With all of the attention focused on the Mariano Rivera Retirement Tour, it's easy to forget that another longtime Yankee is reaching the end of his career. According to the New York Post, Andy Pettitte will be announcing his retirement this afternoon.
His final regular season start at Yankee Stadium will be Sunday against the San Francisco Giants, the same day the Yankees will hold a ceremony honoring Rivera. The final start of his career would then fall during New York's series in Houston, the only other team he's played for in his career. It'd be a fitting end for the Deer Park, Texas native.
Of course, this isn't the first time Pettitte has retired. He first called it quits after the 2010 season, when he went 11-3 with a 3.28 ERA in 21 starts. After spending 2011 out of baseball, Pettitte came into spring training in 2012 as a guest pitching instructor. He left spring training with a minor league contract, and by May of that year, he was back in the big leagues.
Pettitte is turning in another solid season this year, but turned 41 in June, and reporters have said that Pettitte feels his body is starting to betray him. Joel Sherman also says Pettitte sees this golden era of Yankees dominance ending, and wants to get out while things are still reasonably good.
Inevitably, people will start talking Hall of Fame chances for Pettitte, if they haven't already. While he's been a very good, very consistent pitcher, it would appear his numbers would fall just short of Hall of Fame worthiness. He'll likely get a bonus in voting for basically being a Yankee (never had a losing season, credited with lots of wins, extra pinstripe mystique) and his playoff accolades (lots of rings, more postseason wins than anyone else), but those little boosts could also be offset by his admission that he used Human Growth Hormone during his career. At the very least, he'll be an interesting case study.
To look at it another way: Barry Bonds and Roger Clemens won't be the guys who will allow us to see how Hall of Fame voters will judge PED users going forward. There's a really good chance Andy Pettitte will be.
Pettitte will end his career third on the Yankees' all-time list in pitching WAR (Baseball-Reference version), behind only Mariano Rivera and Whitey Ford. He'll also finish third in wins, third in innings pitched, fifth in appearances, second in starts and first in strikeouts. If he doesn't get a plaque in Cooperstown, he'll at least be getting one in Monument Park.
There is a chance Pettitte will get one more chance to pitch in the postseason, where much of his legend as a Yankee has been built, but it's a small one. New York enters Friday 3.5 games back of a wildcard spot, but would also need to leapfrog the Royals, Orioles and Indians (as well as either the Rays or Rangers) to grab the spot with just 9 games remaining.