Tickets for individual Yankees games at Yankee Stadium will be made available to the public from 12 noon Wednesday, Feb. 19, to 10 p.m. Sunday, Feb. 23, through a MasterCard pre-on-sale online at yankees.com and yankeesbeisbol.com and via Ticketmaster. During the MasterCard pre-on-sale, all fans can purchase tickets using their MasterCard card. For more information, please visit http://www.yankees.com/priceless.
New for the 2014 regular season, fans purchasing tickets during this on-sale can take advantage of the “MasterCard Preferred Pricing” program. When fans purchase individual game tickets using their MasterCard, they can save up to $15 per ticket in select seating categories.
For those using other accepted methods of payment, the general public on-sale will begin at 10 p.m. Monday, Feb. 24, at yankees.com and yankeesbeisbol.com and via Ticketmaster only at 877-469-9849 and Ticketmaster TTY at 800-943-4327.
Beginning Tuesday, Feb. 25, tickets may be purchased at the Yankee Stadium Ticket Office, all area Ticketmaster outlets and all Ticket Offices located within Yankees Clubhouse Shops.
As in past years, the Yankees will make available individual-game ticket value programs, including the MasterCard Half-Price Game Ticket Special, which allows fans to purchase tickets for select games during the 2014 season in select areas of the Terrace Level, Grandstand Level or Bleachers for 50 percent off the advance ticket price, when using their MasterCard. Tickets for MasterCard Half-Price Games may be purchased in advance or on the day of the game, subject to availability.
For a complete list of ticket specials, including game dates, seating locations, and terms and conditions, fans should visit http://www.yankees.com/ticketspecials. Fans with questions may call (212-YANKEES [212-926-5337] or email email@example.com. Please note that all ticket specials are subject to availability. All individual-game ticket value programs exclude all Premium Games. *The term “Premium Game(s)” is defined as the Opening Day game, the Old-Timers’ Day game, the games scheduled for April 12, May 17, June 27–29, July 18–20, Sept. 2–4 and Sept. 18–25, and such other games as may be designated, on no less than seven days’ notice, as Premium Games, no later than the first day of each month during the regular season, with respect to all future games during the regular season.
E-Saver Games – Fans can register at http://www.yankees.com/esaver to receive email ticket offers for E-Saver Games available only to Yankees email subscribers.
MasterCard $5 Games – For select home games during the 2014 season, fans may purchase tickets in select areas of the Terrace Level, Grandstand Level or Bleachers for $5 when using their MasterCard. Tickets for MasterCard $5 Games may be purchased in advance or on the day of the game.
Senior Citizen Games – Citizens 60 and older may purchase reduced-priced tickets for themselves and one guest for select home games during the 2014 season. Prices range from $5 to $150, depending on seat location. Any additional guest(s) must pay full-price for his/her ticket(s). Tickets may be purchased only the day of the game, beginning two hours before the scheduled start time of the game, at Yankee Stadium Ticket Windows, adjacent to Gate 4, and are subject to availability. All tickets are sold on a first-come, first-served basis. A valid proof of age must be presented at the time of purchase.
Student Games – For Wednesday home games during the 2014 season, students who present their valid high school or college ID cards when purchasing tickets may receive one half-price ticket in designated seating locations. Tickets may be purchased only on the day of the game at Yankee Stadium Ticket Windows, adjacent to Gate 4.
Youth Games – All fans 14 and younger, when accompanied by an adult (18 and older), are eligible for half-price tickets in designated seating locations for Saturday home games. Tickets may be purchased ONLY on the day of the game at Yankee Stadium Ticket Windows, adjacent to Gate 4.
Military Personnel Ticket Special – Active military members can present their military identification card at designated Yankee Stadium Ticket Windows before non-premium Monday through Thursday home games and receive one complimentary ticket in the Grandstand Level or Bleachers, or purchase one half-price ticket in other areas of the Stadium excluding the Legends Suite, Champions Suite, Delta SKY360° Suite, Jim Beam Suite and Audi Yankees Club. Tickets may be purchased only the day of the game, beginning two hours before the scheduled start time of the game at Yankee Stadium Ticket Windows, adjacent to Gate 4.
