Pettitte savors opportunity to visit Hall of Fame

Written by: Cady Lowery

“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.”

Andy Pettitte recently visited Cooperstown for the first time since 1991, when he was playing for the Oneonta Yankees in the New York-Penn League. (Milo Stewart Jr. / National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum)

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.

“I don’t even remember walking through the door that day,” Pettitte said. “It was so long ago. I know it must’ve been cool, but I was just focused on playing baseball.”

Today, Pettitte has four children – two older sons who play college ball, a daughter and youngest son, Luke, who was with him in Cooperstown.

“Being here with my son’s team is really special,” Pettitte said. “I didn’t get a chance to be here with my two oldest boys, but it would’ve been great with them, too. But to them I’m just dad who played baseball, so I don’t even know if Luke will say anything to me when we get to the car.”

Pettitte’s two eldest sons are both pitchers, and while his youngest plays virtually everywhere, he wants to pitch, too, all of them potentially following in Pettitte’s footsteps.

“I’ll always just be a dad to them,” Pettitte said. “And with Luke, he had two older brothers, so if it’s not cool to talk about something, then he doesn’t. I know he probably thinks it’s neat, at least I do. It’s just an honor for me to even have anything in here.”

Winning 256 major league games and five World Series is cool, even if it was done by your dad.

Cady Lowery is the 2017 public relations intern in the Hall of Fame’s Frank and Peggy Steele Internship Program for Youth Leadership Development
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