All-star New York Yankees pitcher Andy Pettitte was not sure he wanted to retire until his wife told him in January that the time was right.
“I was starting to get a little irritable,” he said. “And so she basically booted me and said, ‘Go figure this out.’”
Therefore, he made the four-hour drive from his home in Deer Park, Texas to the ranch he owns near the Mexican border.
“I’m going to play,” he thought at the time. “The fans, the Yankees need me to play. I’m going to play. My wife supports it. My kids support it.”
Then he kept thinking.
“When I digged deep down in and I did some soul-searching – I don’t even know how to explain,” he said. “It wasn’t there. It wasn’t there like I wanted it to be there.”
He drove back home and then brought his family to their ranch to be sure he had made his final decision. He called general manager Brian Cashman on Tuesday to inform him that one of the greatest pitching careers in Yankees history was finished.
Pettitte was retiring after 16 seasons in major league baseball, 13 of which were with the Yankees and five ending with World Series wins.
From 1996 to 2000, he was part of a Yankees team that produced four World Series trophies. Pettitte is also associated his ex-teammate’s steroid case involving Roger Clemens. His link to the allegations might not get him inducted into Cooperstown.
At a press conference Friday that lasted nearly two hours, Pettitte sat with his wife at his side and talked about al the pressures he felt to return to game and the obligation he felt to stay on longer when Cliff Lee left the Yankees to head to Philadelphia.
He acknowledged the team’s fans and his departure leave the Yankees with two holes in their pitching rotation next to A.J. Burnett, Phil Hughes and C.C. Sabathia.
Pettitte won 240 games in his career and a record 19 playoff and world series games. Yankees spring training starts February 15 as the catchers and pitchers report.