Yankees season ticket plans are now available on both a full-season and partial-season basis. For complete season-ticket information, please visit yankees.com or yankeesbeisbol.com, contact the Season Ticket Sales and Service Department via email at firstname.lastname@example.org , or call 212-YANKEES [212-926-5337]. Plans start at $90.
FIELD MVP CLUB SEATS:
Beginning with the 2014 season, seats in Sections 116 through 124 (Rows 12-21) will be known as Field MVP Club Seats. Full-season licensees in these locations will have their ticket prices decrease from $260 per game in 2013 to $235 per game in 2014. Additionally, these licensees will have access to the Field MVP Club Lounge, which is scheduled to open Opening Day 2014. Located on the Field Level Concourse, this new space has been developed with the successful Delta SKY360° Suite redesign in mind. For more information, please contact the Season Ticket Sales and Service Department via email at email@example.com, or call (212) YANKEES [212-926-5337].
FIELD MVP OUTDOOR SUITE BOXES:
Field MVP Outdoor Suite Boxes are the newest exclusive private seating area at Yankee Stadium. These open-air suite boxes can seat from 6 to 8 people and provide an intimate setting to entertain clients. For more information, please contact Yankees Premium by phone at 718-508-3955 or via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
INDIVIDUAL GAME SUITES:
Yankee Stadium Individual Game Suites offer the ideal venue to host your next corporate or social group outing. Available on a per-game basis or in five-game “Pick-It” plans, Individual Game Suites provide all the benefits and comforts of the Suite experience. Suite capacities range from 12 to 74 guests, and can be expanded to accommodate groups of up to 382 people. For more information, please contact Yankees Premium by phone at 718-508-3955 or via email at email@example.com.
Groups of 10 or more are eligible to take advantage of a variety of group ticket discounts. For complete group ticket information, please visit yankees.com or yankeesbeisbol.com, contact the Group Sales Department via email at firstname.lastname@example.org or call 212-YANKEES [212-926-5337].
LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. – Yankees manager Joe Girardi did not want to tip his hand about how the new-look Yankees will, well, look in 2014. In his manager’s session Tuesday at the Winter Meetings, Girardi said he would wait until spring training to decide how the team will shape out.
The main question was with regard to center field. Does the incumbent Brett Gardner stay or move to a corner in deference to Jacoby Ellsbury, the free-agent acquisition? And if Gardner moves, how does that affect Alfonso Soriano and Ichiro Suzuki? Not now, Joe said.
“I don’t think we’re finished yet,” Girardi said about possible future Yankees transactions. “The off-season is far from over.”
This off-season has already had a major impact on the Yankees, specifically the loss to free agency and the Mariners of Robinson Cano that creates a huge hole in the center of the infield.
“It’s a wonderful deal for Robbie,” Girardi said. “That is going to take care of him and his family for a long time. I thought the Yankees made a great offer, but in free agency with a player of his caliber something bigger can come along. We had added some guys offensively, but Cano is not an easy guy to replace. We’re going to have to find offense from other places. There are not too many second basemen that can put up Robbie’s numbers.”
My own feeling on the Cano signing with Seattle is that someday and not in the distant future he will wake up and realize he may have taken the better deal in terms of time and money but not in terms of competition or comfort. Robinson better get used to air travel. No club travels more miles than the Mariners, whose closest neighbor in Oakland, Calif., is two hours away by air. The Mariners will make six separate trips to Texas in 2014.
Cano will also find that Safeco Field is one of the most beautiful facilities in all of the major leagues and very much state of the art but that the fences are much farther from the plate than they are at Yankee Stadium. The Mariners have Cano and King Felix Hernandez and not much else. Back in the Bronx, Yankees general manager Brian Cashman is working to revamp a club that missed the playoff this past season for only the second time in 19 years.
A surprising remark at the Meetings came from former Yankees outfielder Curtis Granderson, who is moving across the Triboro Bridge to Citi Field in 2014. Introduced by his new team, Granderson talked about a desire to stay in the city and said, “True New Yorkers are Mets fans.”
What about it, Yankees fans? Are you going to take that lying down?
The Yankees, Legends Hospitality and the Supportive Children’s Advocacy Network (SCAN) will team up to host a Thanksgiving Day feast for approximately 200 local residents at SCAN-NY’s Mullaly Recreation Center at 40 East 164th Street in the Bronx at 6 p.m. Wednesday.
