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Everystros XCI

The 91st chapter of Everystros features Andy Pettitte.

2005 World Series - Houston Astros vs Chicago White Sox - Game 2
Andy Pettitte
Photo by G. N. Lowrance/Getty Images

Everystros XCI

76. Andy Pettitte (Bagwell score 45.58) is a six-foot-five left-handed pitcher from Baton Rouge, LA. Born on June 15, 1972, he was a 22nd-round pick of the New York Yankees in 1990 out of Deer Park High School. Pettitte was one-of-four to reach the majors out of the round, but he earned 60.2 career bWAR, and the other three players combined for -1.2 bWAR. Pettitte was also the eighth of now 12 players drafted with the 594th choice to make the majors, easily leading the fraternity. He’s joined by Bob Forsch (24.6 bWAR), Wade Miller (14.6 bWAR), and Zach Duke (12.2 bWAR).

Pettitte played his first nine seasons with the Yankees (149-78, 3.94, 1792 23 IP, 1275 K), making the 1996 and 2001 AL All-Star Teams. The 1996 campaign would also see him lead the AL with 21 wins and finish second in the AL Cy Young Award vote. On December 16, 2003, the Astros signed Pettitte through free agency, for three years and $25.5 million.

Pettitte played all three seasons with the Astros, going 37-26 with a 3.38 ERA and a 1.230 WHIP. He issued 142 walks and struck out 428 over 519 23 innings, keeping his opponents to a .252/.303/.396 slashline. On July 30, 2005, he kept the Mets to two walks and three hits, striking out six over eight shutout innings in a 2-0 victory against New York. On May 14, 2006, he pitched a three-hitter, walking one and striking out seven in a 3-0 victory over the Colorado Rockies.

After having spent the entirety of his pre-Astros career in the AL, Pettitte proved to be adequate as a hitter, with a .143/.170/.191 slashline, with 28 sacrifice hits, one home run, and 10 RBI. He made four errors in 112 fielding chances on defense for a .964 fielding percentage.

Pettitte returned to the Bombers for the 2007 season, and eventually pitched another six seasons with the Yankees (70-49, 3.93, 1003 23 IP, 745 K). In 2019, he was hired on as a special advisor to the GM with the Yankees, but only served one season (to date). SABR Bio

75. Denis Menke (Bagwell score 42.54) is a six-foot infielder from Bancroft, IA. Born on July 21, 1940, he made his first major league appearances with the 1962 Milwaukee Braves, and remained a Brave through their move to Atlanta for an eventual total of six seasons (685 games, .245/.331/.384, 59 home runs, 248 RBI). On October 8, 1967, the Braves traded Menke with Denny Lemaster to Houston for Chuck Harrison and Sonny Jackson.

Menke played four seasons with Houston, appearing in 604 games and starting 157 games at second base (1367 13 innings, .982), 294 at shortstop (2601 13 innings, 1355, .956), 96 games at first base (904 13 innings, .996), 35 games at third base (315 innings, .943), one game in right field (12 23 innings, no errors) and one in left field (nine innings, no errors).

Menke made the NL All-Star Team as the shortstop in 1969 and 1970. Overall at the plate, he slashed .268/.358/.376, going 572-for-2132 with 100 doubles, 20 triples, 30 home runs, and 17 stolen bases in 42 attempts. He drew 292 walks, struck out 316 times, scored 267 runs and drove in 281.

On May 12, 1968, Menke singled in the sixth, then hit a come-from-behind, go-ahead two-run single in the seventh, helping to defeat the St. Louis Cardinals, 3-2. On September 20, he singled in the seventh and hit an eighth-inning come-from-behind, go-ahead two-run single in a 7-6 triumph versus the Cincinnati Reds.

On July 11, 1970, Menke singled in the third, singled again in the seventh, then hit a game-tying RBI-triple in the ninth inning in an eventual 14-inning 5-4 Houston win over the San Francisco Giants. On August 26, he hit a come-from-behind, go-ahead three-run ninth-inning home run, in an eventual 5-4 win over the Montreal Expos.

On November 29, 1971, the Astros traded Menke with Ed Armbrister, César Gerónimo, Joe Morgan, and Jack Billingham to the Reds for Lee May, Jimmy Stewart, and Tommy Helms. Menke played two seasons with Cincinnati (279 games, .218/.340/.318, 12 home runs, 76 RBI). On February 18, 1974, the Reds traded him back to the Astros for Pat Darcy.

