few years, he'd have a decent career argument (though still not as good as Blyleven). Interesting that two of his Top-10 in similarity scores are mentioned by #37, Kevin Brown and Orel Hershiser; also someone frequently mentioned as a HOF mistake: Catfish Hunter.

    #36/.. Adam Says: "Bob Caruthers went 218-99 and is not in the Hall of Fame."

    Caruthers has his HOF advocates, and he was also an excellent hitter (lifetime 133 OPS+), but has several large negatives:
    1) played only 9 years, short of the 10-year minimum (exceptions made for Joss and Youngs)
    2) He played mainly in the American Association, in particular in his best years (1885-89). The AA is usually considered clearly inferior to the NL of its time; there has not been a HOFer who played primarily in the AA.

    Caruthers really isn't a good comparison for Petit, aside from his excellent W-L record.

  50. Richard Chester Says:

    Pettite has pitched for 16 seasons without a losing record in any one season. That is a record.

  51. Minus the playoffs his career was only slightly better than Chuck Finley.

    He used HGH.

    So to me his playoff performance isn't enough.

    I say no, he never gets in.

  52. Don Drysdale had more shutouts in a few weeks than Pettitte did in his whole career, and HIS election was a gift from the writers!

  53. Again, thanks to Jr. for this list...

    Pitchers who have won 100 more games than losses:
    Cy Young
    Walter Johnson
    Pete Alexander
    Christy Mathewson
    Warren Spahn
    Kid Nichols
    Greg Maddux*
    Roger Clemens*
    Tim Keefe
    Eddie Plank
    Tom Seaver
    Old Hoss Radbourn
    Tom Glavine*
    Randy Johnson*
    Lefty Grove
    Mike Mussina*
    Andy Pettite*
    Jim Palmer
    Bob Feller
    Juan Marichal
    Whitey Ford
    Pedro Martinez*
    John Clarkson
    Al Spalding
    * Denotes not in the HOF

  54. Chuck@#47: Great points.

    Personally, I consider him borderline and the HGH admission knocks him off the fence. If people are going to reward Bert Blyleven because he played on a lot of crappy teams, shouldn't we downgrade players like Pettitte and Williams who spent their whole careers on star-studded teams?

  55. Pettitte faced slightly above average offensive teams in the playoffs (remember, he didn't have to face his own team) over the years, in conditions often thought to favour pitching (cold October/November). I don't know if this is true, but April is usually a slow hitting month, and the cold is given credit.

    His playoff starts happened, but since they aren't better than his regular season, and his regular season doesn't appear to be hall-worthy (certainly on an average performance level), it only adds marginal value to his case. I just don't think he is close enough to the imaginary "line" for it to matter.

  56. Just to add a bit to the conversation, It amazes me how the regular season careers of FInley and Pettitte are so similar, despite the vastly different outlook many in the media have on their careers.

    Finley: 467 starts, 3.85 ERA, 3069 H, 2610 Ks, 55.0 WAR

    Pettitte: 479 starts, 3.88 ERA, 3185 H, 2251 Ks, 50.2 WAR

  57. @Paul

    Win% is one of the more overrated stats in all of baseball, just because you're a No. 2 or 3 starter on a dynasty doesn't grant you a red carpet to the HOF.

    Pettitte's neutralized pitching stats gives his a much more modest W/L line of 169 wins and 153 losses

    Once again, he comes up similar to Chuck Finley, whose neutralized W/L line is 176 wins and 167 losses

  58. @ 48

    Lawrence you got me on the 10 year rule, but it has been broken before like you mentioned. I am not an advocate of Bob Caruthers, (and did not want him to becompared to Pettite, sorry about not being clear on that) but if we take away Tim Keefe's record from the AA, he falls short of the 100 more wins than losses and actually falls to 264-182.

    You are right the AA was an inferior league and I don't think Caruthers should be in the Hall of Fame. I was just hoping to point out that 100 wins more than losses has been done before.

  59. Here's a couple of points on Pettite's W/L % and being 100 games over w-l:

    Remember that a pitcher's W-L record is a very overrated stat. There are far too many variables involved in W-L record because w-l are essentially team accomplishments not individual accomplishments.