Bronx-based SCAN has provided support to thousands of New York City at-risk families since 1977. Their mission is to provide at-risk families and children living in East Harlem and the South Bronx with integrated family-focused programming which uses a positive approach to harness self-esteem, initiative and the development of life skills.
More than three dozen New York City high school students from Derek Jeter’s Turn 2 Foundation’s Jeter’s Leaders program will assemble gift bags at their annual holiday gift wrapping party Wednesday at Yankee Stadium.
The 1,100 gift bags, which include items donated by the Yankees and other sponsors, will help children from Turn 2 programs in New York, West Michigan and Tampa celebrate the holidays at events in the coming months.
After assembling the gift bags, the Jeter’s Leaders will be treated to a private pre-holiday party in the Stadium’s Legends Suite.
Jeter’s Leaders is an intensive four-year leadership development program for high school students who serve as ambassadors for Derek Jeter in their communities.
The Turn 2 Foundation, established in 1996, has awarded more than $18 million in grants to create and support signature programs and activities that motivate young people to “TURN 2” healthy lifestyles. Through these ventures, the Foundation strives to create outlets for children to achieve academic excellence, develop leadership skills and remain drug and alcohol free. These programs all share the same goal of helping today’s youth become the leaders of tomorrow.
And beginning at 10 a.m. Thursday, the Yankees and White Rose will team up once again to hold their annual Thanksgiving Food Voucher Giveaway at Yankee Stadium’s Gate 2 (corner of 164th Street and Jerome Avenue) and Gate 8 (164th Street and River Avenue).
Bronx residents are invited to come to the Stadium and pick up a food voucher, which can be redeemed at a local Met Food market or Pioneer Supermarket while supplies last. Proof of Bronx residency is required to receive a voucher.
Yankee Stadium’s Great Hall will be the site starting at 10:30 p.m. Thursday where some 150 volunteers will help assemble approximately 5,000 USO Big Apple Packs for active servicemen and servicewomen.
Yankees front office employees, service members and veterans will be present to help prepare care packages for those serving in our Armed Forces. Additionally, volunteers from PepsiCo, FedEx, ESPN and Disney will also participate.
On hand to lend support to the cause will be Yankees manager Joe Girardi and former Yankees pitcher and current YES Network analyst David Cone. They will help assemble packs with various items, including Yankees memorabilia. The USO will distribute the packs to troops serving in remote units in Afghanistan during this holiday season.
The USO (United Service Organizations) lifts the spirits of America’s troops and their families millions of times each year at hundreds of places worldwide. It provides a touch of home through centers at airports and military bases stateside and abroad, quality entertainment and innovative programs and services. It also provides critical support to forward-deployed troops, military families, Wounded Warriors and their families and families of the fallen. For more information about the USO of Metropolitan New York, visit usonyc.org.
Mariano Rivera will be honored at the 19th annual Lou Gehrig Sports Awards Benefit Thursday night at the New York Mariott Marquis at Broadway and West 45th Street.
Rivera, baseball’s all-time saves leader who ended a brilliant 19-season career in 2013, will receive the prestigious Lou Gehrig Sports Award along with formers Mets pitcher turned broadcaster Ron Darling and former Giants quarterback turned sportscaster Phil Simms.
Also to be honored will be former Eagles and Patriots fullback Kevin Turner, who is living with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, the disease that ended Gehrig’s life in 1941 and bears his name.
Former Yankees pitchers David Cone and Tommy John, who are past recipients and honorary board members, will also be in attendance. The master of ceremonies will be ESPN’s Jeremy Schaap.
“We are truly inspired by our honorees for their performance both on and off the field and are grateful to their support in helping to raise awareness of ALS,” said Dorine Gordon, president and chief executive officer of the ALS Association Greater New York Chapter. “We are pleased to be honoring these four athletes who through their character, courage and determination embody the legacy of Lou Gehrig.”
Mariano Rivera and Andy Pettitte may be leaving the Yankees but not Derek Jeter. The captain signed a one-year contract for $12 million Friday and intends to be healthy for the 2014 season.
