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Andy Pettitte is retiring again.  One would think that this time he really means it.  

He’s a shadow of the pitcher he was, and while he’s certainly not embarrassing himself, 2013 is not a year which has helped his legacy.   And while Pettitte says goodbye again -- this time without a playoff appearance for his effort -- so does the legendary Mariano Rivera.

Derek Jeter may choose to linger on, but as 2013 has shown us Jeter isn’t on his last legs, but his last leg singular.  It’s probably time to hang up his spikes, but even if he doesn’t, with Pettitte and Rivera riding off into the sunset it is the true end of the Yankees dynasty.  But I won’t write another requiem for the “Sandman,” despite his greatness or his unaccustomed moments of struggling this season.  This is about Pettitte.

Photo by Keith Allison, used under creative commons license.
The Yankees didn’t miss the playoffs because of anything that Pettitte did.  While he’s a game under .500 for the season, he’s posted a solid 3.88 ERA.  It is no means his best or his worst in that category; he kept the team in games.  Yet for the first time in his entire career he’s in danger of finishing with a losing season.   Of course he’ll get one more chance to avoid that -- pitching his final game in his hometown of Houston.

As we all know wins are a deceiving statistic.  Pettitte was by no means exceptional this year.  In fact he’s been the very definition of average (his ERA is exactly the average for pitchers this year), but he’s been sorely missing the vaunted Yankees offense that he’s been used to working with over his career.   With it, he probably would have won at least 15 games.  Without it Pettitte has won just 10 and had a season that simply hasn’t lived up to the standards that fans expect to see from the southpaw.

But in another way it’s been remarkable.  He’s 41, and by that age few starting pitchers are still trying to ply their trade in the Majors.  Fewer still are still managing to do so and putting up respectable numbers.  Pettitte has.  While statistically this is one of his weakest seasons, and it will drag down his overall averages, this season has been a gift to all the Yankees fans, as he did his best to help the team fill a need that seemed more like a chasm than a gap in the preseason.

Because of Pettitte and the management of Joe Girardi the Yankees have come close to the playoffs in a year they were expected to not even have a prayer (they still have a hope as I write this).

When it comes to assessing Andy Pettitte’s career this season will likely be a footnote.  It won’t sway the Hall of Fame voters among the Baseball Writers of America in terms of his overall body of work, nor will it erase the memories of those who’ll only remember his admitted HGH use.  But what it has once again shown is that Pettitte is a class act who has even come clean on that issue (remember he admitted his HGH use, came clean and apologized at a time when everyone else was busy denying) and has been there every time Brian Cashman and the Yankees have called him back.  He’s been there for the team, for the fans and even for himself.

He’s created a lot of memories  and pitched quite a bit of incredible baseball in his career.  For that we here at AHP thank him and wish Andy the very best in his retirement and hope that he can sit back and rest on the laurels that he’s earned.