Lefties have an important place in baseball. We have special relievers who come in just to face them. Lefties in Yankee Stadium have a much shorter wall to aim at. Lefties are cool.
Q: Today is International Lefthanders Day. Who are your favorite ever Yankee lefties?
Growing up the 90s, it's got to be Andy Pettitte. What a pitcher with so many clutch moments. I was sad when he left for Houston, but I'm glad he came back to finish his career off in the Bronx, and was even happier that he surprised a lot of people by being so effective in his last years. Andy was the man.
Here come a billion Andy Pettitte answers. I'm gonna go left field though and mention Damaso Marte because he just amuses me. The dude had a 6.02 ERA in 76 games as a Yankee, but he will always be fondly remembered because the one time he chose to be healthy and effective in pinstripes was the 2009 postseason. Seven games between the ALCS & World Series, no hits, no runs, no walks, and five strikeouts. Twelve up, twelve down, and these awesome moments in the Game 6 clincher:
The Yankees gave Marte like $12 million total for mostly crap in the regular season, but dammit, he was probably worth it for those big playoff outs alone.
My favorite Yankees lefty, as is probably the case for many people my age, who grew up with the Yankees in the late 80s and early 90s, is Don Mattingly. Donnie Baseball was my hero as a kid, and will forever be my favorite lefty.
The underrated Lefty Gomez comes to mind. My favorite all-time player, Donnie Baseball threw and batted from the left side. The big Aussie Graeme Lloyd holds a special place in my heart for his dominant run in the 1996 postseason. But what list could be complete without Tony Fossas? The Yankees inexplicably signed the 41-year old in 1999 and in his one inning in pinstripes sprinkled over five games he gave up six hits, four runs, and a big fly. That's special.
While I never got to see him pitch, I wish I could've seen Ron Guidry in his prime. It's not often a 5'11" 162 lb pitcher starts in the big leagues, and it's definitely not often a lefty of that size can gas hitters away with his fastball. I think the fact that he could only maintain that level of dominance for a short period of time is a testament to how rare of a pitcher he was.
I do love my southpaws on the mound, and I've always loved Andy Pettitte. Pettitte's career WAR (per FanGraphs) was 68.9, his ERA was 3.85, and his career FIP was 3.74. Whenever I saw Pettitte go on the mound, I knew it was going to be a rough day for the opposing batters. And now, the Yankees' lefty starter is CC Sabathia. Oh, how times have changed.
Andy Pettitte, naturally. Also Hideki Matsui, if he counts. He might technically be righty since he threw righty, but got to love the Godzilla lefty swing.
It's sad the way his career has gone of late, but I will always have a special place in my heart for CC Sabathia. I know there are lots of people who say the Yankees shouldn't have re-upped his contract when they did, but I think most of those people are saying that in hindsight. He was absolutely boss in Game 5 of the 2012 ALDS and the Yankees would've been killed if they let him go after that. If the rest of his contract goes the way this season has, he won't be as fondly remembered as he should be. Because he should be beloved for what he did from 2009-2012.
Those are our answers and now we want to hear from you. Who are your favorite Yankee lefties of all-time.