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‘Moose’ finally makes the Baseball Hall of Fame

Well it took six years but one of the most underrated pitchers in baseball history FINALLY gets in. He was never the best and never the most dominant, but Mike Mussina was one of the most consistent pitchers of all time and aged like a fine wine.

Consider this; Mussina pitched in the AL East his entire career, which in itself is a feat considering he went up against the dynasty Yankees AND two Red Sox World Series teams. The first ten years of his career were spent with the Baltimore Orioles, and the last eight with the New York Yankees.

Mussina is the only pitcher in American League history to have 17 consecutive seasons of 11 wins or more. He only had more than 10 losses once in an eighteen year career. He never won the Cy Young but finished in the top six nearly every year. “Moose” was a seven time Gold Glove winner.

Mike Mussina never gets put into the category of greatest pitchers of all time because he did it all in such a nonchalant way. His pitches were crisp but not overpowering. His demeanor was stoic but not brash. His accomplishments were incredible but not eye-popping.

Mike Mussina never won a World Series but got damn near close. He was on the ’01 Yankees team that lost to the Diamondbacks. He was on the ’03 Yankees team that lost to the Marlins. He was on countless talented Orioles teams that could never get over the hump, despite having players like Brady Anderson, Cal Ripken Jr. and Rafarl Palmeiro.

Probably his defining moment as a pitcher and a competitor was in May 2006 when he shut down Joe Torre’s attempt to pull him in the ninth inning. It was a regular season game in Detroit and Mussina had just given up a run. Torre came to the top step to signal a bullpen change, but Mussina yelled back “NO, stay there!” as seen below. Torre got the message, Mussina struck out Carlos Guillen to throw a complete game and the rest is history.

Moose will be placed among the immortals because he deserves it. His 270 wins fall a little short of the “benchmark” of 300, but considering he nearly dominated during the Steroid Era in the AL East boosts those wins up a little. He has a .617 winning percentage, a 3.68 career ERA and although he was 7-8 in the playoffs, had more of bad luck than anything as he had a career 3.42 ERA.

Mussina is finally in the Hall of Fame where he belongs. It was a long time coming and it took a collective effort to get him in. He was never the best, but he damn sure was over his career one of the greatest of all time.

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