    You also have to put Pettite's career into context.

    He played 16 seasons and he NEVER played for a team that finished UNDER .500!

    He only played for ONE team, the 2006 Astros, that finished Below .540.

    He played on 2 teams that finished above .590, 4 teams that finished above .600 and 1 team that finished above .700. There's quite a few of those teams that covered up very mediocre seasons by Pettite, '98, '99, '08 & '09 for example.

    As far as Yankee players being underrated or overrated, I think both sides exaggerate their case.

    Yankee fans complaining about being mistreated is kind of laughable. It's a little bit like the Richest kid on the block complaining how tough his life is the day after Christmas.

    On the other hand there are quite a few Yankees who are underrated historically like Roger Peckinpaugh, Charlie Keller, Red Ruffing, Gil Mcdougald, Clete Boyer, Roy White, Graig Nettles, Willie Randolph, Bernie Williams, and Jorge Posada.

    It took Joe Gordon 60 years to get into the HOF.

    Rickey Henderson's and David Cone's careers with the Yankees are extremely underrated.

    Thurman Munson never got into the HOF even though he has a pretty solid case. Playing with the Yankees didn't give Tim Raines a HOF bump. Jeter never won an MVP even though he had a solid case in 1999 & 2006.

    Bucky Dent and Willie Randolph never won a GG.

  60. He doesnt deserve it but will make it through the VC one day with Don Mattingly

  61. He was a reliable starter but by no means an ace. For proof of that just look at how much the Yankees spent on aces to pitch ahead of Pettitte his entire career. Even with his "great" postseason numbers, did the Yankees ever trust him as their number one going into any postseason?

  62. Every time any player who spent the majority of their career on the Yankees we have to have this sort of discussion but a guy like Chuck Finley (who was basically the same player as Pettitte except slightly better) gets no media coverage and certainly no articles on ESPN or a 10 minute segment on Sportscenter. To show the Yankee voting bias it will be interesting to compare Pettitte first year votes (which is guaranteed be at least enough to remain on the ballot, 5%) to Finley's 1 vote out of 543 ballots! Im not saying Finley should be in at all but given he got 1 vote then if there is no Yankee bias Pettitte should get 0 votes.

  63. So, I guess we shouldn't vote Smoltz in because he was a great 3 starter? Just playing devils advocate since I think Pettitte falls short, but would perhaps make a decent Vet pick some day.

  64. Lawrence Azrin Says:

    #57/ Adam... I was not knocking you for bringing up Bob Caruthers, he's actually a fascinating figure, and indicative of how vastly different 19th century baseball was from conditions today.

    FWIW, the folks at baseballthinkfactory (I'm sure there is some overlap between them and this audience) voted Caruthers into their "Hall of Merit" in 1930, although it took them more than 30 years after he was eligible.

    Looking at the list in #32/#52 of pitchers that have at least 100 more wins than losses (thanks, Jr.), it's a good example of what Bill James called the "let's make a group" argument, as Petit is probably the weakest HOF candidate of the 25 pitchers listed. Mike Mussina is next-weakest to Petit (in this group) of those who are not HOF-eligible yet, and he's a long ways from a slam-dunk candidate.

  65. John DiFool Says:

    "Here's a couple of points on Pettite's W/L % and being 100 games over w-l:"

    Note that I brought that up simply because it's probably his A-1 selling point, and that some future VC might eventually decide that this makes him qualified (the standards for the Hall can and will change over time; thus when any of these polls come up I am suspicious of the "never" tag used in them-being more philosophical on this point than anything else). I myself do not consider his W-L to be anything close to the things I would use to evaluate his candidacy, tho it is a small part of it.

  66. As far as Pettitte goes, He kind of reminds me a lot of Tommy John. A very good pitcher who pitched for a bunch of very good teams that tended to inflate his w/l %. Both he and John had 3 great seasons and about 5-7 good seasons. Not strike-out pitchers but both pitchers excelled at limiting HR/9. Both he and John were very durable pitchers, Pettitte finished first 3 times in Games started, John is 8th all time in Games Started. The only difference I see is that John Excelled at limited walks, finishing in the top ten 12 times in bb/9, Pettitte only finished in the top ten in bb/9 four times. I look at Pettitte's career like Tommy John's career if he had retired after the 1981 season.