Jeter, 39, is a career .312 hitter with the ninth highest total of hits (3,316), among which are 525 doubles, 65 triples and 256 home runs. DJ has scored 1,876 runs, driven in 1,261 and stolen 348 bases in 2,602 games over 19 major-league seasons, all with the Yankees (1995-2013). A five-time World Series champion (1996, 1998-2000, ’09), 13-time All-Star (1998-2002, ’04, ’06-12) and five-time Gold Glove Award winner (2004-06, ’09-10), Jeter will become the longest-tenured player in franchise history with his first game played in 2014, breaking the record he currently shares with Rivera.
In 2013, Jeter batted .190 with eight runs, one double, one home run and seven RBI in 17 games (13 starts at shortstop, four at designated hitter) and 63 at-bats. He missed 145 games during four stints on the disabled list. Prior to last season, he had been on the DL only five times and missed just 82 games.
Jeter is a five-time Silver Slugger Award recipient (2006-09, ’12) with eight career 200-hit seasons, including a majors-leading 216 hits in 2012. Prior to last season, Jeter had a 17-season streak (1996-2012) of at least 150 hits per season, matching Hank Aaron (1955-71) for the longest such stretch in major-league history, according to the Elias Sports Bureau.
Jeter, who was named the 11th captain in team history June 3, 2003, is the Yankees’ all-time leader in hits, games, stolen bases, at-bats, singles (2,470) and hit by pitches (164). He also ranks second in doubles (Lou Gehrig-534), third in runs (Babe Ruth -1,959, Gehrig-1,888) and ninth in homers. No active player has appeared in more games for his current team than DJ, who is 10th all-time in games played among big leaguers who have spent their entire careers with one club.
Additionally, Jeter is one of just two players in Major League history, along with Willie Mays, to record at least 3,000 hits, 250 home runs, 300 stolen bases and 1,200 RBI in their careers.
Born in Pequannock, N.J., and raised in Kalamazoo, Mich., Jeter was selected by the Yankees in the first round of the 1992 First-Year Player Draft (sixth pick overall). In 1996, he established the “Turn 2” Foundation to create and support signature programs and activities that motivate young people to turn away from drugs and alcohol and “Turn 2″ healthy lifestyles. As a result of Turn 2’s programs and his other good works off the field, Jeter was honored by Major League Baseball with the 2009 Roberto Clemente Award, which is given annually to the player who combines a dedication to giving back to the community with outstanding skills on the baseball field.
Prices for 96 percent of Yankees tickets in 2014 for regular season games at Yankee Stadium will either remain the same or decrease.
Approximately 39,000 tickets (78 percent) will have the same price in 2014 as they had in 2013, and approximately 9,000 tickets (18 percent) will have a decrease in price. Approximately 2,000 tickets (four percent) that will have an increase in price. All seats in the Grandstand and all seats with non-obstructed views in the Bleachers will not have a change in ticket price.
Terrace Level ticket prices in Sections 305, 306, 307, 332B, 333 and 334 will decrease from $40 to $28, and ticket prices in Sections 313, 314, 326 and 327 will decrease from $55 to $50. There will be no change in pricing for all other 2014 Terrace Level tickets. In the Main Level, ticket prices in Sections 210 and 229 will decrease from $70 to $50, while ticket prices in Sections 216, 217, 223, 224 and 230 will decrease by $5 each.
Beginning with the 2014 season, seats in Sections 116 through 124 (Rows 12-21) will be known as Field MVP Club seats. Full-season licensees in these locations will have their ticket prices decrease from $260 per game in 2013 to $235 per game next season. These licensees will have access to the Field MVP Club Lounge, which is currently being constructed and scheduled to open for Opening Day 2014. Located on the Field Level Concourse, this new space has been developed with the successful Delta SKY360° Suite redesign in mind.
Other Field Level ticket license pricing in Sections 114A through 126 will decrease in amounts ranging from $15 to $25 per ticket per game.
Also for 2014, the Yankees will be introducing 10 new Outdoor Suite Boxes, which will be ¬-located in Field MVP Sections 117A, 117B, 122 and 123. Each of these outdoor suites will provide seating for six to eight people. These suites will be available on a full-season basis.
As part of other renovations, the Home Plate Team Store, which is the largest retail location in the Stadium, will be transformed to create an improved experience for fans.
