It almost seems impossible, but in a season of milestones, broken records, and great Yankee moments, the lack of the first retired member of the Core Four went almost unnoticed. Sure, his name was brought up when mentioning the group, but I was mildly surprised that nobody really stopped and said “It’s a shame Andy Pettitte isn’t here”.
Turn on a Yankees Classic on YES and chances are Andy Pettitte is the starting pitcher. The man was a rock in the Yankees rotation for 13 years. He was the man you wanted on the mound in a Postseason game. Pettitte was not only a great pitcher but probably one of the best guys in baseball. With the exception of his confessed HGH use, Andy stood out as a fine example of class, integrity and leadership.
I can’t be the only one who laments the fact that Mariano’s record-setting, and breaking, saves were recorded in games started by AJ Burnett right? Or the fact that he wasn’t standing there with along side Jorge Posada and Mariano Rivera, waiting with open arms as Derek Jeter crossed the plate after launching hit number 3000 into the stands. I can’t be the only one disappointed that the two former battery mates weren’t reunited during Posada’s only catching appearance. Or that it was Jorge and A Rod who pushed Mo back to the mound and not Jorge and Andy? I’ve said it before, maybe I am just too sentimental.
The postseason starts on Friday and this will be only the fourth year since 1995 that Andy Pettitte has not been in it. First off, let me say, that is just a crazy number. In a 16 year career, only three years where he was an active player did he not go to the postseason. It will be strange not seeing his name in the mix for the postseason rotation. His postseason numbers are ridiculous and though you could argue that this is more a result of quantity over quality, there are not many other pitchers I would feel as comfortable with in an important post season game. With as many question as there are for the Yankees postseason rotation, it sure would be nice to have number 46 right in the middle of it.
I can’t predict what might have happened had Andy decided to pitch this year. It sure seemed he had something left in the tank and maybe he could have added some steadiness to a rather crazy year. It is almost petty to have asked for more from a 39-year-old man who gave 13 year of service to the New York Yankees, the same Yankees who hold the best record in the AL and have been a lock for the postseason for almost a week at the time of writing this post. It is entirely possible that Pettitte might not have added any more value than the spare parts platter of Colon and Garcia. He certainly showed last year that he was not immune from the injuries that tend to plague pitchers who are pushing 40. Who knows what might have happened, but I do know I certainly missed the sight of the big lefty staring down a batter over his glove and then pumping his fist after a beautifully turned double play.