Pettitte "will not pitch" this season

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The Andy Pettitte retirement press conference was held today at Yankee Stadium, and it was a sad day to be a Yankee fan. I felt like a part of my childhood had come to an end today; I’ve been alive for 27 years and seen Pettitte pitch in 16 of them.

The highlight was Bernie Williams showing up about 15 minutes late. Anyway, here are some of the quotes from Andrew Eugene himself:

I knew this is a day that would obviously come…I’m done with baseball, I won’t be taking the ball every fifth day for the Yankees anymore. This was not an easy decision for me, I feel like it was an easy decision but it wasn’t an easy decision. When I left Arlington Stadium last year, I felt like I was done. A lot of my teammates probably knew I was feeling like that.

I’m ready to go pitch in spring training, my arm feels great…my heart is not fully completely sold out in it.

I want to thank the New York Yankees organization. After I left (after the 2003 season) they brought me back. The last four years have been completely amazing. I want to thank the New York Yankees organization and the great, great players that I’ve played with.

I think the desire to compete. That’s one thing…It just didn’t feel right, I didn’t have the hunger, the drive anymore.

Two weeks ago I told (my wife) I was playing. When I thought about packing my bags and leaving, it just didn’t feel right in my stomach.

I can tell you I am not playing this season, 100 percent. But after that, never say never. I can assure you I am not playing this season.

He did have a feces-eating grin when he said that last quote, so maybe this isn’t the last of Pettitte we’ve seen on the mound…but, unfortunately, it probably is.

When asked if the Clemens perjury trial played a role in his decision:

(It) has not had any effect, I mean zero, on my decision. I would never let that interfere with a life decision. It never even entered my mind on what I would do.

I can’t say I believe him about the Clemens stuff. I truly believe that if the trial was scheduled for after the season and not in July he would be pitching this year.

That’s what I’m going to miss the most – just the fellowship with the guys.

Perhaps my favorite quote of the day:

I’ve never considered myself a Hall of Famer.

When asked if it mattered if the Yanks had signed Cliff Lee:

I don’t think that would have mattered. But there’s no doubt when they didn’t get him felt tremendous pressure to come back.

When they didn’t get (Lee), I felt a huge obligation…That’s why I started working out. I felt I owed it to this team.

How can you not love this guy after that quote?

I called them [Jeter, Jorge, Mo] and told them before it was announced. Wanted them to hear it from me. They were supportive.

An interesting point from the presser was that he said that a text message from Tino Martinez talking about how he played one season too long was a huge factor in his decision.

Here are some quotes about Andy Pettitte from the people who knew him best.

Derek Jeter:

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 nothing but happiness for him and his family, as I know how important they are to him.

Mo:

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.

Yogi:

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.

Whitey Ford:

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.

Tino Martinez:

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.

Joe Torre:

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 1990s 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.

Jorge:

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.

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