    As far as his HOF candidacy, I think he falls short. He would have had to pitch another 3-4 years for me to see him as viable HOF candidate. Something like 270 wins and a 58 career WAR to go along with his Post-season success would have been enough for me.

    Pettitte had a 50.2 career WAR with a Peak Best 7 Seasons of 32.1 which averages out to 41.1. It's essentially the same peak as Tommy John but John pitched another 8 seasons and finished with 59 career WAR. Pettitte needed a much better peak to get into the HOF with only 16 seasons pitched.

    Essentially the minimum WAR for a pitcher to get into the HOF is 67 which is ridiculous.

    There's about 15 eligible 20th century pitchers that were better than Pettitte not in the HOF: Brown, Reuschel, Tiant, Pierce, Saberhagen, Steib, Cone, John, Koosman, Bridges, Hershiser, L. Jackson, Tananna, Finley and Appier.

    I put Pettitte in the same category with the next ten: Gooden, Lolitch, Friend, Langston, D. Martinez, Moyer, Key, Wells, K. Rogers, S. Rogers

  67. i know i'm nobody, but your "top 70 in pitchers war" and "top 70 in HOF standards and HOF monitor" points for being in means absolutely nothing to a guy, and i'm sure some real voters think this too, who thinks there should be 50-55 pitchers in the hall and that about 10 of the 65 or so already in there are wholly undeserving anyway.

    if pettite or morris got in, they would be considered definitely in the worst ten, possibly the worst five pitchers in the hall, though i doubt anyone will surpass marquard.

  68. Forget the whole HGH, Roger Clemens thing. He is borderline at best, same as Schilling, Mussina and Morris. A pitcher with a career ERA near 4.00 just is not a HOFer to me.

  69. Lawrence Azrin Says:

    #63Matt Y Says:... "So, I guess we shouldn't vote Smoltz in because he was a great 3 starter? Just playing devils advocate since I think Pettitte falls short"

    Matt Y, playing devil's advocate to your devil's advocate, should we _not_ elect:

    - Hank Greenberg, because he was the 3rd best first baseman in the 1930's AL, behind Gehrig and Foxx?
    - Duke Snider, because he was the 3rd best centerfielder in (just) NYC in 1950's, behind Mantle and Mays?
    - Roberto Clemente, because he was the 3rd best OF in the 1960's NL, behind Aaron and Mays?

    While Clemens and Mussina were on the Yankees pitching staff some of time Petit was, it's not quite comparable to Smoltz being behind an all-time great and also a clear HOF-level pitcher for most of his time with Atlanta.

  70. @61 Topper,

    Finley was a very underrated pitcher. He was a very durable pitcher and he's one of the great strikeout pitchers of all time and get's little to no attention.

    He's 23rd all time in k's

    He finished in the top 10 in k's 10 times.
    He finished in the top 5 in k's 7 times
    He finished in the top 10 in k/9 8 times
    He finished in the top 10 in Innings pitched 9 times
    He finished in the top 5 in games started 6 times.

    Finley big problem was giving up walks & wild pitches. He finished in the top 10 in BB 11 times and led the league in WP twice.

  71. Lawrence Azrin Says:

    #68/ Mike Says:.. "Forget the whole HGH, Roger Clemens thing. He {Petit} is borderline at best, same as Schilling, Mussina and Morris..."

    Mike, Schilling and Mussina shouldn't be lumped in with Morris; Schilling and Mussina are more qualified for the HOF than Morris and Petit are.

  72. I'm undecided on the issue of whether Pettitte gets more attention due to a Yankees bias. Certainly he benefits from the bias of being on a good team and a successful team. Five championship rings makes a huge difference in terms of attention and accolades. And the fact that he played for really good teams, regardless of how many WS won, really helps his raw stats. That makes a huge difference too. Certainly if Chuck Finley won 5 WS with the Angels, he'd get a lot more attention, both due to the championships and because his own numbers would be better from having played on better teams. (By 'his own numbers' I am really referring to BS stats like W and L.)