The only Stadium tickets that are increasing in price are Field Level Section 132 tickets, Main Level Section 215 and 225 tickets and obstructed view Bleacher tickets in Sections 201 and 239.
Fans may purchase 2014 season tickets by visiting yankees.com or calling 212-YANKEES (926-5337). Those with questions may call the preceding number or e-mail email@example.com. Fans with visual impairments should call (718) 579-4595 (TTY).
A date has yet to be determined for the on-sale of 2014 individual-game tickets.
Well, that was quick. All things considered, the Yankees were fortunate to keep their manager in place in a relatively quick period of time during an off-season that promises to be busy. Surely a fourth year on the contract extension was a deal doer. Other clubs – notably the Cubs, Nationals and Reds – as well as a television network or two may have had designs on Girardi, but four-year contracts at seven figures per annum are hard to come by, so the Yankees were able to retain the guy they wanted to continue running the club before his current pact was to expire Oct. 31.
Girardi was deserving of the extension. Even with the World Series championship of 2009 at the top of his accomplishments, Joe’s effort with the 2013 Yankees may have been his best work. It certainly was his most arduous. With the abundance of injuries the Yankees had to deal with, just running out a healthy lineup every day was an ordeal for the manager.
Much was made in the media of Girardi’s Illinois background and ties to the Cubs as a fan while growing up and as a catcher as a player being a temptation for him to go off to Wrigley Field. On a conference phone hookup Wednesday, Girardi emphasized it was a family decision. Mom and the kids were A-OK with the Yankees and New York. The Girardi’s have made solid roots in Westchester County.
And let us not forget that Joe Girardi despite all the Cubs history has become a part of Yankees history as well. He fits in very well come Old Timers’ Day as a player who was part of three World Series championship clubs as a player (1996, ’98-99) as well as his one as a manager. He pointed out that in his conversation with the family that getting to manage in the same place for 10 years, which would be the case if Girardi fulfills the whole contract, is pretty special.
Over his first six years as Yankees manager the club has led the major leagues in home runs (1,236), ranked second in runs (4,884) and seventh in hits (8,836) and batting average (.265). The Yankees have also committed the fewest errors (484) over the span with a majors-best .986 team fielding percentage.
In 2013, Girardi did a good job getting the beaten-up Yankees to an 85-77 finish and third-place tie in the American League East with the Orioles. He got his 500th win as Yankees manager May 10 at Kansas City. The club made just 69 errors in 2013, the third-lowest total in the majors and tying the franchise record for fewest in a season (also 2010). Their .988 fielding percentage set a franchise record, fractionally better than their .988 mark in 2010.
In 2009, Girardi became the ninth Yankees manager to win a World Series, and just the fourth to do so in his postseason managerial debut, joining Casey Stengel (1949), Ralph Houk (1961) and Bob Lemon (1978). Girardi also joined Houk and Billy Martin as the only men to win World Series for the club as players and managers.
Girardi was named the 32nd manager of the Yankees Oct. 30, 2007, becoming the 17th Yankees manager to have played for the club and the fourth former Yankees catcher to skipper the team, joining Bill Dickey, Houk and Yogi Berra.
In 2006, Girardi was named National League Manager of the Year by the Baseball Writers’ Association of America after guiding the Marlins to a 78-84 record in his first season as a big league manager. With the award, he matched the Astros’ Hal Lanier (1986) and the Giants’ Dusty Baker (1993) as the only managers to win the honor in their managerial debuts.
In 15 major-league seasons as a catcher, Girardi played for the Cubs (1989-92 and 2000-02), Rockies (1993-95), Yankees (1996-99) and Cardinals (2003) and batted .267 with 454 runs, 186 doubles, 36 home runs and 422 RBI in 4,127 at-bats over 1,277 games. He had a .991 career fielding percentage and threw out 27.6 percent of potential base stealers. Girardi was named to the National League All-Star team in 2000 with the Cubs.
With the Yankees, Girardi was behind the plate for Dwight Gooden’s hitter May 14, 1996 against the Mariners and David Cone’s perfect game July 18, 1999 against the Expos. In World Series Game 6 against the Braves in 1996, Girardi tripled in the game’s first run in a three-run third inning off Greg Maddux as the Yankees clinched their first championship since 1978 with a 3-2 victory. He has a .566 winning percentage with a 642-492 record as a manager and is 21-17 in postseason play.
