Pettitte savors opportunity to visit Hall of Fame
“Some of this is mine?” Andy Pettitte asked as he looked at a table full of baseball history at the Hall of Fame.
What he was referring to was a famous pinstriped New York Yankees jersey, a hat and a couple bats. The jersey and the hat belonged to the former lefty workhorse.
The jersey, worn by Pettitte during Game 6 of the 2009 World Series when he notched his 19th and final Postseason win, solidifying him as the winningest pitcher in postseason history, brought back memories for the former New York Yankees and Houston Astros star.
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“I changed my jersey every inning of that game,” Pettitte said. “I usually changed a lot, but that game I knew could be my last World Series game, so I wanted to make sure I could give each of my kids a jersey and then the Hall of Fame one as well.”
The hat that drew Pettitte’s attention was the one he was wearing when he and Mariano Rivera combined for their 58th win/save, eclipsing the record of 57 previously held by Dennis Eckersley and Bob Welch. The two finished with 72 win/save opportunities and will both debut on the Hall of Fame ballot in 2019.
“I played with guys who are no-doubt Hall of Famers. I myself don’t feel like one, but it would be truly amazing,” Pettitte said. “There’s so much history here, and just being on the ballot is an honor. Most guys feel like that. Yeah, I played in the big leagues, but I did it because I loved it.”
Pettitte, now retired from professional baseball, was visiting Cooperstown on July 10, 2017, with his youngest son’s baseball team, which was playing at Cooperstown Dreams Park just down the road from the Hall of Fame.
He hadn’t been back to the Hall since 1991 when he was a member of the Oneonta Yankees playing in the New York-Penn League. At that time he was just dreaming of playing Major League Baseball, not thinking about seeing his artifacts preserved in Cooperstown.