Results tagged ‘ Andy Pettitte ’

Announcements from Pettitte, Chipper have fans thinking Cooperstown

By Craig Muder

The breaking news has been flying fast and furious out of Spring Training this week.

Chipper Jones is retiring. Andy Pettitte is returning. And the conjecture is resuming: Will either or both of these two fantastic players make it to Cooperstown?

Predicting the future of the Baseball Writers’ Association of America Hall of Fame vote is best left to those who have a vote. But the eligibility rules for Hall of Fame candidates remain perfectly clear.

Start with Chipper, who announced Thursday that the 2012 season will be his last as a Braves player. If he plays in at least one game this year and hangs ‘em up as planned, Jones would be eligible for the Hall of Fame in 2018. Eligible candidates must not have appeared in a big league game in five straight seasons, meaning Jones would need to stay retired in 2013, ’14, ’15, ’16 and ’17 before he appears on the BBWAA ballot.

The 1999 National League Most Valuable Player has 454 home runs and 1,561 in both the runs and RBI categories – talk about symmetry – entering the 2012 season. Among Hall of Fame third basemen – Chipper has made 82 percent of his big league appearances in the field at the hot corner – only Mike Schmidt and Eddie Mathews have more home runs and only Schmidt and George Brett have more RBI (Jones trails Brett, the Hall of Fame leader among third basemen, by just 35 RBI).

Pettitte, meanwhile, is returning to the big leagues after retiring following the 2010 season. Technically, Pettitte’s Hall of Fame clock has not yet been reset – since that happens only when a player appears in a regular-season game.

As of today, Pettitte remains eligible for the Hall of Fame Class of 2016 – assuming he adds 2012, ’13, ’14 and ’15 to his non-active 2011 season. The 240-game winner, who also holds the MLB record for most postseason wins with 19, has pitched in 16 big league seasons and been a part of eight World Series teams and five World Series champions.

Craig Muder is the director of communications for the National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum.

Sixteen calls

Muder_90.jpgBy Craig Muder

Start the clock on the Hall of Fame candidacy of Andy Pettitte.

The smooth-as-silk lefty, one of the most consistent starting pitchers of the last decade and a postseason workhorse, ended months of speculation on Friday by announcing his retirement. Unless he has a change of heart and returns to the big league diamond, Pettitte will become Hall of Fame-eligible with the Class of 2016.

02-04-11-Muder_Pettitte.jpgHis final regular-season numbers: a record of 240-138, with a 3.88 earned-run average and 2,251 strikeouts in 16 seasons. Only 12 left-handers in history have won more big league games: Seven are Hall of Famers, and two – Randy Johnson and Tom Glavine – are not yet Hall of Fame-eligible.

In the postseason, Pettitte was 19-10 – no pitcher ever won more playoff games – and a 3.83 ERA. His teams advanced to the postseason in 81 percent of Pettitte’s seasons (13 of 16), and Pettitte won at least one postseason game in nine of his 13 tries.

He walks away from the game with five World Series rings.

Pettitte’s Hall of Fame credentials will be debated for years, but this much is certain: Of all the Hall of Fame pitchers with at least 240 victories, only seven have a regular-season winning percentage better than Pettitte’s .635. And of those seven, only one – Jim Palmer – began his career after World War II.

Whether it was April or October, all Andy Pettitte did was win.

Craig Muder is the director of communications for the National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum.

Golf with Goose

Muder_90.jpgBy Craig Muder

For 22 big league seasons, Goose Gossage scared big league batters like no other pitcher.

03-01-10-Muder_Gossage.jpgBut put Gossage on a golf course, and the fearsome reliever turned into a terrified rookie.

“I never golfed – or rarely golfed – when I was a player,” Gossage said. “I didn’t want to be on a golf course all day and then come to the park and screw up a game. But I remember the first golf tournament I ever played in was a day off in Chicago with White Sox. I duck-hooked a ball – I used to swing from my butt – and I hit a ball right over Whitey Ford’s head in the other fairway. I was petrified. If it had hit him, I’d have killed him.”

Ford, a Hall of Famer like Gossage, survived his brush with fate. And this summer, a few lucky fans will share their moment with a legend when Gossage and six other Hall of Famers play in the Cooperstown Golf Classic June 19 at the Leatherstocking Golf Course.

