Great job by the Yankees PR department, which just passed along a series of quotes about the career of Andy Pettitte.
“Andy played with a competitive spirit that brought out the best in the teams he played for, and he exemplified this franchise’s commitment and will to win. He was an anchor for the tremendous success our team has achieved since the mid-1990s. A person and player the caliber of Andy Pettitte does not come around often, and he has earned the right to be considered among the greats that have worn the Pinstripes.
“We thank Andy, his wife, Laura, and their family for their many contributions to this organization. We hope the Pettitte family remains a part of the Yankees family for years to come, and we wish them nothing but the best moving forward.”
-Yankees Managing General Partner Hal Steinbrenner and Yankees General Partner Hank Steinbrenner
“It’s been a pleasure to play with Andy for all these years, and the Yankees have been fortunate to have him representing the organization both on and off the field.
“More importantly it’s been an honor to get to know him as a person, and I consider him family. I wish for nothing but happiness for him and his family, as I know how important they are to him.”
-Derek Jeter (current Yankee and teammate of Pettitte from 1995-2003 and ’07-10)
“Andy was a great teammate and a wonderful guy. He was a fighter and all about winning, and he was respected by every person in the clubhouse.”
– Mariano Rivera (current Yankee and teammate of Pettitte from 1995-2003 and ‘07-10)
“I’m really sad that Andy is going to retire. He was so much more than a teammate to me — he was one of my closest friends. I admire everything that he has accomplished as a Yankee, but Andy was someone who always put the team first. I’m going to miss him deeply.”
– Jorge Posada (current Yankee, who was a catcher for Pettitte from 1995-2003 and ‘07-10)
“He is one of the greatest pitchers in Yankees history. Whitey Ford might have more wins as a left hander, but through the seasons we won all those World Series, he was the anchor of our staff every year. Without him we don’t win all four World Series.
“Since I’ve been retired, I’m always asked, ’Who would you have pitch a World Series Game 7?’ And I always say, ‘Andy Pettitte.’ When people ask why, I tell them it was because he was so prepared for every start. When the time comes for a big game, you want a guy who’s going to give you seven strong innings. And that’s what he did time and time again.
“Andy was one of my favorite teammates in my entire career, and he is a great person off the field. In the clubhouse, he cared about the team winning, and he wasn’t interested in his individual stats. No matter how he was feeling he went out there every five days and gave us a chance to win.”
-Tino Martinez (former Yankees first baseman and teammate of Pettitte from 1996-2001)
“Andy took the ball every five days, and if he had it his way, he’d get it more often than that. What’s really unusual about him is that a lot of times pitchers are more consumed with themselves. Andy was probably the consummate team player, especially for a pitcher. He was so concerned not only about the day he pitched but he always had his arm around a young guy in between starts.
“He’s been a huge favorite of mine because he’s such a stand up guy, and he hasn’t changed from day one. He’s a great teammate, and I think that’s why he won so many games. The guys that play behind him understand how intense he is, and it becomes contagious.
“I think the impact he had on the teams we had in the mid-to-late 1990’s was enormous even though he was never the guy in the spotlight. He liked the fact that he wasn’t the No. 1 guy even though I trusted him like a No. 1 guy. But he didn’t have an ego that dictated he needed all that attention.
“He did a great job of channeling his energy into competing, and he was about as consistent a performer as anybody in terms of getting your money’s worth. He glued our staff together. When you’re performing with the same people year-in and year-out, it’s always nice to have that security blanket. He was certainly that guy on the pitching staff.
-Joe Torre (Yankees manager from 1996-2007; managed Pettitte from 1996-2003 and from ‘06-07)
“When I saw him early in his career, back in the early ‘90s, I could tell he was going to be good. But at that stage of his career it was hard for me to be sure how good he would become. When he broke in with the Major League club, he was already on a quality team, but with that influx of young talent—Jeter, Posada, Mariano and Andy—those teams became great.
“As the years came and went, my wife, Bonnie, and I had the opportunity to get to know him, and he became one of our favorites. Even though he lives in Texas, he has Louisiana in his blood, and I always kid him about that.
“I always told him that when his time was done in this game, his name would be right up there with the greatest left-handed pitchers to put on a Yankees uniform. I feel like he was the greatest left-handed pitcher I ever saw pitch at Yankee Stadium. I never had the chance to see Whitey (Ford) pitch, so the first person I think of is Andy.
“To me, the way he carried himself was head and shoulders above the great majority of other players. You knew he was going to represent the team with a certain type of class. If he made a mistake, he owned up to it. That’s the mark of a true pro. Athletes admire other athletes who have that quality.
“I wish Andy and his family nothing but the best as they move forward in their life.”
– Ron Guidry (Yankees pitcher from 1975-88 and Pettitte’s pitching coach with the Yankees from 2006-07. Guidry is fifth on the Yankees all-time wins list with 170 victories).
“I liked the guy from the first moment I met him, and after watching him a few times, I really thought he could be a great pitcher.
“He did right by his fellow players, the fans and the press. He is a wonderful guy and was a great pitcher.”
– Whitey Ford (Yankees Hall of Fame pitcher in 1950 and from ’53-67. Ford is the club’s all-time wins leader with 236 victories.)
“Andy has been a wonderful pitcher, one of the tops the Yankees ever had. He’s always a guy you always depend on and we’re gonna miss him.”
– Yogi Berra (Yankees Hall of Fame catcher from 1946-63 and Yankees manager in 1964 and ’84-85)
Associated Press photo