What a way for Andy Pettitte to end his major-league career. The lefthander gave Yankees fans one more brilliant performance before a crowd of 37,199 at Minute Maid Park in Houston, some 20 miles from his hometown of Deer Park, Texas. Pettitte completed his 18-season career with a complete game, his first in seven years.
The 2-1 victory over the Astros brought Pettitte’s season record to 11-11, which means that he never had a losing record, the first pitcher to do so in a career of 15 years or more. Andy had one other .500 season – 2008 when he was 14-14 – otherwise it was nothing but winning campaigns.
“It’s a shame you have to grow old,” Pettitte said immediately after the game.
Yes, it happens to all players, even his teammate, Mariano Rivera, who is also finally stepping away from the game at season’s end. Pettitte hated walking away from the game so much once before that he came back out of retirement to pitch another two years for the Yankees.
The finish was a momentous way to go out. It reminded me of how it all began. The day I arrived at what was the last spring training camp the Yankees had at Fort Lauderdale, Fla., in 1995, then manager Buck Showalter drove up to me in a golf cart on the sidelines of the main field and said, “Hop in; I want you to see someone.”
He drove to me to one of the back fields where two pitchers were warming up. I have long forgotten who one of them was, but the one I remember was Andy Pettitte. He wasn’t as cut as he would later become; he still had some love handles, but one pitch after the other sunk with stinging action.
Showalter, who grew up in the Florida panhandle and attended Mississippi State University, had an affinity for Southern players. Still does, probably, so I said to him, “Okay, which is it? Louisiana or Arkansas?”
“Texas,” Buck said. “You can’t quote me on this, but this guy might win 15 games for us this year.”
“Pretty tall order for a rookie,” I said.
Showalter missed on his prediction. Pettitte won 12 games, not 15, but he helped stabilize a rotation snagged by an injury to Jimmy Key, who finished second to David Cone, then with the Royals, in the previous year’s American League Cy Young Award race, and was a key ingredient in the Yankees’ reaching post-season play for the first time in 15 years, as the newfangled wild card.
Pettitte’s victory total was second on the staff only to another former Cy Young Award winner, Jack McDowell, who was 15-10. Pettitte’s 12-9 record and 4.17 ERA was not overwhelming, but it was good enough for him to finish third in the AL Jackie Robinson Rookie of the Year Award voting behind winner Marty Cordova of the Twins and runner-up Garret Anderson of the Angels, a couple of outfielders.
The lefthander started Game 2 of the Division Series against the Mariners at Yankee Stadium and was not involved in the decision, a 7-5 Yankees victory on a two-run home run in the 15th inning by Jim Leyritz that gave them a 2-0 lead in the series before they went 0-for-Seattle.
With Showalter gone after turning down a two-year contract offer from George Steinbrenner, Pettitte had to prove himself all over again to a new manager, Joe Torre, in 1996. It wasn’t easy, either. Torre at first thought the deeply-religious Pettitte was a bit soft. Yet start after start, Pettitte kept the Yankees in games and ended up winning 21 of them and becoming a Cy Young Award candidate, although he finished second in the voting to the Blue Jays’ Pat Hentgen.
Pettitte never came closer to winning that award, but even better he won over Torre with 8 1/3 gutty innings of shutout ball in Game 5 of the World Series at Atlanta in the last game played at Fulton County Stadium, a 1-0 Yankees victory that put them up 3-2 and in position to take the Series two nights later, which they did. From that point on, Torre never questioned Pettitte’s toughness again.
Pettitte pitched that night with the authority he showed during his 21-8 regular season as well as Game 5 of the American League Championship Series at Baltimore that clinched the Yankees’ first World Series appearance in 15 years. The key inning for Pettitte in Game of the ’96 Series was the sixth when he got himself in and out of trouble.
He gave up singles to opposing pitcher John Smoltz and center field Marquis Grissom, whose fourth-inning error accounted for the game’s only run. Pettitte pounced on a sacrifice attempt by Mark Lemke and forced Smoltz at third base, which prompted Braves manager Bobby Cox to say later, “He was a cat on that bunt; it took a lot of guts to throw that ball to third base.”