The Cooperstown Golf Classic, a fundraiser for the National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum, is part of Hall of Fame Classic Weekend. The Classic, to be held on Father’s Day at historic Doubleday Field in Cooperstown, will feature seven Hall of Famers along with more than 20 recently retired major leaguers in a legends game.

03-01-10-Muder_GossageGolf.jpgThe Cooperstown Golf Classic will be held the day before on June 19 and will feature Gary Carter, Rollie Fingers, Harmon Killebrew, Phil Niekro, Mike Schmidt, Ozzie Smith and Gossage. Limited to just 28 golfers, participants will have a chance to team with a Hall of Famer and share in the camaraderie with golfers of all skill level in a scramble format.

“I really didn’t start golfing until I left baseball in 1994, but now I’m out there all the time,” said Gossage, a Spring Training instructor with the Yankees who has spent time on the golf course recently with players like Andy Pettitte. “At this stage of my life, golf is one of the only things left to challenge you. It’s going to be a lot of fun to golf in Cooperstown. I can’t wait to get out there with the guys.”

For information and to reserve your spot for the Cooperstown Golf Classic, call 607-547-0310 or visit us online.

Craig Muder is director of communications for the National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum.

Cooperstown sporting an Empire State of Mind

Muder_90.jpgBy Craig Muder

There’s something almost regal about it.

The white jersey, the navy pinstripes. The distinctive “NY” below the left shoulder that could almost be an unofficial World Series logo.

The New York Yankees have come home to Cooperstown.

11-19-09-Muder_Artifacts.jpgThe National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum opened the new Autumn Glory exhibit today, featuring more than a dozen artifacts from the 2009 postseason. Treasures from the Yankees’ 27th World Series title highlight the display, which features items such as the spikes Johnny Damon wore during his double steal in Game 4 of the World Series; the bat used by World Series Most Valuable Player Hideki Matsui in Game 6 of the Series; and tickets from all six World Series games.

Front-and-center, however, is the jersey Andy Pettitte wore when he won Game 6 of the American League Championship Series. With that win, Pettitte not only became the all-time postseason victory leader with 16 wins but also put the Yankees in the World Series for the first time in six seasons.

Phillies artifacts are also featured in Autumn Glory, including Cliff Lee’s postseason cap. The artifacts will remain on display through the 2010 postseason as the Museum celebrates all the achievements of 2009.

After eight World Series without a Yankees championship, New Yorkers – and Yankee fans everywhere – are once again front-and-center in Cooperstown.

Craig Muder is director of communications for the National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum.

Pettitte sends some history to Hall of Fame

Muder_90.jpgBy Craig Muder

NEW YORK – Andy Pettitte’s celebration lasted only a few minutes in the crowded Yankees’ clubhouse. After that, the record-setting left-hander sought refuge in the training room.

For Pettitte, it has always been about the final outcome rather than the stops along the way.

10-30-09-Muder_Pettitte.jpgBut whatever the result of the World Series, the memories of Game 6 of the 2009 American League Championship Series will never fade – thanks to Pettitte’s generosity and the National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum.

Pettitte donated his No. 46 jersey to the Hall of Fame following his Oct. 25 victory against the Angels in Game 6 of the ALCS. The win gave Pettitte 16 postseason victories, breaking a tie with John Smoltz for the most all-time.

With the win, Pettitte cemented his place as one of the best postseason pitchers ever. Though he has pitched his entire career in the three-round playoff era, it is impossible to minimize his 16-9 postseason record (prior to this year’s World Series), his 38 postseason starts or his 237.1 postseason innings – all of which are records.

When this era of Yankees’ success is viewed through the prism of history, Pettitte will stand out. His focus in big games has left Yankees fans covered in glory for parts of two decades.

Now, that history will be preserved forever in Cooperstown.

Craig Muder is the director of communications for the National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum.

Rising in the fall

Hayes_90.jpgBy Trevor Hayes

A look at some of baseball’s record chasers as the last month of the season gets under way:


9-4-09-Hayes_HowardKlein.jpgRanking Ryan:
With August coming to a close, Ryan Howard cemented his name in the Phillies record book yet again. Last Friday marked his third multi-homer game of the month, tying the Phils record for a single calendar month. Among the five others to do it are Hall of Famers Chuck Klein (August 1931) and Mike Schmidt (August 1974 and August 1983). Howard’s teammate Chase Utley (September 2006) is on the list as well.

