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Did Pettitte’s 250 Lock Him for Hall of Fame?

By Mike Silva ~ June 11th, 2013. Filed under: Hall of Fame, New York Yankees.

Andy Pettitte locked up his 250th career win this past weekend against the Mariners. It now could be said the win also locked up his Hall of Fame candidacy, something that many thought was dead and buried after his retirement in 2010.

The naysayers will point out how Pettitte is the anti-Hall of Famer. He is good, not great. He is more a model of consistency than dominance. You could even point out the advantages he’s enjoyed playing with the best closer in the history of the game, as well as the Yankees’ resources. Although all are fair points I don’t believe you punish players for good fortune.

Wins have become the worst barometer for success in the modern sabermetric world. Jack Morris‘ entire HOF candidacy is viewed more on wins, which aren’t controllable, and anecdotes instead of the consistency he enjoyed during the 80s. Pettitte falls into a similar category except his performance north of 30 has dwarfed anything achieved by Morris. You could argue that Pettitte is a better pitcher today at 41 than during his mid-twenties.

There are ten pitchers with 250 or more wins that aren’t in the Hall of Fame.

Tom Glavine

Roger Clemens

Greg Maddux

Randy Johnson

Tommy John

Jim Kaat

Mike Mussina

Jamie Moyer

Jack Morris

Some are waiting for their turn (Maddux, Glavine and Johnson); while others (Clemens) have to hope the voters forget about their PED transgressions. Moyer, John and Kaat have unique careers that are more models of aging well than consistency. Morris may get in with the Veterans Committee since the sabermetricians have made him a sacrificial lamb for their movement. Its possible Mussina is the only “non-lock” that has a legitimate case for the Hall. I probably would have voted for Moose even before his final season in which he won 20 games. With that said, if Mussina is a Hall of Famer then Pettitte should be one, as well.

So why Pettitte? His ERA+ is right there with other Hall members (I am counting Glavine as a given) with 3,000+ innings pitched.

Bert Blyleven 118
Tom Glavine 118
Gaylord Perry 117
Andy Pettitte 117
Dennis Eckersley 116
Steve Carlton 115
Phil Niekro 115
Fergie Jenkins 115
Jim Bunning 115
Robin Roberts 113
Nolan Ryan 112

His Wins Above Replacement (59) would place him at 31, ahead of  names such as Whitey FordDizzy Dean and Sandy Koufax.

You can slice the pie anyway you want it. Pettitte doesn’t have a Cy Young Award (neither did Nolan Ryan), MVP or many top-five elite seasons. Shouldn’t consistency and improvement be important when judging baseball’s greatest honor? Are there many pitchers today that you would ask to take a big start over Pettitte? I might give it to him over his teammate and Cy Young winner, CC Sabathia.

There is the possibility Pettitte’s admission to using HgH will factor into his candidacy. He handled that scenario with honesty and class, the antithesis of what you saw with Clemens, Sosa and McGwire. If anything it may have endeared him to the voters more than before.

Once the voters allowed fringe candidates to enter the Hall they opened it up to others. It seems modern players take a hit because of PEDS, but also due to the fact they have technology and monetary resources that allow for a longer career. That, quite simply, isn’t fair or an intellectually honest argument.

I probably would vote for Mike Mussina, and would also support Andy Pettitte‘s induction.

It won’t happen on the first ballot, and may not come until the Veterans Committee calls. Regardless, if Catfish Hunter and Lefty Gomez are in the Hall of Fame, then Pettitte should probably be a lock.

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Mike Silva has hosted sports shows on 107.1 FM Champions ESPN Radio Long Island ,1240 AM WGBB , Blog Talk Radio and live from Mickey Mantle’s Restaurant. He’s also built and maintained two popular social media hubs: New York Baseball Digest and Sports Media Watchdog. Mike has broken national and local stories, as well as been mentioned on the YES Network, SNY.tv, WFAN, Sports Illustrated, ESPN, NY Daily News, New York Magazine, Journal News and the NY Post. Contact Mike professionally at mikesilvamedia.com

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