On Pettitte’s next pitch, Chipper Jones hit a one-hopper to the mound. Pettitte was a cat again, starting an inning-ending double play.
“Andy took the ball every five days, and if he had it his way, he’d get it more often than that,” Torre recalled. “What’s really unusual about him is that a lot of times pitchers are more consumed with themselves. Andy was probably the consummate team player, especially for a pitcher. He was so concerned not only about the day he pitched but he always had his arm around a young guy in between starts.
“He has been a huge favorite of mine because he’s such a standup guy, and he hasn’t changed from day one. He was a great teammate, and I think that’s why he won so many games. The guys that play behind him understand how intense he is, and it becomes contagious.
“I think the impact he had on the teams we had in the mid-to-late 1990’s was enormous even though he was never the guy in the spotlight. He liked the fact that he wasn’t the No. 1 guy even though I trusted him like a No. 1 guy. But he didn’t have an ego that dictated he needed all that attention.
“He did a great job of channeling his energy into competing, and he was about as consistent a performer as anybody in terms of getting your money’s worth. He glued our staff together. When you’re performing with the same people year-in and year-out, it’s always nice to have that security blanket. He was certainly that guy on the pitching staff.”
For other managers, the Astros’ Jimy Williams and Phil Garner and the Yankees’ Joe Girardi, Pettitte proved just as reliable in a career he brought to a halt this week.
That Game 5 of the 1996 World Series four nights after the Braves handed his head to him in Game 1 (seven runs, six hits in 2 1/3 innings) remains the centerpiece of Pettitte’s career, but there were plenty of other times when he gave the Yankees everything needed from a pitcher.
He was the Most Valuable Player of the 2001 ALCS when he won both his starts and held a Seattle team that had won 116 games during the regular season to four runs in 14 1/3 innings. Even in defeat, Pettitte could be magnificent, such as the Game 6 showdown with the Marlins’ Josh Beckett in the 2003 World Series, Andy’s last start for the Yankees before signing as a free agent with his hometown Houston club.
Three years later, Pettitte was back with the Yankees reunited with Mariano Rivera, Derek Jeter and Jorge Posada and helped ring in the new Yankee Stadium by winning the clinching games of all three post-season series in 2009 as the team achieved its 27th championship. In 2010, he was a Cy Young Award candidate for half the season before a groin injury cost him at least a dozen starts. That sent him into his first retirement, but he was lured back in 2012. Pettitte dealt with health issues each of the past two seasons yet was no less competitive
“Andy was a great teammate and a wonderful guy,” Rivera said. “He was a fighter and all about winning, and he was respected by every person in the clubhouse.”
“It has been a pleasure to play with Andy for all these years,” Jeter said. “The Yankees have been fortunate to have him representing the organization both on and off the field. More importantly, it has been an honor to get to know him as a person, and I consider him family. I wish for nothing but happiness for him and his family, as I know how important they are to him.”
Of course, it didn’t take long for Hall of Fame talk about Pettitte to sprout. Let’s give it the five-year wait before getting serious about that. Pettitte has a lot going for him – a won-loss record more than 100 games over .500 at 256-153, a postseason-record 19 victories and winning five rings in eight World Series overall. He also has some things going against him – allowing more hits than innings pitched, a rather high ERA (3.85) and three more dangerous capital letters, HGH, which he admitted to using after his name surfaced in the Mitchell Report.
His path to Cooperstown won’t be smooth. Over the next few years, the ballot will contain the names of starting pitchers superior to him in terms of statistics – Greg Maddux, Tom Glavine, John Smoltz, Randy Johnson, Roger Clemens, Pedro Martinez, even Curt Schilling and Mike Mussina.
“I don’t think about the Hall of Fame unless I’m asked about it,” Pettitte said. “I feel blessed that people will bring my name into that conversation. Have I been a pitcher who dominated? Every game has been a grind for me. I’d continue to pitch if [the Hall of Fame] was a desire of mine. I wouldn’t have retired in the first place.”
The writers who vote will be talking about him for a while. But to Yankees fans, Pettitte will always be in their personal Halls of Fame for his competitiveness and remarkable consistency.