Andy Pettitte

Andy Pettitte

June 15, 1972
6' 5"
225 lbs
Major League Debut:
4-29-1995 with NYA
Allstar Selections:
2001 ALCS

In his major league career, he played for the New York Yankees from 1995–2003. He then signed with the Houston Astros, and played for them from 2004 through 2006. In 2007, Pettitte rejoined the Yankees. He won five championships with the New York Yankees and is Major League Baseball's all-time postseason wins leader with 19.

Through 2009, Pettitte was ninth among active major league players in win-loss percentage (.629), fourth in wins (229), and seventh in strikeouts (2,150). He was the winningest pitcher of the 2000s.

Early life
Pettitte was born in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, and is of Italian and Cajun descent, the younger of two children born to Tommy and JoAnn Pettitte. He attended Deer Park High School in Deer Park, Texas. Andy Pettitte also pitched the Deer to within one win of the state title.

Selected by the Yankees in the 22nd round of the 1990 MLB draft, he opted instead to attend San Jacinto College North in Houston, Texas, where he won 8 of 10 decisions.

On May 25, 1991, he signed with the Yankees as an amateur draft and follow selection.

Professional baseball career

Minor leagues

In his minor league career he went 51–22, with a 2.49 ERA in 113 starts. He never had a losing season. In the rookie league, he had an 0.98 ERA.

Major leagues
First tenure with the New York Yankees (1995–2003)
Pettitte made his major league debut on April 29, 1995, with the New York Yankees. In 1996, he made the American League All-Star team and finished second to Pat Hentgen for the AL Cy Young Award. He led the league in wins (21, and first twenty-win season by a Yankee since Ron Guidry in 1985), was 3rd in W-L pct. (.724), and was 8th in the AL in ERA (3.87). The Yankees won the 1996 World Series with Pettitte going 1–1 in the 6 game series; in Game 1, he was hit hard early and did not last through the third inning, but he fared much better in Game 5, outdueling John Smoltz in a game that the Yankees won 1–0. The next year, Pettitte led the league in starts (35), pickoffs (14), and double plays induced (36), and was 3rd in the league in innings (240.3; a career high), 4th in ERA (2.88), wins (18), and W-L pct. (.720), 6th in complete games (4), 8th in strikeouts (166), and 10th in walks/9 IP (2.43). In 1998, he was 7th in the league in complete games (5; a career high), and 8th in wins (16). That season, he won his second World Series Title with the Yankees, winning his only start in the four game series.

The Yankees continued their success in 2000. New York won the AL East Pennant by 4 games while Pettitte was 3rd in the American League in wins (19), 6th in W-L pct. (.679), and 7th in complete games (3). He finished off the season with his fourth World Series Title. In 2001, he made the All-Star team for the second time and was named the MVP of the ALCS, after winning Games 1 and 5 against the Seattle Mariners. He was 3rd in the AL in walks/9 IP (1.84), and 8th in strikeouts (164) and strikeouts/9 IP (7.36).

The following year, he was 9th in the AL in W-L pct. (.722) and complete games (3). Pettite continued his success through 2003. Pettitte was 2nd in the league in wins (21), 5th in W-L pct. (.724), 6th in strikeouts (180; a career high) and strikeouts/9 IP (7.78; a career-best), 8th in games started (33), and 9th in walks/9 IP (2.16).

Houston Astros (2004–2006)
After the 2003 season, Pettitte left the Yankees, signing a 3-year, $31.5 million contract with the Houston Astros. He switched his uniform number to #21, in honor of Roger Clemens, who previously wore that number in Boston and Toronto. His 2004 season, in which he held batters to a .226 batting average, was shortened by elbow surgery.

Pettitte returned to form in 2005 to help the Astros make their first trip to the World Series. His 2.39 ERA in 2005 was a career-best, and 2nd-best in the National League behind teammate Roger Clemens. He was also 2nd in the league walks/9 IP (1.66) and LOB percentage (79.7%; a career best), 3rd in sacrifice hits (15), 5th in wins (17), and 8th in W-L pct. (.654). He held lefties, who over his career have outhit righties when batting against him, to a .200 batting average, had a career-best 4.17 SO/BB ratio.

In 2006, Pettitte went 14–13 with a 4.20 ERA as the Astros missed the playoffs. He led the NL in starts (35), tied for 7th in pickoffs (4), and was 8th in double plays induced (26), and 10th in strikeouts (178) and batters faced (929). He held batters to a .229 batting average when there were 2 out with runners in scoring position.