  73. If I've done the numbers correctly, in the years that Andy was with the Yankees, the team had a regular season record of 249-146 in his starts. That's a .630 winning percentage. In those same seasons, the Yankees with pitchers other than Andy starting went 997-692, a .590 regular seasons winning percentage.

    If you apply that .590 winning percentage that the Yankees were racking up without Pettitte and applied it to those games that Pettitte started, you get 233 wins instead of the 249 wins that tha Yankees actually registered in his starts. That suggests that the regular season difference between the Yankees' level of success with Pettitte and what their level of regular season success would have been with an "average non-Pettitte Yankee starter" in his stead was about 16 total wins over his 13 seasons as a Yankee, a fraction more than one win a year.

    Of course that "average non-Pettitte Yankee starter" is himself a pretty darn good pitcher, so it's not like this comparison is against an average MLB starter or certainly anything like a replacement level starter, but this analysis does also give one some sense of the big advantage it is for a pitcher to start for the Yankees in terms of wins and losses.

  74. @52. Of the non-HOFers on this list, the two names that jump out as least likely to eventually become HOFers are Mussina and Pettitte. And, really for the same reason - very good (but not great) pitchers with stats greatly enhanced by pitching on very good teams.

    Can debate whether Clemens is also unlikey to make the Hall - but if he doesn't, that would probably be for quite a different reason.

  75. @65 John D,

    I think Pettitte's best selling point is that he finished 9 times in the top ten for lowest HR/9 in his career. It's not a flashy stat but it's important. There's only 12 pitchers that finished in the top 10 ten or more times and only John & Brown aren't in the HOF.

    The amount of Games Starts he made in the post-season is also impressive to me.

  76. Hadn't realized this before, but Mariano Rivera has more Career WAR than Pettitte. Who knew? :-)

  77. Detroit Michael Says:


    I would vote for both Schilling and Pettitte for the Hall of Fame, but yes Schiling's case is stronger. Schilling's peak years are more dominant and those years plus his playoff performances really did lead to championships. Heck, just looking at career IP and career ERA+ will also lead you to the conclusion that Schilling is more qualified for the Hall of Fame than Pettitte is.

  78. To begin with, let me say that the Hall of Fame posts are my favorite of any posts that come up on this blog. Therefore, I like to have discussion. However, most of us today seem to be agreeing with one another, which is a little boring. So, in the hope of stimulating some discussion, Let me advocate for Pettitte for a second. Please, fully understand that I do NOT support Pettitte for the Hall, but I am willing to make a case just for fun anyway.

    Now, as Pettitte's strongest argument is his won-loss record, let's look at it more closely. Pettitte's teams went a total of 1583-1051 (Yanks: 1320-838, Astros: 263-223). Pettitte was 240-138 (.635) in his career. Without him getting the decision, his teams were 1343-913 (.595). If we extrapolate that over 378 decisions (Pettitte's total), we would get an expected record of 225-153. Pettitte outperformed that total by 15 games, which is probably pretty close to his actual value. I guess I could break it down by season (actual record, expected record, difference):

    1995: 12-9 11-8 +1
    1996: 21-8 15-14 +6
    1997: 18-7 14-11 +4
    1998: 16-11 20-7 -4
    1999: 14-11 15-10 -1
    2000: 19-9 14-14 +5
    2001: 15-10 15-10 +0
    2002: 13-5 11-7 +2
    2003: 21-8 17-12 +4
    2004: 6-4 6-4 +0
    2005: 17-9 14-12 +3
    2006: 14-13 14-13 +0
    2007: 15-9 14-8 +1
    2008: 14-14 16-12 -2
    2009: 14-8 14-8 +0
    2010: 11-3 8-6 +3
    Total: 240-138 218-160 +22

    By this analysis, Pettitte's stakes actually improve. He was 22 games better than the average Yankee/Astro starting pitcher over the last 16 years. Pettitte consistently outperformed the record that would be expected were any of his teammates pitching. He had only three "bad" won-lost records (1998, 1999, 2008).

