Texas, of course, will send ace Cliff Lee to the mound and the Yankees will counter with Andy Pettitte. With the series tied at a game apiece, the implications of Game 3 are obviously huge.
For Hall of Famer and playoff legend Reggie Jackson, this one carries even more weight than that.
Mr. October himself said that if Pettitte could beat Lee on Monday night, in the playoffs — something that's never been done before — Hall of Fame voters would have to give Pettitte an extra look when determining his HOF candidacy.
"I think if Andy beats Lee, it would make any [Hall of Fame] voter that's on the borderline put him in. I think Andy has a strong résumé now for the Hall of Fame, and I think he'll already get strong consideration," Jackson told ESPN.com "But something like this would give him additional consideration."
Um, no, it wouldn't.
There's no denying that Pettitte is one of the better big-game pitchers of this generation. He, by virtue of playing on some very good baseball teams, has started more games, pitched more innings and won more games than any pitcher in big league history. He's not a Hall of Famer, though. And winning Game 3 of the 2010 ALCS against Cliff Lee would not change that.
It would be a good win for Pettitte in a postseason résumé that needs no defense. Sure, he's had more opportunities than most players can even dream of, but by and large, he's made the most of those. But his overall body of work is not worthy of a trip to Cooperstown. As admirable as postseason success is, it's only part of the HOF requirements. Pettitte will likley be on the outside looking in for many of the same reasons Curt Schilling will be.
Pettitte has never won a Cy Young. He's never been considered one of the best all-around pitchers of his generation and he certainly never dominated. His numbers (240 career wins, over 2,200 strikeouts) are nice, but they're not Hall-worthy. And of course, there was the performance-enhancing drug fiasco, that will likely be a bigger deal-breaker than one playoff start on Monday night.
There will be a Hall of Famer going on Monday night in the Bronx. He's left-handed. And he might be a Yankee at some point very soon. But he's not Andy Pettitte.
Will Monday night's start have any bearing on Andy Pettitte's Hall of Fame chances? Share your thoughts below.
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