When I go out on the street in my fake mustache (Bobby V. style, so I blend into the native populace) and ask the generic, run-of-the-mill Yankee fan who the greatest Yankee starting pitcher ever is, you know what everyone says? “Whitey Ford,” of course. When I ask who’s #2, however, what’s the most common answer? It’s, “uhhhh, ummmm, rrrrrrr, weeeellll.” I tried to look up uhhhh, ummmm, rrrrrrr, weeeellll on baseballreference.com, thinking maybe it was a Japanese pitcher I’ve never heard of, but no dice (k…ugh, I’m full of bad jokes, today). The fact is that, despite the grandest tradition in all of baseball, the Yankees haven’t had that many bona-fide superstar starting pitchers.
So I said to myself, “Self, who knows, maybe Andy Pettitte is the #2 Yankee pitcher of all time? Let’s look at the stats to see. Andy ranks 4th all-time in Yankee wins, so he’s certainly right in the mix. Heck, maybe he could even make a run at #1? A quick look at Whitey’s numbers reaffirm why they call him the Chairman of the Board. He’s #1 in wins, with 236 and an impressive ERA+ of 133 (remember, ERA+ is ERA in comparison to the rest of the league, with 100 being average, thus it accounts for many of the differences between various eras (ERA – era, groan).
Anyhoo, Andy does not compare. His ERA+ of 117 is very respectable, but it falls well short of the Chairman. Andy’s neutralized WHIP of 1.27 is actually better than Whitey’s but that’s really the only category where he has an edge. Could Andy be #2, though, that’s an interesting question. A look at the rest of the top 10 in wins looks like this (from baseballreference.com):