Yankee fans have long had a love affair with Andy Pettitte, having watched him grow up from the bright-eyed kid who had an inauspicious debut on Buck Showalter’s 1995 team to the beloved Yankee with a championship pedigree he is today. Jerry Hairston may have broke up Andy Pettitte’s bid for Baseball immortality with an error on an easy grounder by Adam Jones with 2 outs in the 7th, but Andy and his teammates handled it flawlessly. Andy said after the game:
Hairston felt terrible, but Pettitte eased his pain by giving him a hug in the clubhouse.”He was kind of funny,” Hairston said. “He was like, ‘You took the pressure off me.’ He goes, ‘If I haven’t thrown a no-hitter by now, then I’m not going to do it.’ He was probably the best. He said he didn’t want to throw nine innings anyway. That’s what type of attitude he has.”
After the error, as Hairston walked into the dugout with his head down in the 7th, manager Joe Girardi patted him on the back and used his finger to lift up Hairston’s chin, literally and figuratively saying to him ‘Keep your chin up’. Universally, the Yankee dugout was seen on the YES broadcast supporting and encouraging Hairston.
Pettitte still made history regardless of the perfect game outcome. He passed Lefty Gomez for third place on the all-time Yankees wins list with No. 190. He also improved his career record in August to 50-19, giving him a .724 August win percentage, which is third best all-time. If the Yankees wind up going deep into October, much will be made of Brian Cashman signing pitchers with 2nd half pedigrees, which CC, AJ and Andy all have.
Personally, I wasn’t overly upset by the error. Even without Hairston’s error the perfect game was still unlikely. You need some good luck to throw a no-hitter/perfect game under the best of circumstances. Allowing two hits doesn’t take anything away from what a beautiful game Andy pitched last night. In a way, the way the team rallied around Hairston means much more than that. We’ve seen recent editions of the Yankees where that didn’t happen. It tells you what this team is made of. The fact that Andy handled this disappointment as well as he did comes as no surprise to anyone, and that says more about Andy than any one game ever could.
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