Pettitte versus McNamee

For a moment, let’s put aside the the discussion about how we should judge Andy Pettitte. I want to view him as a witness. Given the common perception of Pettitte as an honest man, I think it is interesting that people generally assume that Pettitte’s story backs up McNamee’s account of events. This then boosts McNamee’s credibility in regard to Roger Clemens’s alleged drug use. While Pettitte concurs with McNamee’s accounts of his own use, Pettitte does not back McNamee on all accounts, especially on this particular event, which ought to be memorable.

Here is McNamee’s story from his deposition.

And it was in, it was in Roger’s gym when he — I was cleaning up after one session. Then we do like an agility program, then we toss and then we go. They throw off the mound and then we do weight work. Roger was changing his shoes, tying his shoes on the side in his gym, Andy is long tossing in the corners of the gym diagonally to be the first — I think C.J. Nitkowski was throwing first and then I’d catch. So it was cleaning up the area, then we did the cardiovascular and agility work. Andy Pettitte was having a conversation with Roger 5 feet away. I walked in between the middle. Andy started to back up, back up, back up. He was getting further away from Roger. And all he did was bark at me and say why didn’t you tell me about that stuff.

Q That was Andy Pettitte speaking?

A Yes. And I said what stuff are you talking about? And I said — he goes, growth hormone. And I said why. He goes, well, Roger is telling me that he’s taking it and you know you get me all this protein and this recovery stuff and why don’t I take it. And I said well, Andy, it’s illegal and I know how you are. And he just looked at me and he says well, if it’s illegal then never mind, never mind. That was pretty much the last time we spoke about it. (pp.29–30)

He continues later in the deposition.

Q In that incident in the gym did you overhear what Clemens and Pettitte said to one another?

A Not really.

Q Did you hear anything?

A I was annoyed. I was annoyed. And I think Roger just shut up because he knew I was annoyed. But no, I didn’t really hear what they were talking about.

Q And why were you annoyed?

A Because it makes me look stupid when a guy, you know, does that, undermines me where you know I don’t feel comfortable about doing something and then he tells somebody that. I have a confidentiality thing where why would I go talking about this. And I’m telling you that C.J. Nitkowski, I just got done telling him he doesn’t need to take Winstrol. And then he’s telling Andy that he’s taking growth hormone and I don’t even know what else. And I was like why would you do that to me because then Andy thinks — you know, I didn’t want to break a trust. And that’s how Andy was going about it. He’s like, what are you talking about, you don’t tell me about this. And you know it just put me in an awkward situation. So I looked at Roger, and I mean that was the end of the conversation. So no, I didn’t hear what they said or what they were talking about other than what Andy said.

I find it strange that Pettitte has no recollection of this conversation in his deposition when he is specifically asked about the event.

Q I want to ask some questions about other conversations that you might have had with others, other players about this topic of steroid use or HGH use. And we’ve received some information that there was a training session at Clemens’ house in the 2001-2002 off-season that you attended and other players attended in which the subject of steroids or HGH was discussed. And I want to see if you recall anything about that. Do you recall anytime when you were training at Clemens’ house with McNamee and the topic of steroids or HGH ever came up?

A I don’t.

Q I’ll give you a few more details of what we’ve heard and see if it jogs your memory. And if it doesn’t, it doesn’t. The other players who were there at the time were C.J. Nitkowski and Justin Thompson in addition to you and Clemens, and Brian McNamee was there training you guys. And what we’ve heard is you were long tossing with C.J. Nitkowski in the gym in Clemens’ house and Clemens apparently mentioned his use of performance-enhancing substances to you and it prompted you to go to McNamee and ask him questions about it. You said — apparently or that what we reportedly heard is that you said McNamee, you never told me about this before, about what Clemens is doing and it’s making him feel great. Does that jog your memory at all as to that episode?

A I definitely remember being over there with C.J. and Justin. But I just — I don’t remember us having that conversation. I don’t believe that — I don’t believe that we’d have been talking about that in front of those — you know, the young kids you know. (pp.41–42)

Pettitte, who has been praised for his honesty, does not recall what sounds to be a rather animated discussion according to McNamee. And C.J. Nitkowski also does not remember this conversation, but says that if such a conversation had happened, he would not have been able to hear it (p. 26–27).

If you are interested in this case but have not read through these depositions (available here), I would encourage you to do so. It is clear that the Congressional hearings did a poor job of sorting through all of this information.

7 Responses “Pettitte versus McNamee”

  1. slugfest says:

    “And then he’s telling Andy that he’s taking growth hormone and I don’t even know what else.”

    This quote is interesting. From this statement one could conclude that at some point apparently Roger took over his own drug regimen, and may have been using stuff without mcnamee’s knowledge. I could be reading into it too much though, :).

  2. Marc Schneider says:

    McNamee certainly isn’t a paragon of virtue and his story may not hold together in all the particulars. But I still go back to what incentive he has to lie about Clemens and I can’t find one.

  3. JC says:

    Go read the Murray deposition. McNamee was clearly hitting up Clemens for money and wasn’t getting it. He admits seeking television and book deals to tell his story in his own deposition. Murray refers to him as a “gravy trainer.” Also, he’s been busted buying and selling drugs AND the IRS is involved. I think he has plenty of incentive to lie.

    What incentive does Clemens have to lie? Pettitte seems to have come out of his admission OK. I think few of the Mitchell report’s casualties have suffered.

  4. Barton Lawless says:

    I like this blog, but it seems to be turning into a relentless apologia for Clemens. In the face of mounting evidence and testimony against, and no new evidence in his defense… where is this argument going? The defenses of Clemens on this blog are getting more strident and awkward… you’re digging your way into a hole. Let it go?

    I would love to see more “regular” posts on baseball’s economics, especially player and skill valuation. Your thoughts on those topics are very useful and good reads.

  5. JC says:


    Like I always have, I write about what is in the news. The Clemens-Pettitte-McNamee controversy newsworthy, and therefore I write on it. I suspect readers outside of Atlanta aren’t all that interested in what is going on with the Gwinnett Braves, which is a topic I have written on quite a bit.

    I also tend to blog about topics that are not covered elsewhere. It’s not helpful just to pile on what others have already said. In reference to the Clemens case, I have been concentrating on things that have not been mentioned in the media. These things just happen to be things that support Clemens. Pettitte’s story does not fully back up McNamee. Pettitte does think it is possible that he misunderstood Clemens in 1999. Aren’t these relevant facts? The “mounting evidence” appears to be the same thing we had before: Brian McNamee’s testimony. I’m not sure what type of hole I might be digging, since I have no stake in this. I am happy with the destination of my intellectual soul.

  6. slugfest says:

    well I think Knoblauch corroborating his own use bolsters mcnamee’s case a bit.

  7. JC says:

    well I think Knoblauch corroborating his own use bolsters mcnamee’s case a bit.

    I don’t recall anyone saying otherwise.

    Of course, McNamee did change his story in regard to the number of injections from 7–9 to 50.