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Mussina finally gets moment in sun during Hall of Fame ceremony

The title isn’t necessarily a pun but those thousands in Cooperstown who watched Mike Mussina’s speech got to see the fruits of a labor that started nearly thirty years ago.  Mike Mussina was never the best pitcher in baseball during his career but he was always in the upper-echelon and never got the proper due because of that.

“Moose” deserved to be in the Hall of Fame years ago but finally got into the 2019 Hall of Fame Class.  His statline reads as follows;  270 wins, 153 losses, a 3.68 career ERA, five-time All Star and seven time Gold Glover.  It may not seem as impressive but he won ten games in 17 straight seasons and only had one losing season.

Mussina is the definition of the world “overlooked” in baseball lore.  He burst onto the scene as a youngster in Baltimore, going 18-5 with a 2.54 ERA in his breakout 1992 campaign.  He was both fiery and stoic on the mound and although he never won a World Series, he was a clutch performer.

Two instances stick out in particular when looking over Mike Mussina’s career.  One was a meaningless game against the Tigers, but it showed the moxie that Moose had and the confidence he had in his stuff;

The other was a bit more important.  Mentioned in his Hall of Fame speech were two tidbits about Mussina and his time in New York.  The first was him being convinced by Joe Torre to join the Yankees after spending his formative years in Baltimore.  He was never afraid of a new challenge despite not wanting to play in a big city.

The second and most important, that always gets overlooked, is his three inning relief appearance against the Red Sox in Game 7 of the 2003 ALCS.  That game has always been known for Aaron Boone’s extra inning heroics, but Mussina made his first career relief appearance and kept the Red Sox at bay, only giving up one hit in those three innings.

The “standard” of 300 wins to get into the Hall of Fame is essentially gone now.  Mike Mussina was just the latest in a growing list of pitchers who have/will make the Hall of Fame despite not winning 300 games.  With the game of baseball shifting and more relievers being used, it’s almost impossible to get to 300 wins now.  Mussina’s induction opens up the door for someone like C.C. Sabathia to make the Hall of Fame in his first or second try.

Moose was one of the best pitchers in baseball for an extended period of time, and he deserves to be in the Hall of Fame.  Some detractors may say that he’s in the Hall of Very Good but not the Hall of Fame but Mussina showed a consistent winning pedigree for nearly two decades.  He may not have the elusive World Series title to his name but he showed throughout his career he was a gamer.  Welcome to the Hall, Moose.  It took too long for you to get here.


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