Josh Pettitte broke the news via Twitter on Sunday that his father, Andy, will have his number 46 retired by the Yankees this summer on Aug. 23.
Pettitte will have his number and a plaque dedicated to him in Yankee Stadium’s Monument Park. A member of the Core Four, Pettitte joins teammate Mariano Rivera as the second member of the four to be enshrined in Monument Park.
With so many great players on the Yankee teams of the late 1990s and early 2000s, it’s h=ard to find any that were more instrumental to their success than Andy Pettitte. In just his second season with the Yankees in 1996, the left-hander amassed 21 wins in what would be the first of many great seasons of his eighteen-year career. He also went 2-1 in the postseason that year, helping the Yankees win their first World Series since 1978.
That was just the beginning. Pettitte earned double-digit victories for the next seven seasons and was a part of three more championships in 1998, 1999 and 2000. He was also a member of the Yankee World Series teams of 2001, earning American League Championship Series’ MVP, and 2003. Pettitte left the Yankees for three seasons, reaching the World Series with the Houston Astros in 2005 and earning double digit wins in two of those seasons, but returned to pinstripes in 2007.
He earned another World Series championship with the Yankees in 2009, his fifth overall, and retired in 2011, only to come back and play another two years for the team in 2012 and 2013 before actually retiring for good.
Pettitte’s numbers in the regular season don’t exactly jump out at you, but he was, without a doubt, above average. He ended his career 256-153, never having a losing record and going .500 in only two seasons (2008 and 2013), with a 3.85 ERA and giving up a little more than a hit per inning pitched.
However, his postseason numbers are absolutely absurd. His 19 wins are the most in postseason history, and in 44 games started and 276.2 innings pitched he had a 3.81 ERA and struck out 183 batters. He also had one of the most dangerous pickoff moves in the game, fooling even the best baserunners.
Aside from his on-the-field accolades, though, Pettitte was also remembered for being brought up in the Mitchell Report for his use of performance enhancing drugs. Pettitte admitted to using human growth hormones twice to recover from an elbow injury in 2002, but apologized for it and said he did it only to heal faster and not enhance his performance.
Rather than deny the allegations like many of his other baseball counterparts did at this time, Pettitte came right out and admitted to what he did and what he used the substance for. As a result, you don’t hear it brought up as much as other players who were also on the report.
It was a thrill to watch Andy Pettitte while I was growing up in New York. His poise on the mound and composure in the toughest situations on the biggest stage of them all made him one of the greatest Yankees I have ever watched. Pettitte deserves his plaque in Monument Park, and probably in Cooperstown as well.