Andy Pettitte: a borderline Hall of Fame candidate (so he won’t get in)

5 02 2011

Andy Pettitte’s retirement announcement came with the predictable speculation and debate: Will he be elected to the Baseball Hall of Fame? Should he be elected?

He probably should but he probably won’t. Yankees who should be automatic Hall of Famers (see Ron Guidry, Roger Maris, Thurman Munson and Don Mattingly) get rejected from Cooperstown, so a borderline candidate like Pettitte has little chance.

Beyond whatever achievements he had in his career, Pettitte will face two strong biases that influence the baseball writers who hold the keys to the Hall of Fame. He is a Yankee, and Hall of Fame voters consistently vote against borderline Yankees (see Graig Nettles and Tommy John). And he used performance-enhancing drugs. We don’t have much history of how the drug scandals of his generation will influence Hall of Fame voting. But clearly the drug issue is keeping out Mark McGwire, who would be a lock otherwise. It has to hurt a borderline player. Read the rest of this entry »