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Quote of the Day: Reggie Jackson on Andy Pettitte’s Hall of Fame chances

Oct 18, 2010, 5:32 PM EDT

New York Yankees starter Pettitte pitches to the Minnesota Twins during the first inning of Game 2 of their MLB ALDS baseball playoffs in Minneapolis

Here’s Reggie Jackson taking about tonight’s matchup:

“I think if Andy beats Lee, it would make any [Hall of Fame] voter that’s on the borderline put him in. I think Andy has a strong resume now for the Hall of Fame, and I think he’ll already get strong consideration. But something like this would give him additional consideration.”

People are pretty simple creatures. We approve when people do like we do. We disapprove when people do differently. If something we did made us great, of course we’re going to think that someone else behaving similarly is great too. In light of that, perhaps we shouldn’t be surprised that a guy who is best known for what he did in one postseason game puts undue emphasis on what another player may or may not do in one postseason game.

That said, Reggie Jackson had more than one great game on his Hall of Fame resume. It took an entire career’s worth of work to get him to Cooperstown.  My gut feeling: Andy Pettitte, for all of his accomplishments, doesn’t have the same quality of a career, and I don’t think he’s ultimately a Hall of Fame pitcher, whether he beats Cliff Lee or not.

I don’t think he’s a Jack Morris case (i.e. a guy no one with sense should consider for the Hall). I will understand one day when people push hard for him. But in my mind, he’s Hall of Very Good. He’s Hall of Excellent Postseason. But he’s not, in my mind, a Hall of Famer.

I’m going to go out on a limb and guess that some of you disagree.

  1. yankeesfanlen - Oct 18, 2010 at 5:37 PM

    I kind of agree, and maybe it’s the system of the Universe because a free agent ace is always signed, and I can’t remember Andy ever being the ace of the Yanks rotation. Always a great #2, though.
    Hall of Fame has never been than inclusive anyway, but I’d put Moose in first.

  2. proudlycanadian - Oct 18, 2010 at 5:39 PM

    I rank Jack Morris ahead of Pettitte.

    • aarcraft - Oct 18, 2010 at 6:17 PM

      You are free to, but its a hard case to make. Morris had a higher era in a much better pitchers environment. They are extremely close in wins and strikeouts, despite Pettitte having 800 fewer IP, and the gap will close even more if Pettitte pitches one more year. Pettitte blows Morris away with winning pct. Most ways you look at it, Pettitte comes out on top.

      • proudlycanadian - Oct 18, 2010 at 6:29 PM

        With a big game on the line, I would go with Morris anytime.

      • roadduck99 - Oct 19, 2010 at 8:43 AM

        Even 1992?

      • Ari Collins - Oct 19, 2010 at 8:50 AM

        Morris was only 7-4 with a 3.80 ERA in the postseason. More than a third of his starts (5 out of 13) ended with 4 or more runs allowed. Oh! But only that one game counted. I forgot that the rest of those October games weren’t “big games.” Nevermind!

  3. Mr. Jason "El Bravo" Heyward - Oct 18, 2010 at 5:43 PM

    Cody Ross is a shoe-in.

    • Utley's Hair - Oct 18, 2010 at 5:56 PM

      For the San Francisco Giants 2010 NLCS Hall of Fame–so far.

  4. Utley's Hair - Oct 18, 2010 at 5:57 PM

    Jeff Francoeur’s got Craig’s vote.

  5. elkboy - Oct 18, 2010 at 6:04 PM

    Jackson on Pettitte’s HGH usage: “It seems like they’ve looked the other way with him,” Jackson said of the news media. “Some guys get it, and some guys don’t.”

    Jackson on performance-enhancing substances in 2009: “I am starting to get affected and I am hoping that those guys that get caught don’t get into the Hall of Fame.”

    This isn’t to point out Jackson’s hypocrisy, but when I read this article I thought about how much of a pass Pettitte gets in the whole steroids conversation, and I think it’s mostly because he just wasn’t all that great a pitcher; people only care about it for really good players (bonds, arod, clemens). I think the lack of attention on it is one more thing demonstrating that Pettitte is in fact, not a HOF caliber pitcher.

    • scatterbrian - Oct 18, 2010 at 7:07 PM

      excellent point, elkboy.

    • tmil42 - Oct 18, 2010 at 7:29 PM

      I don’t know about that. I mean, he’s certainly not the same caliber player as Clemens or Bonds, but he’s been an excellent pitcher throughout his career. I think the reason he gets more of a pass is that he admitted it (at least admitted a one-time use), and that he generally has been viewed as a “good guy.” Bonds and Clemens are noted malcontents and vehemently denied using PEDs, both of which damn them in the court of public opinion.

      I think those two factors (public perception, willingness to admit fault) are what constitutes the difference in the treatment between Clemens and Pettitte, rather than consider it a referendum on either of their careers.

  6. psujay - Oct 18, 2010 at 7:46 PM

    What do wins matter? I think we have enough evidence to show that a player’s win/loss record has nothing to do with how he pitches. Wasn’t Clemens 20-1 one year with a 4.41 ERA? How is that impressive compared to King Felix this year? I don’t think you can take wins and losses into account. Also, if Pettite plays for not the Yankees his win/loss record is far worse, and he never gets nearly enough post season starts to be 19-9 in the post season. Is he better than Halladay, Lee, or Oswalt, Lincecum, or Sabathia simply because he has had more opportunities over the course of his career?

    In short, I dont’ think win/loss is a reliable gauge of someone’s career any more than passengers in the car is a reliable estimate of driving speed.

    As for if he’s in the Hall…once a cheater, always a cheater. No.

  7. roadduck99 - Oct 19, 2010 at 8:46 AM

    I think Pettitte will get in because he was a core player on five World Champions. His other numbers are pretty solid. He’s an old-school HOF choice.

  8. BC - Oct 19, 2010 at 10:15 AM

    Kevin Millwood for HOF!

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