Back to New York (2007–2010)
After the 2006 season, Pettitte left the Astros, and signed a 1-year, $16 million contract with the New York Yankees with a player option for 2008 worth $16 million. On January 11, 2007, Pettitte was re-introduced as a Yankee at a Yankee Stadium press conference.

Pettitte won his 200th career game on September 19, 2007. In 2007 he led the American League in starts (34), was 7th in batters faced (916), and was 9th in innings pitched (215.3), finishing the regular season with a 15–9 win-loss record. He also had the 5th-lowest HR/9 innings pitched ratio in the AL (0.67).

On November 5, he declined his 2008 option, becoming a free agent. Then on December 1, 2007, Pettitte was offered arbitration by the Yankees. However, on December 3, 2007 Pettitte announced that he would pitch for the Yankees in 2008. On December 7, 2007, Pettitte accepted the Yankees offer of arbitration. He officially signed a one year, $16 million contract with the Yankees on December 12.

On September 21, 2008, Pettitte was the last starting pitcher for the Yankees at Yankee Stadium. He recorded his 2,000th career strikeout in the second inning, striking out Baltimore Orioles catcher Ramon Hernandez. Pettitte led the Yankees in innings pitched in 2008 with 204. Over 14 seasons, Pettitte has averaged 158 strikeouts a season, the same number as he accumulated in 2008.

On Monday January 26, 2009, Pettitte agreed to a one-year, $5.5 million contract that was incentive laden. Based on incentives such as innings pitched and days on the active roster, Pettitte eventually had his actual salary reach $10.5 million for 2009. Pettitte began the 2009 season as the Yankees' fourth starter, behind CC Sabathia, A. J. Burnett, and Chien-Ming Wang, followed by Joba Chamberlain.

On August 31, 2009, Pettitte took a perfect game through 6 and 2/3 innings when 3rd baseman Jerry Hairston Jr. committed an error on a routine ground ball. The next batter (Nick Markakis), who wouldn't have come up in the inning if not for the error, got a hit to break up the no-hitter.

On October 25, 2009, Pettitte was the winning pitcher as the Yankees beat the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim in game 6 of the ALCS to clinch the series and advance to the World Series against the Philadelphia Phillies. This brought his career total of series-clinching wins to five, breaking the record he previously shared with Roger Clemens, Catfish Hunter and Dave Stewart.

On October 31, 2009, Pettitte drove in his first postseason run during Game 3 of the World Series when he got a single to center field that scored Nick Swisher. He was the winning pitcher for that game. On November 4, 2009, Pettitte pitched Game 6 of the 2009 World Series on three days of rest. Experts were critical of the decision to pitch the 37-year-old on short rest, but Pettitte again was the winning pitcher in game 6 of the 2009 World Series, defeating the Philadelphia Phillies 7–3. He extended his record career total series-clinching wins to six, and extended his record for post-season career wins to 18. He became the first pitcher in Major League Baseball history to start and win three series-clinching playoff games in the same year. Derek Lowe also won three series in 2004, but with one of his wins coming in relief. Additionally, on September 27 against the Red Sox, Pettitte had been the winning pitcher in the division-clinching game. Pettitte filed for free agency on November 19, 2009. He re-signed with the Yankees on December 9 for $11.75M for one year.

In the first half of the 2010 season, Pettitte went 11–2 with a 2.70 ERA, earning an appearance in the 2010 Major League Baseball All-Star Game. He also won the mid-season Cy Young Award. Pettitte finished the season with an 11–3 record and a 3.28 ERA, his lowest since 2005.

After months of speculation about his future, Pettitte announced his retirement on February 4, 2011.

Career perspective
Pettitte won 20-games in a season twice, posting 21–8 records in 1996 and 2003.

Pettitte was part of seven American League pennant-winning teams, one National League pennant-winning team and five World Series championship teams. He holds the record for most wins in postseason history with 19. He is the only MLB pitcher since 1930 to win at least 12 games in each of his first nine seasons.

For his career, Pettitte had a 240–138 win-loss record with a 3.88 ERA and 2,251 strikeouts in 3,055 1⁄3 innings. He also never had a losing season in Major League Baseball. Pettitte and teammate Mariano Rivera have combined for a record 68 win-save combinations, the most in history. Pettitte, Rivera, Derek Jeter and Jorge Posada have been noted as the "Core Four" as they had been teammates for the five World Series won between 1996-2009.

