Comparing Pettitte To Ford

Congratulations to Andy Pettitte for passing Whitey Ford on the all-time New York Yankees strikeout list. But how well does Pettitte compare to Ford overall? Let’s compare some significant categories to find an answer. 

First, to be fair, the total career starts are used. This means Pettitte’s time away from the Yankees is included. This is the only fair way to compare. To penalize Pettitte for his temporary hiatus would not truly serve our purpose. 

Mandatory Credit: Jesse Johnson-USA TODAY Sports

So we know that Pettitte has more strike outs. But in total it is not close. Pettitte has 2,386 career K’s to Ford’s 1956.  Keep in mind that Ford’s career lasted only 16 seasons. But the innings pitched is close. Pettitte has pitched 3216.2 innings. Ford pitched 3170.1. That’s close enough to give Pettitte the edge. 

Next, let’s examine hits allowed.  In those 3216 innings, Pettitte has given up 3341 hits. Ford, on the other hand, gave up only 2766 hits. Even with the small difference in innings pitched, Ford gets the check here. The difference between the totals is too much. 

When comparing runs allowed, let’s stick to earned runs. Pettitte has allowed 1383 earned runs to Ford’s 967. Again, Ford gets the check because the difference is too large since the innings pitched is close. 

It would follow then, that Ford would win the earned run average battle. Pettitte has a career ERA of 3.87 to Ford’s 2.75. Perhaps this is giving Ford credit for basically the same measurement, but earned runs allowed is really what pitching is all about, right? 

Pettitte does have more career victories than Ford. Right now the difference is 250 to 236. Of course, this disparity can only increase. Look for Pettitte to reach the 300 mark before he is done. That should clinch his spot in the Hall of Fame.

So that leaves us with career winning percentage. Pettitte has 250 wins and 148 losses for a .628 percent. Ford counters with a record of 236 and 106, putting him at .690. 

Overall, the edge goes to Ford. Of course, if Pettitte finishes his career strongly he could change that. But to compare so closely with such a great pitcher is a tremendous honor.