The Yankees said today that pitcher Andy Pettitte would would hold a press conference at Yankee Stadium on Friday to announce his retirement from baseball.
Pettite was a key member on five Yankees teams that won the World Series and holds the major league record for most wins in the postseason with 19. The 38-year old lefty was debating whether or not to return for his 14th season with the club-- service time that was split by a three year sojourn with the Houston Astros starting in 2003--after going 11-3 and recording a 3.28 ERA in 21 starts in 2010 while missing two months spending time on the disabled list for a groin injury.
Pettitte is third on the Yankees' all-time wins list with 203 and has an overall record of 240-138. Pettitte was a fan favorite in New York because while never great, he was consistently very good for the Yankees, especially in the playoffs.
The debate over Pettitte's Hall of Fame credentials has already started. NBC Sports' Craig Calcaterra points out that Pettitte was never transcendent thought he usually came through during big moments. Calcaterra says that Pettitte is likely to get a lot of support based on his career-long consistency, number of World Series rings, and the fact he is well-liked. SN Nation's Rob Neyer makes a similar case, using historical data of pitchers with similar statistics to say that Pettitte will likely make the Hall of Fame. However, Neyer says, by the Hall of Fame's historical standards, Andy Pettitte is a marginal candidate who did everything well but nothing brilliantly, and would probably be enshrined after a moderately long wait. The consensus appears to be that while he was not an era-defining player--unless you take into account his performance-enhancing drug user status--Pettitte's career-long consistency and the fact he played for the Yankees will lead to him being elected to the Hall of Fame through one channel or another.
The Hall of Fame vote for Pettitte will not happen until 2016, and it will make for an interesting debate. Now is the time to admire the career of one of those baseball players who always seemed to be there, and either frustrated you to no end or brought you unbridled joy through his play.