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During the 1970s, Yankee management made a policy of acquiring pitchers through trades and free agent signings. As a result, Guidry did not find a regular place in the Yankee rotation until 1977, when he was 26 years old. Even then, there were those who felt that the 5'11" 160-lb lefty was too small to pitch effectively and last in the major leagues. Guidry dispelled the notion by going 16-7 that year and perfecting the wicked slider that became his bread and butter pitch. He went on to lead the majors in victories from 1977 through 1987 with 168, posting records of 18-8 (1979), 21-9 (1983), and 22-6 (1985). He is fourth on the all-time Yankee victory list (170), second in strikeouts (1,778), sixth in games and innings, and tied for sixth in shutouts (26). Guidry compiled a 5-2 postseason record, 3-1 in World Series play.
Guidry's success and durability were attributable in part to the fact that he was an outstanding athlete. He won five straight Gold Glove awards (1982-1986) and was twice used briefly in the outfield.
Guidry was slow to recover from elbow surgery following the 1988 season, and he started 1989 on the disabled list before beginning a rehabilitation assignment in June at Triple-A. When he didn't impress the Yankee management with his performance at Columbus, he retired from baseball on July 12, 1989.