Andy Pettitte posts powerful and positive professional pitching performance

from Bill Hass at


There’s a new leader in the clubhouse, and he’s likely to stay for a long time.

Andy Pettitte has passed Curt Schilling as the former Greensboro player with the most career victories in the major leagues. It was not unexpected – Pettitte trailed Schilling by just one win going into this season. Schilling officially retired (he was hurt all of 2008 and didn’t pitch) with 216 wins. Pettitte, who picked up his eighth win of the season Wednesday night, now has 223. There’s no other active pitcher currently in the Top 10, which is why it will be many years before anyone catches Pettitte, if anyone ever does.

The left-hander pitched for the Greensboro Hornets in 1992, posting a 10-4 record with a 2.20 ERA. Three years later, he made the Yankees roster and won 12 games. Pettitte’s career has been remarkable in its consistency – he has won at least a dozen games in 13 of his 14 seasons, failing only in 2004 when an injury limited him to 15 starts and a 6-4 record. Twice he has won 21 games (1996 and 2003).

Pettitte, now 37, should add to his total for another year or two and finish with more than 250 wins. He is rarely mentioned as a Hall of Fame candidate, mostly because of a high ERA. It’s 3.90 for his career and in nine of 15 seasons, including this one, it has been 4.00 or higher.

Yet he has displayed a knack for knowing how to win games, which not all pitchers with relatively high ERAs can do. Pettitte’s winning percentage is .632 and he has never had a losing season and only one .500 season (14-14 last year). Currently, he ranks 69th on the all-time wins list (fourth among current pitchers) and 48th in all-time winning percentage (ninth among current pitchers).

That’s pretty good stuff. There are pitchers in the Hall of Fame who can’t match those numbers.

Pettitte has also been a solid post-season pitcher with a 14-9 record and 3.96 ERA. In 11 World Series games he’s 3-4 with a 3.82 ERA.

One thing that may affect his Hall credentials is his admission that he used Human Growth Hormone twice in 2002 when he was trying to heal from an injury. He said he never used steroids. Whether voters hold the HGH use against him remains to be seen.

Elsewhere in this annual updated Top 10 list, Derek Jeter continues to pad his lead in hits and runs and move up in everything else. He may overtake Don Mattingly for first in doubles by the end of the season and will certainly move past Bobby Murcer into third in RBIs.

In pitching, Mariano Rivera keeps adding to his saves total. He’s up to 503 and the other nine guys on the list have 372 combined. I was finally able to round out a Top 10 list in this category by discovering that Mace Brown had 48 saves and Luis Arroyo had 44, good for sixth and seventh places. Bumped off the list were Jeff Lahti and Milkman Jim Turner, who each had 20.

Here are the lists (all statistics are through games of July 1).