    Obviously, there are a lot of problems with this analysis: it compares him to teammates rather than league average, it's average rather than replacement, it's based ENTIRELY on won-lost record, it assumes constant run support, etc., etc. Irrespective of those facts, however, it seems somewhat reasonable to say that Andy Pettitte's teams won 15-22 extra games above what they would have with others pitching. This is, perhaps, at least something to consider, since Pettitte's won-lost record is not ONLY built on the power of the offenses for which he pitched.

  79. I agree with the comparisons to Jack Morris. Pettitte's wins are nice, but his ERA is too high for a great pitcher.

  80. #53...Valid Points, but Blyleven was a very good pitcher for a long time. That usually gets some people a pass into Cooperstown. It did in Blyleven's case.

  81. #52, your list of pitchers 100+ games over .500 excluded Three Finger Brown.
    And BTW, next on the list would be Carl Hubbell , who finished 99 games over.

  82. I agree with Dr Doom #78 -who posted as I was doing my analysis.
    Yankees, with Pettitte's record extracted from the team record, won 59%(1043 wins and 726 losses). Pettitte's WL % with Yanks =64.4%
    Houston without Pettitte =53% (226 wins, 197 losses). Pettitte's WL% with Houston =59%. An ordinary pitcher would have either pitched at the % of an established winning team over a long period of time (like the Yankees), or well below. He pitched above. He also did it with Houston, so it was no fluke. His record speaks for itself-he was a winner, and no matter how much you look at the stats, only 23 other men in baseball history (thank you Jr at #32) accomplished what he did, which was to win at least 100 more than he lost. The ultimate object in any sport is to WIN.

  83. I tried to post something before, when there were only 23 comments, but for some reason it never got posted. But here is a question:

    Who would you elect from the 1996 to 2009 Yankees? I love all the posts about WAR, Win Shares and all the other stats that help to remove a player from the context of his team, and it certainly helped get Blyleven elected (which I think was long overdue), but to a degree, I go with the Ringo Starr theory. Members of a great team deserve credit.

    I know that Pettite is behind the pitchers that the #1 post mentions, along with relievers Rivera and Hoffman, plus starters Mussina and maybe Schilling, but still exceptional teammates or not, a team with 5 World Championships deserves to have a large contingent in the Hall. My guesses: Torre, Jeter, Rivera and eventually Pettite.

    For the same reasons, I also think that Allie Reynolds of the 1948 Indians, plus the 1949 to 1953 Yankees belongs.

  84. StephenH, I found your earlier comment in spam. Not sure what made it go there. But it should be posted now.

  85. I agree Lawrence Azrin about Smoltz. he should go in. Retiring now I say Pettitte hangs on ballot for all 15 years and never receives more than 40-50%. I think he could get in via Vet committee once the steroid stuff settles and 250 wins starts to look like the new 300.

  86. I am guessing mentioning Ringo Starr in the first line made the blog software thing it was spam. Among the comments in our spam filter include all kinds of stuff about iPods and music...

  87. Richard Chester Says:


    Reynolds pitched for the Indians from 1942 to 1946. He pitched for the Yankees from 1947 to 1954. It was Joe DiMaggio who advised the Yankees to trade for him. His career was shortened by a bad back suffered in a bus collision.

  88. Thanks Andy. A spam filter is a good thing, even if once in a while something gets caught by accident. Next time, I will email your first.

  89. #88 , thanks Richard. I was off by a year. My bad for doing it from memory.

  90. Kahuna Tuna Says:

    I also think that Allie Reynolds of the 1948 Indians, plus the 1949 to 1953 Yankees belongs.

    No disrespect intended, but with only 12 full seasons (three of them during wartime) and a 110 career ERA+, Reynolds would have had to be the best World Series pitcher of all time in order to merit serious HoF discussion. He wasn't the best ever, although he was very good.

    Also, Reynolds' last season in Cleveland was 1946. He did pitch for the 1947 World Champion Yankees.

  91. Pettitte had a great career but is not a Hall of Famer. Reliable, durable pitcher with good but not crazy longevity, very high WHIP, usually a slightly above average ERA/ERA+, more hits than innings, a lot of walks, average strikeout rate, and a whole lot of wins despite it.

