After seeing James Kannengeiser's wonderful piece on Ian O'Connor's silly article, I feel compelled to post something I wrote about Ian Connor's article about Andy Pettitte's HOF candidacy about a week ago.
I am an avid fan of the now defunct blog Fire Joe Morgan. I have tried my hand at doing what they do and usually failing miserably but I think this one was my best, obscenities and all.
Reggie Jackson is making a plea for immensely above-average to OK starter Andy Pettitte to be inducted into the Hall of Fame. Now, I'm on a vicious insomniac binge right now and this is about the only think keeping me from eating a pint of ice cream, so Ian O'Connor will feel my wrath tonight.
Mr. October makes pitch for Pettitte
Reggie says Andy has Cooperstown cred -- and if he beats Lee in Game 3, watch out
Well, we all know how that second premonition turned out, although Pettitte wasn't all that shitty, Cliff Lee just has about 76 different facets of good juju going for him right now along with an incredible curveball.
If Mr. October's two assumptions are intertwined then he has as much credibility as Geraldo hyping up Al Capone's long-lost safe.
Reggie Jackson was handicapping Andy Pettitte's Hall of Fame chances the other night, and you should know the slugger does not go to bat for every Tom, Dick and Andy who knocks on Cooperstown's door.
Reggie Jackson is sure no stranger to handicapping, especially when it comes to Yankee locker rooms. But I digress.
We now must elect Andy Pettitte into the Hall of Fame because Reggie Jackson says so. You know what, fuck the ballot. Just say whoever you feel should be in the Hall of Fame without looking at stats. I nominate:
The sausage Randall Simon hit with a bat
The guy who puked on a 10-year old girl in Philadelphia
Now that's a ballot.
Sure, Jackson is biased. He is inclined to give the benefit of the doubt to fellow New York Yankees, and to fellow card-carrying members of the Mr. October club, too.
So he doesn't throw his endorsements around often and when he does they're biased and completely arbitrary. That's like me saying I don't endorse political candidates often, but I endorse Half-Filipino transvestites and people who are a member of the Five-Tool Tool Really Fucking Likes You club. It's a double secret club in that the members don't even know it exists and 3/4 of them are dead.
Also, what the shit is the Mr. October club? Reggie's career playoff splits are .278/.358/.527 so the OPS is .885. I'll make my own shallow assumption and assume people with an equivalent or higher OPS makes the club, or it could be as fucking stupid and arbitrary as people thinking Jack Morris is a postseason king based upon one game. I'll presume it leans more towards the latter, but I'm making the list anyway.
Mr. October club (people with higher playoff OPSes than Reggie Jackson and not in the HOF)
Willie Mays Aikens
A-Rod (not Jeter)
On my worst day, the only people getting my vote are Jeter, Pujols, and A-Rod. Beltran and Delgado are iffy. The rest, if I ever saw them on a HoF ballot I would think it was a fucking joke, but hey, they are Mr. October club members!
But Jackson also believes there should be a second Hall of Fame for the real Hall of Famers.
There is one in Cooperstown, NY. Many outstanding ballplayers are enshrined there and it is the only one every goddamn person in the universe should care about. Also, Reggie just admitted that Mr. October club membership is a mirage, so suck it Willie Aikens.
In other words, he believes there are too many ballplayers enshrined in Cooperstown, men who were too mortal on the playing field to be sculpted into bronze baseball gods.
Holy crap. Does he really believe this, or are you just extrapolating bullshit from quotes, Ian O'Connor? If Reggie really thinks this is true, he's a goddamned fool.
So let's take all the people Reggie thinks should not be there and change their bust from bronze to aluminum foil and Sharpie. And we'll do it all on Reggie's discretion! Reggie thinks Steve Carlton was a dick? Bust comes down. Reggie thinks Ty Cobb was a pussy? Take that shit down. Reggie thinks Bob Feller was too mortal (only 36.7 ICARP -Immortal Characteristics Above Replacement Player!)? Fuck him, Feller gets the foil treatment.
You know who should get in? Joe Rudi, man. That guy was so immortal he once did blow off his own penis, hit a home run, and flew over the Bay Bridge on a coke high. That's like 5 ICARP alone.
So when Jackson says Pettitte is worthy, you listen.
No, after the previous two paragraphs, I'd rather listen to the opulently hairy fellow by the World Trade Center telling me how 9/11 was caused by porn stars and the Big Dipper than listen to Mr. October wax poetic about Hall of Fame candidacy.
When he agrees that a conquest of Cliff Lee in Game 3 of the American League Championship Series could serve as a down-the-road tiebreaker, you can't wait to get to ringside for Monday night's heavyweight title bout, maybe the most anticipated fight in the Bronx since Joe Louis dropped Max Schmeling three times in the first round.
Andy Pettitte could have thrown a 27-strikeout perfect game against Cliff Lee and I still wouldn't think he is the best playoff pitcher or a Hall of Fame candidate because no empirical statistic would say so.
