Today: Jun 17, 2024

Core four down to one: Pettitte plans retirement after season

Jennifer Hoffer Sports Editor

    The iconic stare, the ferocious fist pump after a strikeout, the tip of the cap to the fans will be absent from Yankee Stadium next season. That’s right, Andy Pettitte just announced this weekend that he will retire at the conclusion of the 2013 season.

    His 18-year major league career is quickly coming to a close, especially with the Yankees just barely hanging onto a playoff bid.

    Not only is Pettitte’s career coming to an end, but a dynasty will be left with just one player of the “four-core” of the club.

    Posada is gone, Rivera is retiring, Pettitte just announced his retirement, so Jeter is the only one of the core-four that remains part of the team; and depending on how well he stays in shape in the offseason, next season may also be his last.

    Pettitte gives credit to his teammates for his dominant success over the years.

    “I’ve had the success that I’ve had because of so many great players that have been around me,” Pettitte said.

    It was the same old vintage Pettitte that was speaking at the press conference before hundreds of reporters. He was humble, put his teammates first, and was sincere to almost every question that was asked.

    As dominant as a pitcher Pettitte was he was never one to throw a no-hitter. But he had that special pitcher essence when he got to the mound and picked up the ball.      Teammates and fans had faith and trust in him, and that’s really all a pitcher needs.

New York Yankees starting pitcher Andy Pettitte throws against the Minnesota Twins

    His need to be perfect is reflective on the mound when he is struggling. His reactions and emotions are clear on the mound. He’s just the type of pitcher that wants to succeed and not make mistakes, and fumes when he does.

   “We laugh at him, because he’s always yelling at himself and talking to himself on the mound,” Derek Jeter said Friday. “It’s fun watching him beat himself up, because he expects to be perfect. Nobody’s perfect, but he has those expectations, and that’s the reason why he’s had so much success.”

    Kind of like Paul O’Neill did when he played for the Yankees, his emotions and reactions to things were always visible to the other players and fans. Whether it’s cracking a bat over his knee after a strikeout or shoving the huge cooler of water making ice fly everywhere in the dugout, O’Neill and Pettitte played the game with passion. And that will be missed on the mound when the Yankees take the field without him next season.

   “Do I feel like I’ve dominated this sport as a pitcher? No, I don’t,” Pettitte said. “Every outing for me, I feel like, has been an absolute grind, to tell you the truth. When I look at lineups and teams that I’m facing, it seems like every hitter’s hitting .300 off of me, you know?”

 Pettitte has a lot to look back on though. He has five World Series rings and made 12 appearances in the playoff picture. He was in 13 American League Division Series, one National League Division Series, nine American League Championship games, one National League Championship game, and eight World Series.

    If anyone has been dominant in the postseason, Andy Pettitte’s the guy. He’s recorded all winning records in the postseason except in 2005 when Pettitte was with the Houston Astros.

    Yankees fans were devastated about losing one of the most humble and loved players after the 2003 season, and thought his career was over after announcing his retirement after the 2005 season.

    No one ever saw him coming back to the major leagues until the 2007 when Pettitte returned to baseball and wanted to return as a Yankee. Fans obviously embraced him with open arms. Pettitte retired again in 2011 from the Yankees.

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   But clearly that time was not right for Pettitte to retire as he would find himself again in pinstripes in the 2012 season.

    He returned strong, recording a record of 15-9 that 2007 season, with a 4.51 earned run average. While also helping his team to the American League Division Series where they would lose to Cleveland, eliminating them from the playoffs that year.

    Pettitte has a 19-11 win-loss record in the postseason with an earned run average of 3.51.

   Pettitte pitched great for a long time. And he won. He won a lot for the Yankees. But he’s confident and sure of his decision.

    “It just feels right,” Pettitte said. “I just feel like my time here is done. My run’s over. I can’t be happier with my decision. I’ve been retired and I know what it’s going to be like. It’s awesome, and I love it.”

  Pettitte and Rivera are both huge losses for the Yankees. They are two humble pitchers, who bring something special to the field that you don’t normally find in a player on an everyday basis.

    They both will be missed greatly. But here’s to the future. If genes are good to Andy’s family and in particular to his son, Josh Pettitte, the Yankees are maybe looking into another Pettitte. Josh was just recently signed by the Yankees in the offseason earlier this year.

    I mean, no one can replace Pettitte and the memories he’s brought to New York will forever be cherished. But the Yankees have to rebuild now. It’s time to make room for a new dynasty team to emerge.

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