First Pitch: Pettitte cared as much as you

September, 28, 2013
9/28/13
6:00
AM ET
Andy PettitteKevin Jairaj/USA TODAY SportsAndy Pettitte will make his final appearance just 20 minutes from where his baseball dream began.
HOUSTON -- Andy Pettitte grew up 20 minutes from Houston. In Deer Park, Texas, Pettitte developed his burning desire to win. Seventeen years ago, YES Network's Jack Curry, then with the New York Times, described a tale from Pettitte's childhood the month before the 1996 Yankees won their title.

Even then, Andy Pettitte wanted to know why his team had lost and why the other kids, their minds drifting to cartoons or ice cream cones, were so lax.

"That's the biggest thing that has stuck in my mind about him," said Tom Pettitte, his father. "He looked up at us from the back and he was still crying. He said he was crying because they lost and because the other kids didn't care. 'Why don't they care?'"


You see, the reason why Yankees fans care so much about Pettitte starts right there. He always seemed to care as much as you did. While you were yelling at the screen, he was yelling at himself on the mound.

But no one receives the tributes that Pettitte and Mariano Rivera have received by just caring. There have to be results, and Pettitte's had plenty. Saturday night, Pettitte will take the mound for the 575th time in his career between the regular season and postseason. He is 255-153 with a 3.86 ERA in the regular season. In the playoffs, he was 19-11 with a 3.81 ERA.

Pettitte, 41, will make his final start of his career on Saturday. When you think about, it seems wholly appropriate that Pettitte will end his career pitching in Houston against a Clemens -- Paul Clemens.

UP NOW: Ian O'Connor on Robinson Cano. Alex Rodriguez says he is probably done for the season. Mariano Rivera will decide if and where he plays this weekend. Pettitte was honored by the Astros.

ON DECK: Ian and I will have you covered. Game time is 7 p.m. ET.

QUESTION OF THE DAY: How should Joe Girardi handle taking Pettitte out?
Andrew Marchand is a senior writer for ESPNNewYork. He also regularly contributes to SportsCenter, Baseball Tonight, ESPNews, ESPN New York 98.7 FM and ESPN Radio. He joined ESPN in 2007 after nine years at the New York Post. Follow Andrew on Twitter »

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TEAM LEADERS

WINS LEADER
Masahiro Tanaka
WINS ERA SO IP
12 2.51 135 129
OTHER LEADERS
BAJ. Ellsbury .293
HRM. Teixeira 17
RBIM. Teixeira 48
RB. Gardner 59
OPSJ. Ellsbury .778
ERAM. Tanaka 2.51
SOM. Tanaka 135