Andy Pettitte has long been one of my favorite pitchers in baseball. Yes, this is obvious. He pitched for the Yankees and I love the Yankees. But, like many of you, I always felt more of a “connection” to Andy Pettitte. Why? Well, a stupid reason. Andy and I share June 15th as our birthday. Not only was Andy the best pitcher for my favorite team, but he and I had the same birthday! When you’re a little kid, that sort of thing means a lot to you.
My dad and I have since started a relatively extensive autograph collection, but the first one I remember getting was one by Andy Pettitte, but it’s not on a baseball and I wasn’t there to see it signed. My mother worked in a now-gone store on Greenwich Avenue here in (duh) Greenwich. At the time, I can’t remember exactly what year, Andy was one of a handful of Yankees living in or around Greenwich. He came into my mother’s store to buy a gift for someone and she recognized him rather quickly. Of course the first thing she said was how big a fan I was and that he and I had the same birthday. Shyly, she asked if he would sign a business card and, luckily for me, Andy obliged:
Perhaps it’s odd that I don’t have many old memories of Pettitte, but that could be because I was far too young to fully appreciate baseball and watch each and every game with the same gusto I do now. I do, though, remember being crushed along with my friend Doug when the Yankees and Andy parted ways in the early part of the last decade. I remember being thrilled and having a “this just feels right” feeling when Andy came back in 2007.
I guess, then, my favorite Andy memory–memories would be more apt–would be the entire 2009 season. 2009′s World Series win will always hold the most special place in my baseball heart because it was the first Yankee World Series win I was old enough to appreciate. I’ll never forget Andy start each of the series clinching games. I’ll never forget sitting on the couch with my girlfriend, going nuts when Andy Pettitte got that single off of Cole Hamels in Game Three of the World Series.
Andy was never amazingly dominant for a long period of time, but, more importantly, he was never awful for long periods of time. My memory of Andy Pettitte will be one of the stare. It will be one of the kick. It will be one of the pick off mood. It will be one of the fist pump. It will be one of the smile. It will be one of consistency. It will be one I will recall fondly when watching baseball with my children. It will be one of love. In the future when I think of my love of baseball, Andy Pettitte will be one of the first players I think of.
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