Is Andy Petitte a Hall of Famer?

First, I want to confront the less interesting issue: will he get in? In his favor are his World Series rings, postseason stats in general, and the fact that he was a Yankee. Against him are his mediocre (for the Hall) stats, lack of individual awards, and admitted use of HGH. Overall, I doubt he gets enough votes. A pathetic portion of the voters refuse to vote for anybody involved with PEDs, so he won’t get any of those. And if all that’s left are the 20% that vote for Mark McGwire each year, I doubt he even stays on the ballot after the first year.

Oh, that glare.

With that out of the way, we can get to the actual question: does he deserve to get in? Since the beginning of the live ball era (1920-present), there have been 33 pitchers elected to the Hall of Fame. Of those, 28 have been starters. Here’s how some of Andy Petitte’s stats compare to theirs:

  • WAR– At 50.2, he would rank 25th. Only Lefty Gomez, Bob Lemon, Dizzy Dean, and Catfish Hunter rank below him. They all pitched fewer seasons than Petitte.
  • CG and SHO– The current lows are 137 (Koufax) and 26 (Dean). Petitte has 25 and 4. And before you blame that completely on the era of relief pitchers and pitch counts, note that Roger Clemens, Greg Maddux, and Randy Johnson each have more than 100 complete games and 35 shutouts.
  • WHIP– His 1.36 would be the worst.
  • ERA+- At 3.88, his ERA would be the worst, but due to the high league average, his ERA+ would be 19th.

With all that being said, he isn’t a slam dunk non-HOFer. Somebody has to be the worst HOF pitcher, right? And there’s a reasonable argument that says the profile of a Hall of Fame starting pitcher will have to change (fewer wins, complete games) as the profile of a starting pitcher in general changes. However, I just can’t in good conscience believe that Andy Petitte is the “new” Hall of Fame starting picher.

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