The 2018 Hall of Fame class is loaded with players deserving to have their career enshrined forever in Cooperstown. There are 33 candidates this year, included in that, 19 new players to the ballot. Mike Mussina, also known as “Moose”, was a consistent ace for the Baltimore Orioles and the New York Yankees for many seasons. This is his fifth time on the ballot.
Mike Mussina – Career
Mussina made his MLB debut with the Orioles on August 4th, 1991 versus the Chicago White Sox. His dominant playoff performance in the 1997 series vs. the Cleveland Indians set a record for strikeouts with 15. Earlier that season, Mussina had carried a perfect game into the 9th inning against those same Indians, who had an extremely loaded line-up.
Mussina had 83 Wins Above Replacement over his 18 year career, that is more than 41 of the current Hall of Fame starting pitchers. Moose, with his 270 Wins, ranks ahead of over 30 hurlers in the hall already. A fierce competitor on the mound, with his arm, as well as his glove. He also won seven Gold Glove Awards in his illustrious career.
Compared with Jim Palmer
Perhaps the best comparison to Mussina is the 1990 HOF inductee, Jim Palmer. Each had long, consistent careers. Palmer pitched 19 seasons and Mussina retired after a 20 win campaign in his 18th season. Both rightys pitched for Baltimore (Mussina first 10 seasons) and each had the exact same winning percentage at .638. Palmer, two wins shy (268) and one less loss (152) than the Stanford alum.
Mussina has 2,813 strikeouts against the 2,212 that Palmer accumulated. Mussina also owns a better WAR (83 vs. 69.4), but Palmer has a better ERA (2.86 vs. 3.68). Sure, Jim Palmer has the Cy-Young Awards (3) and the ERA Titles (2), but he pitched in a much different time in baseball. Mussina matches or exceeds many current Hall of Fame pitchers stats.
AL East / Steroid Era
Playing against powerhouse teams of the American League East is no easy task. Powerful line-ups in the seemingly “always stacked” Eastern Division. Skeptics point to the lack of awards from Mussina, he never won the ERA title, or the Cy-Young Award. In fact, he did not record a 20 win season until his final one in 2008. However, he was always in the top 10 of all the most important statistical categories. Pitching against the Yankees, Toronto Blue Jays, Boston Red Sox and eventually the Orioles made for tough starts every time out against divisional foes.
He was facing lots of likely juiced up hitters for years. The time period in which Mussina pitched in, the steroid era, he still dominated opposing batters. He faced hitters who were possibly cheating to gain an edge, and the pride of Williamsport (yes, that Williamsport) still excelled.
Mike Mussina – Hall of Famer
Mike Mussina is a clear cut choice to be inducted into the Hall of Fame in 2018. Legendary pitchers such as Randy Johnson, Pedro Martinez, John Smoltz, Greg Maddux and Tom Glavine have been enshrined into Cooperstown in the last few years. It’s time, this year for Mussina to become immortalized for future generations. Mike Mussina is a Hall of Famer!
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