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Dotson Lewis' Blog


Benchwarmers Blog

Special to Island Moon

Dotson's Note: With all of the Major League Baseball stories of performance enhancing drugs, it is refreshing to hear the story of the Pettittes' (father Andy & son Josh) success in baseball.  Andy had his run-in with performance enhancers, but admitted his mistakes, cleaned up his act and kept working as a Major League baseball player. Andy pitched in two Texas High School state baseball championship games.

Andy Pettitte won his first game in the major leagues on June 7, 1995, when his son Josh, the first of four Pettitte sons, was seven months old.

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Josh & Andy Pettitte

Nearly two decades later, Andy Pettitte has 250 wins and Josh Pettitte is, for now, a member of the New York Yankees organization, having been selected in the 37th round of this year's MLB draft.

The fact that both happened on the same day, at virtually the same time, made Saturday a memorable day in the history of the Pettitte family of Deer Park, Texas.

"It's special," said Andy Pettitte, who pitched into the eighth inning of the Yankees' 3-1 victory over the Seattle Mariners at Safeco Field. "I'll remember this one, that's for sure."

"It's a great honor and blessing getting the call from the team that you've grown up watching and all the big leaguers play for," said Josh Pettitte, a slightly smaller and decidedly younger version of his soon-to-be 41-year-old father.

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Josh Pettitte

If genetics holds up, Josh Pettitte -- who pitched two no-hitters this season -- will still be pitching and winning major league games in the year 2037. And the way Andy Pettitte pitched on Saturday, he might be, too.

But even if it turns out to be a short-lived story -- both father and son insisted that 18-year-old Josh, a senior at Deer Park High School, would attend Baylor University before re-entering the draft three years from now -- it put smiles on the faces of everyone in the postgame clubhouse beyond what would be expected after a win over the rather harmless Mariners.

Even if it was done more as a symbolic gesture and a courtesy, the drafting of Josh Pettitte by the Yankees was probably the only event that could have eclipsed an accomplishment as important as Andy Pettitte's 250th win, a milestone achieved by only 42 other pitchers, 31 of whom are in the Hall of Fame.

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Andy in his 250th Major League Win

The news arrived via telephone to the Yankees clubhouse during the eighth inning of the game, while Andy was in the shower, having just been removed from the game, and Josh was sitting on the clubhouse couch watching the conclusion and hoping that the Yankees bullpen could preserve the two-run lead.

"I was actually shaving, and I come walking out here and he was on the phone," Andy Pettitte said. "He told me he had just spoke with [scouting director Damon Oppenheimer]. I just gave him a big hug and a kiss and told him I love him and I'm proud of him and said let's see what happens three years from now. Dad wants him to go to school."

Dad is likely to get his way, since the money for a 37th-round draft pick is not likely to dissuade Josh from pursuing a course of study in sports management along with his baseball career, even if it means that, three years from now, he might well be drafted by a different organization.

Josh Pettitte is listed as 6-foot-1 and 190 pounds but appears a bit smaller. Andy Pettitte, of course, is fully grown (6-foot-5 and 230 pounds) and as maturely developed as any pitcher in the game.

Andy mowed through the first nine hitters he faced on Saturday before Jason Bay led off the fourth with a single. The Mariners wound up with a run that inning because what looked like a double play ball was bobbled by Jayson Nix, which lengthened the inning enough for Michael Morse to drive Bay in with a sacrifice fly.

Pettitte then retired the next 10 hitters he faced before allowing a leadoff single to Nick Franklin in the eighth. After retiring Michael Saunders on a foul pop, Pettitte left the game for his memorable clubhouse moment with Josh, and Joe Girardi (Yankees manager) went to his bullpen, from which first David Robertson and then Rivera put the final touches on win No. 250.

"It's definitely a huge day for Josh," Andy said. "It's all tied in together now for me, though. It's like I can't separate them because they're both together. It just all happened right here, and the game was ending, so it's just really cool."