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Is Andy Pettitte a Hall of Famer?

Andy Pettitte is one of my favorite athletes of all time.

I was truly saddened to hear that he was retiring - saddened by the fact that I will never get a chance to see him pitch again, and saddened by the fact that a 350-pound Hispanic gorilla now has a significant chance at gaining a spot in the Yankees rotation.

A question that I keep hearing is, “Does he deserve to be in the Hall of Fame?”

To me, this one really is a no-brainer.

Pettitte does NOT deserve to be in the Hall of Fame, and it really shouldn’t be that much of a discussion. Pettitte had a very nice, long career. He was a good pitcher for a very long time on some great teams.

I don’t have a vote for the Baseball Hall of Fame. Shocking, I know.

But to me, the two main criteria that a Hall of Famer should meet:

1. A dominant player for an extended period of time (at least six years).

2. At one point or another, was in the discussion for “best player at his position”(although there are exceptions to this one).

Notice that I didn’t include something along the lines of “won a championship”. Here’s why (this might shock and offend some); championships are won by TEAMS. Let that soak in for a minute.

Winning championships is always the ultimate goal in sports. Every team is ultimately evaluated by the amount of championships they win, and that’s the way it should be. But how is it fair to judge a player based on the performance of 24 other guys?

Postseason performance should absolutely be a factor, and Andy Pettitte certainly was a great postseason performer. But I really am sick of hearing “five-time champion” as part of his “Hall of Fame credentials”.

Andy Pettitte is not a heavy weight boxer, he did not go out and knock somebody out in a pay-per-view classic. Was he an integral part of the championship teams? Absolutely.

But the key words there are “part” and “team”. The Hall of Fame inducts players as individuals, and Pettitte should not be rewarded for being on a great team when being evaluated as a candidate.

As far as the criteria I do have listed, does Pettitte meet either of them?

“A dominant player for an extended period of time.” Pettitte had a couple of great seasons, but he finished in the top three of Cy Young voting just once. For the most part, Pettitte’s ERA hovered in the high three to low four range, hardly what I’d call dominant.

“At one point or another, was in the discussion for ‘best player at his position’”. At no point in his career was Pettitte anywhere near this discussion, and if you think otherwise you are sadly mistaken.

As for there being an exception to this rule - if there is a truly dominant player that will always be the best at his position, then the other players at that position obviously won’t be in the discussion for “best at his position” because there simply is no discussion, i.e – Ken Griffey Jr. in the 90’s and Albert Pujols right now.

For the record, saying a player doesn’t deserve to make the Hall of Fame is not a criticism. Andy Pettitte had a great career as a durable and very reliable pitcher. He pitched 200 innings in 10 out of 16 seasons, a truly impressive feat in the age of the glass-armed pitcher.

But when I think Hall of Famer, I think Albert Pujols. I think Randy Johnson. I think Ken Griffey Jr. I think Kaz Matsui.

If someone were to ask you if one of these guys deserves to be in the Hall of Fame, would you even hesitate to say yes?

Another thing I’ve heard and read is “Well, if Bert Blyleven got in, Pettitte should definitely get in!” There are so many things that are wrong with that statement that I don’t even know where to begin, but I have to begin somewhere so here it is.

I hate that players such as Bert Blyleven and Andre Dawson are in the Hall of Fame.

Nothing against them personally, they were both very good players at one point or another. But a player should not be inducted just because he stuck around for long enough to compile big career numbers.

Next, can I just point out how insanely idiotic the philosophy of “Well, we made a mistake with this guy, so let’s reward somebody else for making that mistake and giving him something he clearly doesn’t deserve!” Bert Blyleven has no business being in the Hall of Fame. The voters royally screwed that one up. Andy Pettitte is certainly less unqualified (wow that sounds dumb) than Bert Blyleven. But this simply does not equate to Andy Pettitte being a Hall of Famer.

If Pettitte were to be elected on this premise, I guess you’d simply have to make a “Law of Bert” for the Hall of Fame. “Is he better than Bert? He is? He’s got my vote.”

Just to beat a dead horse even more, and God knows how much fun it is to beat a dead horse, lets relate this to something outside of sports (and if you’ve ever read any of my other dry-humor laced (the type of dry-humor that makes you ask yourself, “is he kidding or does he have some form of aspergers?”) articles, you know I love doing that). And yes, I just used parenthesis inside of a parenthesized statement, piss off.

Let’s say a guy kills his wife. It’s blatantly obvious to everyone that he did it. However, when he gets to court, there is slightly less evidence against him than there was against O.J Simpson when he (allegedly) murdered his wife. Would it be okay to rule this guy innocent?

Now you’re probably thinking to yourself, “How long before this jackass acknowledges that he was kidding about Kaz Matsui?” Well, there ya go.

But more importantly, you’re probably thinking, “Did you really just compare the Hall of Fame induction process to a hypothetical homicide trial?”

Trust me, it made sense when I first thought of it.

6 comments:

  1. I really can't stand the "5 time champion" argument either. Under that logic shouldn't Hank Bauer be in the Hall of Fame? 3 All-Star appearances and 7 rings! Or how about Frankie Crosetti? He has 8!

    The only argument Pettitte does have is that over the past 15 seasons he has won more games than any other pitcher in baseball. But really that's just a compliment to his durability and consistency (and the luck of playing for winning teams). The HOF is about dominance not durability and consistency.

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  2. If the HOF is really meant to be a shrine of reward for the best of the best there is no way he is in, if it is for the fans maybe how else can you explain Blyleven I mean what the heck happened there, and yes Dawson to. I remember the good old days when we were discussing the worst players in the HOF and now with those two it takes 1 second in Blyleven.

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  3. Totally agree 100%... nice to see a Yankee fan realize this is a no-brainer.

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  4. people need to look at Blyleven's stats, if he was on a good team he probably could have had 350 wins...his win-loss was under .500 several seasons when his ERA was below 3.00. He acculumated the 13th most WAR ever for pitchers (90 WAR), he is in between randy johnson and christy mathewson on that list. Pretty much any pitcher who's ever played and posted a WAR of over 70 is an automatic hall of famer (besides maybe Mike Mussina) so i don't even think this is close.

    I know certain people don't like sabermetrics but you can't ignore WAR, his career ERA is 3.31 and he threw almost 5000 innings and piched 242 complete games with 60 SHUTOUTS..I don't see this was even a debate honestly. He definitely is not the worst hall of famer

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  5. To be honest I never closely looked at bert blylevens career until now. He had some good #s but literally never led the league in a single statistc once. I'm sorry I refuse to look at WAR as a fair statistic when evaluating somebody, I will never believe that bert blyleven is anywhere near the 13th best pitcher of all time. He may have had a stronger career than pettitte but that's honestly not even the point of the article. To be frank I don't really care one bit about blyleven.

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  6. yes, Andy belongs in the HOF without question. Why? He was the backbone of all those championships. Why? Because of a stat not many people know about. He has the best record all time after a team loss. Making him a perfect fit at the center of the rotation. He kept out the losing streaks. Post Season too. He was not a great #1 starter, but more importantly he stabilized the entire rotation. No question one of the best pitchers ever because of this

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