NEW YORK – A potential Hall-of-Fame career for one of the best left-handed pitchers of the past twenty years has finally ended, as the New York Yankees released a statement Friday afternoon announcing the retirement of Andy Pettitte:
“I’m announcing my retirement prior to the conclusion of our season because I want all of our fans to know now—while I’m still wearing this uniform—how grateful I am for their support throughout my career. I want to have the opportunity to tip my cap to them during these remaining days and thank them for making my time here with the Yankees so special.”
“I’ve reached the point where I know that I’ve left everything I have out there on that field. The time is right. I’ve exhausted myself, mentally and physically, and that’s exactly how I want to leave this game.”
“One of the things I struggled with in making this announcement now was doing anything to take away from Mariano’s day on Sunday. It is his day. He means so much to me, and has meant so much to my career that I would just hate to somehow take the attention away from him.”
He previously retired from baseball after the 2010 season, but returned to the Yankees in 2012. He will make just two more starts for the Yankees – at home against the San Francisco Giants on Sunday, and in Houston during the team’s final series of the season. Ironically, Sunday is the day when the Yankees will do a pre-game tribute to Pettitte’s long-time teammate, Mariano Rivera, who is also retiring at season’s end.
Pettitte, 41, owns a 255-152 career record with a 3.86 ERA in 529 appearances (519 starts) over 18 Major League seasons. At 103 games over .500 in his career, he is the only active pitcher—and one of just 26 pitchers in Baseball history—to post a record of 100-or-more games over .500. Of the 25 other pitchers to accomplish the feat, 18 have been enshrined in the Baseball Hall of Fame.
Pettitte’s postseason numbers are even better. He currently is the winningest pitcher in playoff history, sporting a 19-11 record and a 3.81 ERA in 44 career starts. He also ranks first in postseason starts and innings pitched, and is second with 183 career strikeouts.
The popular left-hander spent 15 of his 18 big league seasons in the Bronx, with a three-year stint playing for his hometown Houston Astros. Pettitte’s 218 wins as a Yankee rank third on the team’s all-time list, trailing just Whitey Ford and Red Ruffing, while his 2,009 strikeouts as a Yankee have made him the team’s all-time leader and the first Yankee to surpass the 2,000 strikeout mark. Assuming Pettitte makes his final two starts of the regular season, he will end his career tied with Whitey Ford for the most games started in Yankees history.
A three-time All-Star and five-time World Champion, Pettitte holds the distinction of being the only pitcher in Baseball history to pitch at least 17 Major League seasons without ever finishing with a losing record.