Andy Pettitte is a multi-time World Series champion, and a pillar of the Joe Torre era Yankees. While there are many great accomplishments and statistics to Pettitte’s Hall of Fame credentials, there is still the spectre of the PED controversy that complicates his consideration and legacy.
Let’s begin with discussing the main factor against him; his admission of HGH usage pre-ban. It should be noted that HGH was not banned in the MLB until 2005. It should also be considered that while many of baseball’s greats have denied PED usage even to this day, Pettitte came forward and told the truth. The simple fact that Pettite came clean about his PED usage should be strongly acknowledged when considering his HOF bid.
There isn’t a question around Andy Pettitte being one of the greatest pitchers in New York Yankees history, and was one of the very best in the game during his 18-year career.
There are some questions when you delve deeper into his career statistics.
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Andy Pettites Hall of Fame credentials by the numbers
Career: 256-153 (.636 WL%), 3.85 ERA
Career: 117 ERA+ , 60.7 WAR
Two-time 20-game winner
5 times in the top 6 of Cy Young Award voting
Career postseason: 19-11, 3.81 ERA in 276.2 IP
Won 5 World Championships with the New York Yankees
If hall of fame voters just considered wins, Pettitte would be entering the hall without question. Pettitte’s 256 career wins are historically significant but some will argue that spending nearly his entire career with the Yankees has inflated that statistic. While his stats have mostly been with the Yankees, it is notable that Pettitte has never recorded a losing season.
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While a strong argument, wins are wins and voters are not likely to hold where Pettitte recorded them against him.
Pettitte, who has had incredible team accomplishments, has never been one of the top MLB pitchers of his era from a purely statistical standpoint. This aspect of his hall credentials are highlighted by Pettitte never leading the majors in all important ERA or WAR. While his career 60.7 WAR is on the low end, there are over 20 inducted pitchers who have had lower
Where Andy Pettite’s Hall of Fame chances stand today
Even with all of the mentioned career statistics, and team accomplishments Pettitte finds himself looking from the outside of hall of fame consideration. Currently on the ballot in front of Pettitte are historical greats Roger Clemens and Curt Schilling. Both Schilling and Clemens were better at making batter miss, preventing runs and had their own share of postseason success. In Pettitte’s 2019 ballot debut, he received just 9.9% of the votes, a far cry of the 75% threshold for induction. On the 2020 ballot, Pettitte received a small increase to 11.3% of the votes. While attitudes regarding PEDs haven’t changed much, statistically there is still a chance for Pettitte in years to come.