By Sweeny Murti
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Today it’s called George M. Steinbrenner Field, but when it first opened in 1996 the Spring Training home of the Yankees was called Legends Field. It was a nod to the team’s past, and that past is paid deep respect every spring when guest instructors include Hall of Famers like Yogi Berra, Reggie Jackson, and Goose Gossage, and other pinstripe greats like Ron Guidry and Tino Martinez.
Returning as a “legend” for the first time Monday was the tall lefty from Texas, number 46, Andrew Eugene Pettitte. Looking fit, though admittedly a couple pounds over his playing weight, Pettitte laughed easily as he met reporters and spoke about his duties here.
“I’m not looking to try to coach anybody,” Pettitte said. “If the guys want to ask me questions or whatever, obviously I’ll be more than happy to talk to guys and stuff like that, but I’m just coming to hang out really.”
Pettitte took on a mentor’s role in his second tour of duty with the Yanks from 2007-2010. I asked Andy what was the best advice he could give the young prospects that hope to be as successful in pinstripes as he was:
Pettitte admitted that after stepping onto the grass he felt a little twinge, missing the action on the field, but his home life has been more than enough to keep him active and busy in the 13 months since he announced his retirement. In fact, he doesn’t even have enough time to watch the Yankees play most nights:
When Pettitte left for Houston as a free agent after the 2004 season, the Yankees didn’t hesitate to give out his #46. Immortals such as Donovan Osborne, Alan Embree, Darrell May, Scott Erickson, Aaron Guiel, and Jose Veras all wore Pettitte’s number before he came back to reclaim it in 2007. My guess is Pettitte can now come back each spring for as long as he wants and find his familiar digits hanging in his locker.