NEW YORK (BVM) – The 1990s New York Yankees were full of stars who led them to multiple World Series titles. While Andy Pettitte may not have been the biggest name from a national perspective, he was quite the fan favorite in the Bronx.
Pettitte primarily grew up in Texas where he attended Deer Park High School. Not only did he star on the mound, but he also was an interior offensive lineman for the football team.
In the 1990 MLB Draft, the Yankees selected the prep lefthander in the 22nd round. With Pettitte’s decision to attend a junior college rather than a university, the Yankees retained his draft rights despite him not initially signing with the team.
In May 1991, Pettitte finally decided to sign with New York, earning an $80,000 signing bonus. He would make six starts that season for one of the organization’s minor league affiliates.
In his first full season of pro ball in 1992, Pettitte began to emerge as an intriguing pitching prospect. He pitched for Class A Greensboro totaling 10 wins, 130 strikeouts and a 2.20 ERA. Pettitte was not the only future all-star on that team, as he shared a dugout with Jorge Posada and Derek Jeter that year.
He put up a similar stat line the following year in advanced A ball, getting the call up to AA in 1993.
He pitched well in 1994 between AA Albany-Colonie and AAA Columbus, winning the organization’s minor league pitcher of the year award.
Entering the 1995 season, Pettitte had emerged as a big prospect not only for the Yankees but for the game of baseball.
Pettitte was able to grab a bullpen spot in spring training, getting his first shot at the show.
Less than a couple of months into his first season, he was thrust into the starting rotation due to injuries. And he handled the task well.
He finished out the year going 12-9 with a 4.17 ERA. Pettitte placed third that season in AL Rookie of the Year voting.
Pettitte became a household name the following season making his first All-Star game.
At just 24 years old, he finished the year with a league-leading 21 wins while also accumulating a 3.87 ERA in a hitter-friendly ballpark.
Pettitte finished second in AL Cy Young voting behind Pat Hentgen.
In Game 1 of the World Series that year, the Yankees entrusted the southpaw as their starter.
It was not a great outing for Pettitte allowing seven runs in two and a thirds innings, but he bounced back in Game five, leading New York to a 1-0 victory and ultimately a World Series championship.
Pettitte continued to be an anchor for the Yankees’ pitching staff for the next several years.
He made his second All-Star game in 2001 and of course, was a part of a total of four World Series teams in his first stint with the Yankees.
In the offseason leading to the 2004 season, Pettitte returned to Texas where he grew up to play for the Houston Astros.
Pettitte’s first season there was shortened due to injury, but he bounced back in 2005 with a career year.
His 2.39 ERA was the second best in the National League that year just behind teammate Roger Clemens.
The Astros’ pitching staff led them to the 2005 World Series before they were eliminated by the Chicago White Sox in four games.
When Pettitte’s contract expired after 2006, he re-signed with the team he came up with.
While he was still a very good pitcher at this point in his career, his reliability became his most coveted asset to the Yankees. In his first year back, he led the American League in starts with 34.
He was productive for the next couple of years in New York and solidified his legacy in the 2009 World Series.
On just three days’ rest as a 37-year-old, Pettitte pitched Game six against the Philadelphia Phillies. The Yankees would clinch the title thanks to his heroics.
But Pettitte’s storybook career was still not done. He pitched terrifically the following year in 2010 with a 2.87 ERA, making his third and final All-Star team.
He was productive until the day he retired, racking up a 3.74 ERA as a 41-year-old in his final season.
Pettitte goes down as one of the greatest Yankees’ pitchers ever with a franchise record of 2,020 strikeouts and 438 starts.
With all of his counting stats and postseason performances, it was an easy decision for the organization to retire his No. 46 in 2015.
While many Yankees fans believe he should be inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame, his link to performance-enhancing drugs have put a halt to his chances for now. In the 2022 voting, he received 10.7% of votes, but he needs 75% to get in.
A player can appear on the ballot up to 10 times and Pettitte has appeared on it four times thus far.
Where is he now?
Pettitte and his family now live in Houston, and to no surprise, all four of his children have had athletic aspirations.
His eldest son Josh was a 37th round pick by the Yankees but elected to play collegiately at Baylor and Rice before retiring due to injury in 2018.
The second-oldest, Jared, is currently in the Miami Marlins organization, while Luke still plays at the high school level. His daughter Lexy plays volleyball at Dallas Baptist University.