Houston Astros: Examining former players Hall of Fame cases

Houston Astros closer Billy Wagner pitches against the Arizona Diamondbacks during the ninth inning, 26 June 2001, in Phoenix. The Astros won 10-7. AFP PHOTO/Mike FIALA (Photo by Mike FIALA / AFP) (Photo by MIKE FIALA/AFP via Getty Images)
Houston Astros closer Billy Wagner pitches against the Arizona Diamondbacks during the ninth inning, 26 June 2001, in Phoenix. The Astros won 10-7. AFP PHOTO/Mike FIALA (Photo by Mike FIALA / AFP) (Photo by MIKE FIALA/AFP via Getty Images) /
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Pitcher Andy Pettitte of the Houston Astros during game 2 of the World Series against the Houston Astros at US Cellular Field in Chicago, Illinois on October 23, 2005. (Photo by G. N. Lowrance/Getty Images)
Pitcher Andy Pettitte of the Houston Astros during game 2 of the World Series against the Houston Astros at US Cellular Field in Chicago, Illinois on October 23, 2005. (Photo by G. N. Lowrance/Getty Images) /

Andy Pettitte

Here’s another candidacy that’s hamstrung by allegations of PED use. Andy Pettitte was also named in the Mitchell Report and was tied up with Clemens, and he admitted to using Human Growth Hormone, though he stated it was not banned by MLB at the time and that he used it to help rehab from an injury rather than to gain an unfair advantage.

Putting that aside, his Hall of Fame candidacy from a sheer statistical standpoint is a borderline one. His 256 wins in 18 seasons is a solid total considering the era in which he pitched, and his 2,448 strikeouts isn’t bad given that he wasn’t really a power pitcher. He was durable and consistent, and his 19 postseason victories are the most all-time, four more than the next-highest total.

However, his 3.85 career ERA is unimpressive, as is the fact that he finished with an ERA north of 4.00 in exactly half of his major league seasons. You do have to consider the fact that he pitched most of his career in the loaded AL East in the steroid era, so that number is bound to be inflated. His adjusted ERA of 117 is decent but unspectacular, although his 60.2 career WAR is impressive.

The only time he didn’t pitch for the Yankees was when he came home to Houston for three seasons, tallying a 37-26 record and 3.38 ERA to go along with respectable numbers in the Astros 2005 World Series run. Overall, he’s got some numbers that work in his favor and some that don’t.

Pettitte appeared on 11.3 percent of ballots in 2020, his second year of eligibility. He’s been named on 17.4 percent of ballots so far in 2021, so he’s making incremental gains. He still has seven more tries at it, so there’s a chance he could pick up some steam eventually. But the PED cloud may be what ends up holding him back in the end.

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