    He's not even in the same conversation as the Mussina, Schilling, Smoltz tier that clearly belongs in the HOF.

    Although comparing his CG and SHO to Drysdale and Morris doesn't really mean a whole lot because that's more of a sign of the times.

    For those who value win-loss record, it's always interested me that Pettitte, supposedly in his prime, went 16-11 for a 114-win team.

    It's also interesting to think about the extra credit he's sure to get for all the championships. From 1998-2001, the Yankees won three WS in a row and came within a Mariano Rivera out of winning four in a row. In those four years, Pettitte allowed 885 hits in 813.1 innings and had a 107 ERA+ with a 1.453 WHIP. Not exactly mythical stuff.

    As for the postseason, yes, he certainly threw some great games. But he was not always "Mr. Clutch." It seems his reputation is defined on the good games, but everyone completely forgets the bad ones. If anyone else had thrown up the stinkbomb he had in Game 6 of the 2001 World Series, they'd be ridiculed as a choke artist. The difference is Pettitte had so many opportunities to pitch in the postseason that he was able to overcome them. With other pitchers who only get to make a handful of postseason starts, their stinkers are more likely to stand out.

    When you're a good pitcher like him, and you play for a dynasty in an era with three rounds of playoffs, over time you will throw some great games and you'll throw some bad games. We all know about the great postseason games he's pitched. Just for fun - and this is not to pick on Andy - I can't help but like the guy even though I'm not a Yankee fan - here are some of his more notable postseason exploits you never hear about:

    1996 World Series, Game 1:

    2001 World Series, Game 6, NYY up 3-2 in the series:

    2000 ALDS, deciding Game 5, series tied 2-2:

    1999 World Series, Game 3:

    1997 ALDS, Game 2, (the only series the Yankees lost between 1996 and the 2001 WS):

  92. Thanks Tuna,
    Again, I goofed on The Chief. I knew he had six WS rings, but got his Indian years mixed up with the Pre-Casey WS win.

  93. @ Stephen, 84:

    To play devil's advocate, I would argue that the Torre-era Yankees don't necessarily need a ton of HOF representation *because* of their huge success.

    To be that great of a team, you need depth. It doesn't take two or three all-time great players, it takes a whole lot of really good players. That's what they had and that's why they won.

    Jeter and Rivera are obvious HOFers. Mussina should be a HOFer and was still in his prime his first three years in NY. Clemens is an obvious HOFer (putting aside for now the PED stuff). (Same with A-Rod obviously, but I'm focusing on the 96-03 Yankees here, who went to 6 WS in 8 years.)

    I believe Cone should have gotten a much closer look at the Hall, but as it is, he still had an excellent career - the 11 year stretch he had from 1988-1999 is not easily matched by anyone outside of the top ten pitchers of his generation.

    After that, what do you have? A ton of really good players. Bernie, O'Neill, Posada, Pettitte, Wells, Tino, Knoblauch. Those guys all had really strong careers, just not quite HOF careers.

    Then they also had a ton of guys who weren't there long but were still very productive while they were: Boggs, Key, Strawberry, Justice, young Soriano, etc.

    Baseball is about having the most good/great players. Having an all-time HOFer without much else doesn't cut it in baseball. If it did, St. Louis would be in the WS every year and A-Rod's Texas teams would have been great.

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

  94. Andy, #85: I think a similar fate might have happened to an earlier post I had as well - I got a message that said the post was being checked for moderation. I've never seen that type of message before, and now the post is gone. Never showed up. Any chance you could have a look and post it if you find it in the spam? Thanks.

  95. Got it Rube, up there at #92. The problem with yours was too many links!

  96. Lawrence Azrin Says:

    #84/.. StephenH Says: "... here is a question:
    Who would you elect from the 1996 to 2009 Yankees?... a degree, I go with the Ringo Starr theory. Members of a great team deserve credit... ...My guesses: Torre, Jeter, Rivera and eventually Pettite...