Pettitte was 19–10 with a 3.83 ERA and 173 strikeouts in the postseason (1995–2003, 2005, 2007, 2009–2010), with the most postseason wins in the history of Major League Baseball. He also holds the all-time record for most starts and innings pitched in the post-season (42 and 263, through 2010).

He was the second starting pitcher in history to win three series-clinching games (ALDS, ALCS and World Series) in the same postseason (2009). Derek Lowe did the same in 2004, but with one of the wins in relief, and additionally, Pettitte won the game where the Yankees clinched the division.

When Pettitte started Game 3 of the 2009 World Series, he passed Christy Mathewson and Waite Hoyt, with the second most World Series starts. Whitey Ford is in front with 22 starts. Pettitte has played in 8 different World Series (7 with the Yankees, and one with the Astros), and been on the winning end of 19 postseason series – both of which are tops among active players.

During the period from 1995–2010, no major league pitcher accumulated more victories. His 148 wins from 2000 to 2009 were the most in the decade.


    1996–American League All-Star
    1996–Good Guy Award, from the New York Sports Photographers
    1996–Greater Houston Area Major League Player of the Year, from the Houston Chapter of the Baseball Writers’ Association of America
    2001–American League All-Star
    2001–ALCS Most Valuable Player
    2003–Greater Houston Area Major League Player of the Year, from the Houston Chapter of the Baseball Writers’ Association of America
    2003–Warren Spahn Award, awarded annually to the top left-handed pitcher in baseball, from the Oklahoma Sports Museum
    2010–Yankees Mid Season Cy Young Award
    2010–American League All-Star

Pitching style

Pettitte threw a four-seam fastball, a cutter, a curveball, a sinker, a changeup, a slider, and a 12-6 curveball. His out pitch was the cutter at 85–88 mph with good inside break on right-handed batters, resulting in a lot of ground ball outs and double plays. At the end of his career, his fastball was measured in the lower 90s and his curveball was about 74–76 mph.

Use of performance-enhancing drugs

On September 30, 2006 the Los Angeles Times reported that former relief pitcher Jason Grimsley, during a June 6, 2006 federal raid by federal agents investigating steroids in baseball, named Pettitte as a user of performance enhancing drugs. The Times reported that Pettitte was one of five names blacked out in an affidavit filed in federal court. Grimsley had told investigators that he got amphetamines, anabolic steroids, and human growth hormone (HGH) from someone (later named as Kirk Radomski) recommended to him by former Yankees trainer Brian McNamee, who is a personal strength coach for Clemens and Pettitte. However, on October 3, 2006, the Washington Post reported that San Francisco United States attorney Kevin Ryan said that the Los Angeles Times report contained "significant inaccuracies." Contrary to the initial LA Times report, neither the name of Clemens nor Pettitte appeared in the affidavit submitted by Grimsley.

On December 13, 2007, Pettitte was one of several Yankees named in the Mitchell Report. Mitchell and his staff received the information on Pettitte from McNamee, who told them he injected Pettitte with HGH on 2–4 occasions in 2002 so that he would heal from an elbow injury quicker.

On December 15, 2007, Pettitte verified McNamee's claim, admitting to using the HGH on two occasions in 2002, as it was meant to help heal an injury, and not to enhance his performance. Pettitte said he felt an obligation to return to the team as quickly as possible. He denied any further usage of HGH during his career; he also denied use of steroids or any other performance-enhancing drug.

On February 13, 2008, in an affidavit made public as part of a hearing before the U.S. House of Representatives' Committee on Oversight and Governmental Reform, Pettitte admitted to additional injections of HGH twice in one day in 2004, using HGH obtained via prescription for his seriously ill father. Also in this affidavit Pettitte unequivocally recalled being told by former Yankees teammate Roger Clemens in 1999 or 2000 that Clemens had recently received injections of HGH. Clemens claimed during the noted hearing that Pettitte "misremembered" Clemens's 1999/2000 HGH remark, alleging that what Pettitte really heard was Clemens's reporting of his wife's use of HGH at that time, though earlier during this same hearing Clemens denied knowing of any use of HGH by his wife. McNamee corroborated Pettitte's recollection of events.

On February 18, 2008, Pettitte reported to Yankees spring training and apologized to fans for his past drug use. In the press conference, he said the performance-enhancing-drug scandal has put a "strain" on his relationship with close friend and former teammate Roger Clemens.

Andy Pettitte
Share |