"I think if Andy beats Lee," Jackson said, "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. But something like this would give him additional consideration."
Yes, one game is enough to incontrovertibly sway Hall of Fame voters into inducting Andy Pettitte according to Reggie.
I will show pity for Reggie though as he is suffering from a chronic illness known as Jack Morris Syndrome. JMS occurs when a baseball pundit remembers on specific even about a candidate and processes to beat opponents over the head with that one game, completely ignoring how careers are often far longer than one game. The theory derives from former Twins/Tigers pitcher Jack Morris who threw an immensely impressive 10-inning complete game in game 7 of the 1991 World Series. No one denies this achieve is impressive, but to base one's candidacy for the Hall of Fame on it is lunacy.
Jack Morris Syndrome sufferers tend ignore inconvenient facts. For example, JMS sufferers would see this:
Mr. Morris pitched 4 postseason games for the 1992 World Series Champion Blue Jays. Hence he is fucking awesome and should be in the HoF since this was his third World Series Ring and he is a postseason God.
Non-sufferers see the following:
Mr. Morris pitched 4 postseason games for the Blue Jays in the 1992 Postseason. He was fucking terrible, posting an 0-3 record with an ERA of 7.43 in those starts. The Blue Jays went 1-3 in those starts and would have been 0-4 had they not made a miracle comeback in Game 4 of the ALCS. They won the World Series in spite of Jack Morris' shit-tastic pitching. According to ERA+ Morris was the third-best starter on every single World Series team for which he played.
Something like beating an indomitable postseason terminator before a full Yankee Stadium house.
Another Yankee Stadium metaphor that sounds like John Updike on an LSD trip.
In this corner, the Texas Rangers southpaw who is 6-0 in the postseason with a 1.44 ERA and who has struck out 54 batters while surrendering only six walks.
That's crazy good. If Cliff Lee were a boxer, he'd be Mike Tyson circa 1987.
In that corner, the Yankees southpaw who is the most prolific postseason winner of all time (19 victories) and who was tough enough and bold enough once to defeat John Smoltz 1-0 in a World Series death match.
If this were a boxing match based upon postseason stats, Cliff Lee would make Andy Pettitte's face concave with one punch. He's 19-10 with a 3.83 postseason ERA in 263 innings and a 1.304 WHIP. He was 2-0 in the World Series last year despite a 5.40 ERA. He's pitched very well in some series (2000 and 2003 World Series even with a loss in the latter) and pitched craptacular in others (basically any other series in which he has pitched two games).
In fact, his only other start against John Smoltz in the 1996 World Series: 2.1 IP, 6 H, 7 R, 7 ER, 1 BB, 1 K.
Pettitte's numbers that series: 1-1, 5.91 ERA 1.406 WHIP
Smoltz' numbers that series: 1-1, 0.62 ERA 1.000 WHIP
For Gods' sake, O'Connor, the run Smoltz gave up against the Yankees in that 1-0 game was unearned because Marquis Grissom botched a fly ball, but JMS does do that to people.
Lee by first round TKO, by the way.
But far beyond the pressing need for his Yankees to take a 2-1 series lead, Pettitte could be pitching for a legacy not yet fully defined. If he has a credible shot at Cooperstown, Pettitte is not a lock.
No one with functioning brain cells thinks Andy Pettitte is a lock for the Hall of Fame.
His admission of human growth hormone use and his connection to Roger Clemens complicates his case, and leaves Pettitte needing all the tiebreakers he can collect.
Who gives a shit? How about his career 3.88 ERA? His career 4.17 FIP? His 3185 hits allowed in 3051.1 innings? His career 1.357 WHIP which is worse than AJ Burnett, Joe Blanton, and Aaron Harang? There's your reasons why he isn't anywhere close to being a lock.
A 20th postseason victory would be a hell of a start
As the chief psychologist at the Center for Jack Morris Syndrome Study, I, Dr. Daniel P. Convery, have devised an ingenious plan for all of our patients in the recovery. The first therapy session was have them read off our first step to curing JMS: Measuring individual pitcher success by their number of wins is fucking stupid, especially with regard to the postseason. You can be shitty and still win or unhittable and lose. It's a cute stat, but wins are a team stat and a a terrible one for measuring individual success. We make them repeat it 100 times a day until it becomes a mantra.
"I think [beating Lee] would just make people more aware," Jackson said, "because the media will start to single out all the great confrontations and moments he's had. So I think if Andy beats him, he'll be over the hump. There are guys already in the Hall of Fame he has outperformed."
Who the fuck in the Hall of Fame has he outperformed? His ERA would be the highest ever for a pitcher, and his ERA+ is nothing to write home about (still kinds impressive, and I do grant his pitching in an offensive ERA, but he doesn't even have a top 15 ERA+ for an active pitcher). John Smoltz has a career ERA+ of 125.
