"I'm announcing my retirement prior to the conclusion of our season because I want all of our fans to know now—while I'm still wearing this uniform—how grateful I am for their support throughout my career. I want to have the opportunity to tip my cap to them during these remaining days and thank them for making my time here with the Yankees so special.
"I've reached the point where I know that I've left everything I have out there on that field. The time is right. I've exhausted myself, mentally and physically, and that's exactly how I want to leave this game.
"One of the things I struggled with in making this announcement now was doing anything to take away from Mariano's day on Sunday. It is his day. He means so much to me, and has meant so much to my career that I would just hate to somehow take the attention away from him."
Pettitte, age 41, previously retired in February of 2011 but came back midway through the 2012 season. In 2013, Pettitte has pitched to a 3.93 ERA (103 ERA+), 1.39 WHIP and 2.60 K/BB ratio.
Somewhat fittingly, Pettitte is slated to start against the Giants in Yankee Stadium on Sunday, which would put him on target to make the final start of his career against the Astros in Houston. Pettitte, of course, makes his home near Houston and spent three seasons with the Astros.
Entering those final two starts, Pettitte's career numbers are impressive: 255-152; 3.86 ERA; 117 ERA+; 3,300 innings; and 2,437 strikeouts. Pettitte ranks in the top 100 all-time for strikeouts (37th), games started (39th), wins (42nd) and WAR (58th). Insofar as the Hall of Fame is concerned, Pettitte's solid 3.81 ERA across 44 postseason starts will likely help his case. His previous use of HGH, however, may hurt him.
CBSSports.com's Danny Knobler was on hand when Pettitte addressed reporters on Friday, and he notes that Pettitte's original plan was to announce his retirement the day after the season ended, but he was convinced by teammates and others that he needed to do it now. One reason, Pettitte said, was that he wants to be able to thank fans. "I've been retired, and I know what it's going to be like," he added. "It's great."
Knobler notes that Pettitte brought up his past HGH use himself, prompted only by a question about any regrets he harbored. "I know my heart. I never tried to cheat this game," Pettitte said. "I've kind of danced around it the last 5-6 years, but that's the truth."
In a somewhat related matter, Pettitte also addressed his Hall of Fame candidacy. "I'm very thankful and blessed people bring up my name," he said. "Do I feel like I've dominated this game? No. I feel like every outing has been an absolute grind."