In Menke’s coda with the Astros in 1975, he played in 30 games, starting three times at third base (39 innings, no errors), once at second base (14 innings, no errors), and zero times at shortstop (7 13 innings, no errors). At the plate he went three-for-29 with a double, scoring two runs and driving one in, with four walks and 10 strikeouts. SABR Bio

74. Greg Gross (Bagwell score 57.35) is a five-foot-10 left-handed outfielder and first baseman from York, PA. Born on August 1, 1952, he was a fourth-round choice of the Astros in 1970 out of Red Land High School. He was the best of four to reach the majors out of the round, with a 12.4 bWAR versus the collective -0.6 bWAR of the other three. He was the third of 25 to reach the majors after getting chosen 80th overall. ranking fifth. Curtis Granderson (47.2 bWAR) leads the group.

Gross made his major league debut with the Astros in 1973, and played his first four seasons with Houston, playing in 430 games. He started 70 times in left field (719 innings, .974), 313 games in right field (2704 23 innings, .979), and once in center field (eight innings, no errors).

At the plate, Gross slashed .298/.380/.359, going 458-for-1537 with 49 doubles, 22 triples, and 18 stolen bases in 47 attempts. He drew 207 walks and struck out 119, scoring 202 runs and driving in 105. On October 2, 1974, Gross singled and scored in the sixth, hit a go-ahead RBI-triple in the seventh inning, and singled in the 10th, but Houston lost to the Los Angeles Dodgers, 5-4.

Houston traded Gross to the Chicago Cubs for Julio González on December 8, 1976. Gross played two seasons with the Cubs (239 games, .288/.354/.394, six home runs, 71 RBI) and followed with 10 seasons for the Philadelphia Phillies (1080 games, .279/.374/.335, one home runs, 128 RBI).

On April 5, 1989, Gross signed to return to the Astros, and played in 60 games. He hit .200/.310/.200 with four RBI. Gross later went into coaching, mostly as a hitting coach. He served in the role for the Colorado Rockies in the minors, then served as a hitting coach in the Phillies organization from 2001 through 2012. He then joined the Arizona Diamondbacks as their Triple-A hitting coach with the Reno Aces, through 2020.

73. Carl Everett (Bagwell score 103.03) is a six-foot switch-hitting outfielder from Tampa, FL. Born on June 3, 1971, he was a first-round choice of the New York Yankees in 1990 out of Hillsborough High School. Out of 30 to reach the bigs out of the round, Everett ranks fifth with 20.4 bWAR. The group is led by Chipper Jones (85.3 bWAR) and Mike Mussina (82.8 bWAR). Forty-eight have reached the majors after being chosen 10th overall.

Everett reached the majors with the Florida Marlins in 1993, playing in parts of two seasons for the nascent franchise (27 games, .186/.230/.286, two home runs, six RBI), then joined the New York Mets for three seasons (322 games, .250/.326/.402, 27 home runs, 127 RBI). On December 22, 1997, the Mets traded Everett to the Astros for John Hudek.

In two seasons for the Astros, Everett played in 256 games, starting 227 games in center field (2,014 innings, .984) and seven games in right field (94 23 innings, .974). At the plate, he slashed .310/.378/.526, going 289-for-931 with 67 doubles, four triples, 4 home runs, and 41 stolen bases in 60 attempts. He drew 94 walks and struck out 196 times, scoring 158 runs and driving in 184.

On July 2, 1999, Everett singled in the third against the Reds, singled and scored in the fifth, hit an inside-the-park home run in the seventh, and a go-ahead two-run double in the eighth, the eventual winning margin in a 7-5 triumph over Cincinnati. On December 14, 1999, the Astros traded Everett to the Boston Red Sox for Adam Everett and Greg Miller.

Everett went on to play two seasons with Boston (239 games, .281/.350/.519, 48 home runs, 166 RBI, 2000 AL All-Star), a season-plus with the Texas Rangers (179 games, .270/.343/.483, 34 home runs, 113 RBI, 2003 AL All-Star), part of 2003 and 2004 (and all of 2005) with the Chicago White Sox (251 games, .268/.331/.443, 38 home runs, 149 RBI), part of 2004 with the Montreal Expos (39 games, .252/.319/.378, 40 home runs, 184 RBI), and 2006 with the Seattle Mariners (92 games, .227/.297/.360, 11 home runs, 33 RBI).

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