The last week also saw Howard drive in his 600th career run in just his 693rd game. That’s the fastest for any major-league player since 1946, when Ted Williams collected his 600th RBI in his 675th game.

Elite Pettitte: Though he lost a perfect game bid in the seventh inning, Andy Pettitte’s win on the final day of August made him the third winningest pitcher in Yankees history. He had been tied with Hall of Famer Lefty Gomez at 189. Only Whitey Ford (236) and Red Ruffing (231) have more wins in Yankee history.

9-4-09-Hayes_Uggla.jpgPower at second: Florida’s Dan Uggla belted his 25th homer Wednesday, making him the third second baseman to hit at least 25 dingers in four straight seasons. The others are Alfonso Soriano (2002-05) and Hall of Famer Ryne Sandberg (1989-92). Unlike the others, however, Uggla has done it all in the first four years of his career.

Remembering Roberto: In October, the Hall of Fame will hold its second Character and Courage weekend to honor the achievements and spirit of Jackie Robinson, Lou Gehrig and Roberto Clemente. Major League Baseball, meanwhile, is in the midst of its own celebration of the Pirates’ legend.

9-4-09-Hayes_Clemente.jpgWednesday was the eighth annual Roberto Clemente Day, and MLB’s teams announced their nominees for the Roberto Clemente Award, which seeks to find the player “who best exemplifies the game of baseball, sportsmanship, community involvement and the individual’s contribution to his team.”

Prior to Clemente’s tragic death on New Year’s Eve 1972 while delivering supplies to earthquake victims in Nicaragua, the award was simply called the Commissioner’s Award. Last year’s winner was NL MVP Albert Pujols, and the names on the award read like a who’s who of the game’s greats since 1971 – the first year it was given out.

Hall of Famers have won the award 13 times, including Willie Mays, who received the honor the first year, Al Kaline, who was the first winner of the award after it was renamed in Clemente’s honor; Clemente’s teammate Willie Stargell. Other Hall of Famers who won the Clemente Award include Brooks Robinson, Lou Brock, Rod Carew, Phil Niekro, Gary Carter, Cal Ripken, Jr., Dave Winfield, Ozzie Smith, Kirby Puckett and Tony Gwynn.

Trevor Hayes is the editorial production manager at the National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum.

300-game winners just keep coming

Muder_90.jpgBy Craig Muder

For a generation of baseball fans, Randy Johnson’s win over Washington on Thursday night marks a moment they may not see again.

But history suggests that — while another 300-win pitcher may be at least a decade away — Johnson will not be the last man to reach pitching’s holy grail.

6-5-09-Muder_Johnson.jpgJohnson became just the 24th pitcher to record 300 big league victories, and his countdown to immortality has officially started. Of the 23 other pitchers with 300 wins, 20 are enshrined at the Baseball Hall of Fame. The other three — Roger Clemens, Tom Glavine and Greg Maddux — are not yet eligible.

But along with the comparisons to baseball’s best-ever pitchers, Johnson’s milestone has brought out the naysayers: Those who insist that this 300-game winner will be the last.

After five pitchers — Gaylord Perry, Steve Carlton, Tom Seaver, Phil Niekro, Don Sutton — joined the 300-club in the 1980s, many pundits insisted that they were the last of their breed. The decline of the complete game combined with the rise of relief pitchers would surely mean the end of the 300-winner, they said. 

And yet, the 300-game winners kept coming. Nolan Ryan in 1990. Roger Clemens in 2003. Greg Maddux in 2004. And Tom Glavine in 2007.

In fact, the four pitchers to reach the milestone since 2000 represent the most for any decade — save the 1980s (5) and the 1890s (4) — in baseball history.

6-5-09-Muder_JohnsonAction.jpgSure, a few years may pass before the next 300-game winner emerges. Jamie Moyer is second behind Johnson on the active list with 250 wins, but Moyer is already 46 years old. Next up is 36-year-old Andy Pettitte with 220 wins. In fact, only two active pitchers under the age of 30 have at least 100 victories: Jon Garland and CC Sabathia.

Yet baseball history is full of long gaps between 300-game winners — even back in the complete-game era. From 1964-1981, no pitcher joined the 300-win club. And in the 36-year span from 1925-1960, only Lefty Grove reached the milestone.

So while Randy Johnson’s performance on Thursday should be celebrated, it should also be a reminder. History happens every day in baseball — something that won’t change any time soon.

Craig Muder is director of communications for the National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum.

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