So, here is your challenge for the day. Make your case for whether or not Pettitte is worthy of election to the Baseball Hall of Fame. As with Posada, I think Pettitte is a borderline case.
You can make a perfectly good, rational argument for why Pettitte is worthy of being enshrined in Cooperstown. You can also make a perfectly good, rational argument for why you find the notion of Pettitte being in the Hall of Fame to be ridiculous.
So, which side are you on?
The case for Pettitte
Pettitte, 37, has 229 wins over 15 seasons (15.2 per year) and a winning percentage of .629. He has also been a terrific post-season pitcher thru an era that has seen the Yankees win five World Series titles, compiling a record 18 career post-season victories.
He has won at least 20 games twice, and has never had a losing season. No pitcher has won more games than during the span of his career, which started in 1995.
I know, I know. Victories is not the only way to judge a starting pitcher's Hall of Fame Worthiness. If it was, you would have to put Bert Blyleven, Jim Kaat and Mike Mussina, among others, in before even thinking about Pettitte.
If you use Pettitte's Baseball-Reference.com page, you can find similar pitchers who are in Cooperstown, and similar ones who are not.
Dig a little deeper and you see what the veteran left-hander has meant to the Yankees, and briefly the Astros, during his career. He is the pitching version of Tommy Henrich, Old Reliable. His World Series-clinching victory against Philadelphia this season was the sixth post-season series clinching victory of his career.
Forget all the intricate pitching numbers you can use to analyze a pitcher's performance. You can, justifiably, make the case that Pettitte's long-term excellence, consistency and post-season sturdiness make him a Hall of Famer.
The case against Pettitte
It starts with those victories again -- and I know you Sabermetricians out there will kill me for that. But, you can make a logical case that if Blyleven (287 victories), Kaat (283) and Jack Morris (254, and some memorable post-season performances) are not in then Pettitte doesn't belong, either.
You can point to Pettitte's career ERA of 3.90, higher than any other pitcher ever enshrined.
You could argue that Pettitte has not been the best pitcher on his own team, since 1996 and 1997, when he won 21 and 18 games and was the leader of the Yankee pitching staff.
You can argue this A LOT of different ways. You can throw around all sorts of numbers, whatever suits the case you want to make. You can compare him to all manner of pitchers, both guys in or out of Cooperstown. Again, whichever way suits your case.
For me, as I examine it I think Pettitte gets in. Here's why.
I haven't thought of him as an ace for a long time, but when you go by the "best of his era" test the fact that Pettitte has more victories than anyone during the span of his career puts him in the dominant category. His post-season work during a time in which the Yankees have won five World Series puts him over the top for me.