The only HoF pitchers with a similar ERA + or lower include Gaylord Perry, Steve Carlton, Ferguson Jenkins, Robin Roberts and a ton of guys from the Dead Ball Era (the four pitchers I named all have lower WHIPs and pitched far more innings than Andy Pettitte)
Over 16 regular seasons, Pettitte is 240-138, a .635 winning percentage. He has more victories than Yankee Hall of Famers Whitey Ford (236), Catfish Hunter (224) and Lefty Gomez (189). Pettitte has a better winning percentage than non-Yankee Hall of Famers Bob Gibson (.591), Tom Seaver (.603) and Bob Feller (.621).
You're nuts. Psycho-batshit crazy. See the JMS Clinic mantra about pitcher wins. If you even have to debate most of those candidates you should have a restraining order against you filed by the Hall of Fame that you cannot come within 2 brain cells of talking about the HOF.
Whitey Ford: 236-106, 133 ERA+, 1.215 WHIP 55.3 WAR in 3,170 IP
Catfish Hunter: 224-166, 105 ERA+, 1.134 WHIP 32.5 WAR in 3,449.1 IP
Lefty Gomez: 189-102, 126 ERA+, 1.352 WHIP 43.0 WAR in 2503 IP
Bob Gibson: 251-174, 128 ERA+, 1.188 WHIP 85.6 WAR in 3884.1 IP
(I'm fucking comparing Bob Gibson to Andy Pettitte, I know)
Tom Seaver: 311-205, 128 ERA+, 1.121 WHIP 105.3 WAR 4783 IP
Bob Feller: 266-162, 122 ERA+, 1.316 WHIP 66.0 WAR in 3827.1 IP
Pedro Martinez (same era as Pettitte): 219-100, 154 ERA+, 1.054 WHIP 75.9 WAR in 2827.1 IP
Andy Pettitte: 240-138, 117 ERA+, 1.357 WHIP 50.2 WAR in 3055.1 IP
I'll take Bob Gibson with a shattered right elbow and a hand mangled in a fire over a healthy Andy Pettitte any day of the week.
But only once has the durable Pettitte finished in the top three of the Cy Young Award voting.
Yes. 1996 when he had inexplicably got votes and had the second highest ERA among a pool of shitty finalists. Really, that might be the worst pool of Cy Young candidates ever. Randy Johnson was hurt, Roger Clemens didn't give a shit in Boston, and the pitcher with the lowest ERA and WHIP that year (Juan Guzman) didn't even get a vote. Basically, people who vote for the Cy Young are usually morons and Pettitte's lack of Cy Young doesn't hurt his case, actually.
He has only two 20-win seasons and three All-Star Game selections to his name.
Doesn't hurt his case at all. Citing the number of All-Star Games a player has made is high idiocy. People cyber-stuff the ballots and vote for players in May for whom they have a hard-on irregardless of stats.
You know who has 4 All-Star Games to his name? John Stearns.
Pettitte also has benefited from tremendous run support, as his career ERA of 3.88 would be the worst in the Hall of Fame (though he did spend most of his career in the rough and tumble American League East).
"I still think the postseason gets him in," said Jackson, one Mr. October looking out for another.
Of course, Whitey and the Old Schoolers didn't have the extra playoff rounds to pump up their stats. On the other hand, Whitey's .556 World Series winning percentage is no match for Pettitte's .679 in the postseason.
Ian, the mantra. I know you want to think winning percentage is important for measuring individual pitching success, but it's not.
Whitey Ford, postseason: 10-8, 2.71 ERA, 1.137 WHIP
Andy Pettitte, postseason: 19-10, 3.83 ERA, 1.304 WHIP
Andy Pettitte, World Series: 5-4, 4.06 ERA, 1.403 WHIP
Whitey was simply the better pitcher. Basically, people are rewarding Pettitte for being on a ton of good teams and pitching in a ton of playoff games. Not necessary being good in them, but showing up and registering a 98.4 body temperature in them.
And what of Pettitte's HGH confession and his places in the Mitchell report and the Clemens depositions? Pettitte might be saved by his otherwise dignified approach and neighborly demeanor, even if many thought his own HGH story -- only two days of use, and only to heal up an elbow injury -- was hard to believe.
Fire Joe Morgan already talked about this far better than I could so go here and read the article at the top. Pettitte could tell the entire world he just shoved AJ Burnett off the GWB into the fucking Hudson River, and people would admire his courage for speaking up.
"It seems like they've looked the other way with him," Jackson said of the news media. "Some guys get it, and some guys don't."
Some have standards, some don't.
Either way, Pettitte gets the ball Monday night with a shot to enhance his already historic postseason career. Win, lose or draw, Jackson said, "It's going to be hard to keep Andy Pettitte out of the Hall."
I have my own haiku about Andy Pettitte's candidacy to counteract such a subtle and Petrarchian rhyme of draw and Hall:
Average pitcher is
Shunned by Cooperstown voters
No surprises there.
My finest literary hour, for sure.
But a win over Cliff Lee would make it harder, as in a lot.
There's something sexual embedded in this sentence, but I'm far too drowsy to explore it.