Andy Pettitte’s Hall of Fame Credentials Strengthen Case of ‘Borderline’ Candidates Like Curt Schilling

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Andy Pettitte's Hall of Fame Credentials Strengthen Case of 'Borderline' Candidates Like Curt Schilling Andy Pettitte finally put Yankees fans — and certainly Brian Cashman — out their collective misery on Friday when he formally announced his retirement.

And as the smoke clears, and the Yankees get ready to go on their merry way with the possibility of guys like Bartolo Colon and Freddy Garcia (along with maybe even Kevin Millwood or Jeremy Bonderman) toeing the Yankee Stadium rubber come April, the conversation in regards to Pettitte will undoubtedly turn to the left-hander's prospects of making the Hall of Fame.

On the surface, making the case for Pettitte to one day be enshrined to Cooperstown's hallowed halls, isn't totally unreasonable.

However, if you dig a little deeper, the thought of Pettitte one day making a speech in a Cooperstown field thanking those who paved the way for him to be there is a little out of reach.

When it comes down to it, Pettitte is not Hall-worthy. If he is enshrined in five years — likely longer in the unlikely event that it happens — other pitchers, most notably Curt Schilling should be there first.

Since Schilling formerly announced his retirement in 2009, there has been ongoing debate in baseball circles about his Hall of Fame credentials. For whatever reason, there are plenty who are opposed to the thought of Schilling in Cooperstown.

When you put the resumes of Pettitte and Schilling side-by-side, however, the case for Schilling as a Hall of Famer is that much stronger.

The way that a lot of people look at Hall voting is that voting likely comes down to two things: accumulative career statistics and whether or not you were among the most dominant at your position in the era you played in.

When you compare Schilling and Pettitte, it's tough to argue that Schilling doesn't have Pettitte in both categories.

There's no question that, when he was healthy, Schilling was the more dominant force. He made six All-Star appearances to Pettitte's three, and Schilling struck out 300 a couple of times in Philadelphia, also doing so in Arizona at the age of 35. Sure, they were different types of pitchers, but Schilling was in the Cy Young discussion every year for a considerable stretch of his career. Pettitte, on the other hand, finished higher than fourth only once in Cy Young voting, losing out to Pat Hentgen way back in 1996.

There are also the career numbers. In four less seasons, Pettitte does hold a considerable advantage in wins over Schilling. Pettitte's 240 wins obviously trump Schilling's total of 216. When you take into account that Pettitte played on much better teams for much of his career, that makes all the sense in the world. When you take into account Schilling's injuries, that's another reason.

However, if you were to break Pettitte's resume into seperate bullet points, the biggest bullet point would precede the number five. That, of course, is the number of World Series rings Pettitte won in his career.

By comparison, Pettitte makes Schilling's collection of titles minute. Pettitte has five rings, Schilling has three. Again, that's more of an indication on teams Pettitte played on. When Schilling did make the big stage, he did not disappoint.

The common thought is that Pettitte was a tremendous postseason pitcher. While that's true, it's tough to argue that Schilling wasn't better. He was.

Look at the postseason numbers:

Pettitte:
19-10, 3.83 ERA (World Series: 5-4 WS 4.06)

Schilling:
11-2, 2.23 ERA, 4 CG (World Series: 4-1 2.06 ERA )

So, there's that.

Furthermore, Schilling even has the postseason lore that legends are made of. He and Randy Johnson split the 2001 World Series MVP for an Arizona team that took Pettitte (and his cool 10.00 ERA for that Fall Classic) and the mighty Yankees to seven games, dispatching them in the winner-take-all bout.

And of course, who in Boston will ever forget 2004's bloody sock?

Of course, this conversation of Pettitte's Hall merits don't even include the vaunted performance-enhancing drugs dilemma that will likely continue to follow him. And if Pettitte gets in, and someone like Jeff Bagwell doesn't get a sniff because of "suspicions," that's even worse. But that's a story for another day.

Someday, Andy Pettitte may be voted into the Hall of Fame. That day, is undoubtedly a long way away. If that does finally come, there's a waiting list, and it's headlined by Curt Schilling.

Only time will tell.

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