    MY 2 CENTS:
    - Torre: will go in as a manager as soon as he's eligible, though I would argue that the Veteran's Committee should've taken him as a player last time he was considered
    - Jeter: first-ballot, 95%+
    - Rivera: first-ballot, 90%+
    - A-Rod: absolutely first-ballot 95%+ without PEDs considered, but PEDs can't be ignored, so who really knows by 2022?
    Jorge Posada: needs another decent year or two to solidify his case, but unless he turns into Carlton Fisk, he'll probably fall a little short of what the BBWAA expects
    **I personally would choose the above five for the HOF*

    - Petit: he'll stay on the ballot all 15 years with Mattingly/ Dale Murphy-level support, but not come close. Perhaps a Veteran's pick?
    - Bernie Williams: nice balance of skills, but his career is too short for someone without a great peak; also hurt by his poor defensive rep in his later years

  97. 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 agree and no problem playing devils advocate. But 3 players plus the manager who were there the whole time does seem reasonable to me. Mussina was not a member of any of the WS winners, and Clemens, absent of the PED questions, made his bones away from the Yankees. A-Rod was only there for one of those WS winners in the run.

    I guess the question is "How much credit do you give for winning a WS?" and What is the right amount of HOF recognition for a multiple WS winning group?

    Here is a quick count of a few teams that won at least 2 WS in a row and how many HOF'amers they have, in chronological order.
    1930 Athletics: 5 HOF including the manager
    1937 Yanks : 6 HOF, including the manager
    1939 Yanks: 5 HOF, including the manager
    1952 Yanks: 5,HOF, including the manager (includes the part time Mize)
    1973 A's: 3, HOF,
    1975 Reds: 4 HOF, including the manager (Not including Rose, as he is excluded from the Hall for reasons other than his playing).
    1993 Blue Jays: 3 HOF

  98. #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. This hurts Gil Hodges and it may have hurt Torre's most recent showing in the Vets committee. He was borderline as a player, although Bill James calls him the best catcher not in the Hall. As a manager he is a lock and now that he has retired (and thanks to Casey Stengal) the 5 year rule is waived for those over 70, he will get in as a manager as soon as he appears on a ballot. I wonder if the manager part came into discussion on the Vets committee.

  99. I agree Smotlz's situation is different --he should get in. Pettitte might get in via Vet committee when dust settles from steroid era and 250 wins start to look like the new 300.

  100. 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?

  101. 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.

  102. @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?

  103. 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.

  104. @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.

  105. #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.

  106. @ 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.

  107. 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!

  108. 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.

  109. @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.

  110. 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.

  111. 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.

  112. 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.

  113. #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.

  114. 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.

  115. @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.

  116. 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)

  117. 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.

  118. @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.

  119. @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.

  120. @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.

  121. 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.

  122. 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.

  123. @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.

  124. 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.

  125. 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.)

  126. @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.

  127. 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.

  128. 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.

  129. @119

    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.

  130. 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.

  131. 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.

  132. 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.

  133. Johnny Twisto Says:

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

  134. @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.

  135. 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.

  136. 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.

  137. Biff Fearless Says:

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

  138. @ 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.

  139. 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.

  140. @ 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.

  141. 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...

  142. 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...

  143. ...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...

  144. 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.

  145. Johnny Twisto Says:


  146. 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.

  147. @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.

  148. ...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!

  149. @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.

  150. 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.

  151. @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.

  152. 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.

  153. 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.

  154. Is WPA park-adjusted?

  155. Johnny Twisto Says:

    Mike, yes.

  156. @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.

  157. 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.

  158. 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.

  159. 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.

  160. @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.

  161. 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.

  162. 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.

  163. 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.

  164. @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.

  165. 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.

  166. 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.

  167. 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.

  168. 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.

  169. 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.

  170. @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

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


  172. 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.


  173. 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.

  174. 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)

  175. @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.

  176. 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.

  177. 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.

  178. @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.

  179. 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.

  180. 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.

  181. 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.

  182. 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.

  183. 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?

  184. 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...

  185. 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.

  186. 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.

  187. 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.

  188. 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.

  189. @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 :)

  190. 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)

  191. 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.

  192. 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.

  193. @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


  194. 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. :)

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

  196. 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.