Andy Pettitte Is King of The Hill in Playoffs

Andy Pettitte is this generation’s Whitey Ford. Both are pinstriped left-handers, big game pitchers and post-season marvels.

Ford, a Hall of Famer, won a record 10 World Series games in his storied career, and once pitched 33 2/3 consecutive scoreless innings, another Series record.

He holds the Yankee career record for victories with 236, and at .690 boasts the highest winning percentage in history for pitchers with more than 200 wins.

Ford, below right, was known as the Chairman of the Board.

Perhaps they ought to call Pettitte the King of the Hill.

When Pettitte knocked off the Minnesota Twins the other night in Game Two of the American League Divisional Series, he earned his 19th post-season win, a major league record.

Overall, Pettitte is 19-9 in the playoffs with a 3.87 ERA. Breaking it down, he’s 6-3 in the ALDS, 1-0 in the ALDS, 7-1 in the ALCS, 0-1 in the NLCS and 5-4 in the World Series.

Among Pettitte’s 19 wins are a 1-0 masterpiece against Atlanta’s John Smoltz, another big-game pitcher, in Game 5 of the 1996 World Series; a 3-0 win over the Padres that helped the Yankees sweep the Padres in 1998; and two wins over a Mariners team that earned him MVP honors in the 2001 ALCS. That Seattle team won an American League record 116 games during the regular season.

In 2003, Pettitte won the second game in all three playoff rounds after the Yankees lost the opener. And last year, he won the clincher in all three rounds as the Yankees won their 27th World Championship.

You’ve got to wonder if the Yankees might have avoided the worst playoff collapse in baseball history, losing a 3-0 lead to the Red Sox in the 2004 ALCS, if Pettitte wasn’t pitching for Houston that year.

Is Pettitte a Hall of Famer? That remains to be seen, but he certainly warrants strong consideration. On top of his post-season pedigree, Pettitte has a 240-138 record, and no pitcher with a career record 100 games over .500 has ever been denied entry into Cooperstown. A two-time 20-game winner, Pettitte has never finished a season under .500 in his 16-year career.

Pettitte’s admission that he used steroids won’t help his cause, but you can make a strong argument that the King of the Hill should be a Hall of Famer.

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5 Comments on “Andy Pettitte Is King of The Hill in Playoffs”

  1. TC says:

    Rick, never a serious Cy Young Candidate, 3.87 in post-season nothing to brag about, and steroids – he’s no Whitey Ford. Nice guy, nice number two pitcher, went to Houston for the $$$, no HoF IMHO.

  2. sportslifer says:

    Not saying he’s in, but Pettitte deserves a look. Other than Glavine and Johnson name a better lefty over the past 20 years. He’s a big gamer, one of the best pickoff moves ever, and a five-time champion. And a nice guy too. What’s not to like.

  3. yesterdays wine says:

    Hey Rick… I think Whitey Ford has THE best winning percentage of any pitcher with more than 200 wins, lefty or righty. Pedro Martinez’s .687 is second to Ford’s .690 according to baseball reference. But maybe there’s something I’m missing, stat-wise?

    • sportslifer says:

      You’re right Bob, Whitey For is tops, and with a 2.75 lifetime ERA to boot. Al Spalding, who pitched in the 1870s, actually had a higher winning percentage, 252-65 for .795.

  4. TC says:

    Rick, I think you brought this up before. I respect Andy, but he’s no Ford, and no HoFer. Career ERA of 3.88, post-season 3.87, no Cy Youngs, finished 2nd once. Let leagues in Victories once. A good number two pitcher and an accumulator who pitched for great hitting teams, with the best closer in history. Nice guy though.


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