Former Houston Astros pitcher Andy Pettitte takes the mound tonight in his final appearance as a major leaguer. Pettitte is hanging up his spikes after an 18-year career in Major League Baseball. 

Pettitte played a key role in Houston Astros history. The veteran lefthander signed with the Astros after the 2003 season. He spent three years playing for his hometown team, and helped lead them to the World Series in 2005 (when he won 17 games). Astros President Reid Ryan told KTRH without Pettitte the Astros might never have gotten there. 

“He was here for a short time, but at the same he was here for one of the best times in the history of the Houston Astros,” Reid said. “The Astros went out and put the final free agent pieces of the puzzle together with Andy and Roger Clemens coming in and helping take them to the World Series.” 

Pettitte caught the attention of big league scouts as a pitcher at Deer Park High School. Coach Jim Liggett told KTRH you could not have written a better script. 

“The Astros had never been to the World Series. Here Andy was, hometown boy, having a huge part in getting them there,” Liggett said. 

Liggett helped develop Pettitte and says even though he became a big star he never changed. 

“The times we’ve talked felt like old times, like I was still Coach Liggett and he was Andy,” Liggett said. 

Pettitte will end his career with over 250 career wins and 19 post-season victories, most in baseball history. 

In five years, he will be eligible for the Hall of Fame, but he also was named in the 2007 Mitchell Report as a player who used performance enhancing drugs. It was a mistake that Pettitte owned up to immediately, and because he did that Liggett thinks he will get into Cooperstown sooner rather than later. 

“He’s always been a gamer. I don’t think there’s any reason he shouldn’t be in the Hall of Fame. He’s very deserving of it,” Liggett said. 

You can hear tonight’s game on Newsradio 740 KTRH. The Astros On Deck Show starts at 5:30, and the first pitch is scheduled for 6:10.