Mike Mussina and the Hall of Fame


The BBWAA embarrassingly voted zero players into the Hall of Fame last week despite a ballot that included some of the best players many of us will ever see. That already-crowded ballot will get even more crowded next year, when shoo-ins like Greg Maddux and Frank Thomas become Hall-eligible. Former Yankee Mike Mussina will also join the ballot — has it really been five years since his 20-win season? goodness — and he also has a very strong case for enshrinement.

Mark Simon recently put together a look at Moose’s credentials, which include both longevity (14 straight seasons of 27+ starts) and a holy crap peak (1997-2001). His strong postseason track record is highlighted by an outrageous four-start showing in 1997. I believe Mussina is a Hall of Famer (Orioles cap), but he’s going to have a tough time getting in given all the other deserving players on the ballot. He might spend a few years waiting because of the numbers game.

Categories : Asides


  1. Karl Krawfid says:

    Not really understanding how you can punish steroid users AND the clean players that had to compete against them. It is one or the other.

    Moose better get in.

  2. He’s a no doubter in my opinion, but yes as an O.

  3. Blake says:

    Mussina is a weird case for me because I never really thought of him as a HOFer when watching him…..but when you look at his numbers and try to look past biases and perceptions and compare him to other players he really looks favorable.

    Clubhouse Confidential did a spot on him a couple of days ago…..compared him to Glavine who most think is a first ballot guy.

    Moose had a better career OPS+ , better WHIp, way better K rate….and played his entire career in the AL east in the PED era.

    Like I said….never thought of him that way….but the numbers are hard to ignore

  4. thunder rd runner says:

    Given the standard that has been set, then yes, he is HOF’er

  5. Tom says:

    His #’s (when you adjust for park/league) and his peripherals are as good, if not better than most of Glavine’s (other than winzzz)

    It will be interesting if the SABR community is as vocal about Mussina when he inevitably gets a lower total than Glavine – I have a hunch they won’t be so vocal.

  6. Blake says:

    I think the SAber community will support moose for sure….that is if they can find time between Jack Morris bashings

  7. moose! says:

    i dont care that his numbers were better with the Os he will go in as a yankee, his numbers arent that much better with the Os that would make it crazy for him to go in as a yankee. You can make any case you want he will be a yank in the HOF!

  8. moose! says:

    People really dont care about what the “SAber community” is vocal about. Just ask Mike Trout

    • Now Batting says:

      Finishing runner up in MVP voting to a triple crown winner isn’t exactly a smack in the face.

      • moose! says:

        Not to the player (trout) no but to the saber community it is people nate sliver and few of the espn saber guys cried out like someone was killed and it was just horrible MC won and not trout. MC and Trout were one & two there was no clear number that had a chance to win so being 2nd not a prize either

  9. trr says:

    Yes he is a HOF-er

  10. Endlessjose says:

    Mussina isn’t really a great pitcher because like Schilling there many pitchers that were way better than them in there era.Mussina looks like a minor leaguer compared to the Pedro and Randy Johnson type picthers.

    That being said I would say that Mussina who had great numbers while spending there whole career in the AL East is a big deal.I really don’t think NL style pitchers like Maddux and Schilling would have survived the AL East for more than 10 years.

  11. Tom in Georgia says:

    Well, there’s always Warren Spahn, Sandy Koufax, Whitey Ford, Lefty Grove, and a ton of others from the left side, Tom Seaver, Bob Feller, etal from the right.

    • Johnson was unfathomably dominant in an era dominated by offense, and the same goes for Pedro, though he didn’t quite have the longevity. Both of their accomplishments are massive in a vacuum, but they’re even more impressive when the era in which they pitched is taken into account. What they did was great; when they did it makes it even more great.

      • Tom in Georgia says:

        Do you know they didn’t juice, too? I wasn’t against the rules, then.

        • Wouldn’t make one iota of difference to me if they did or didn’t. Regardless of the reason, offense was the name of the game during their careers–from ‘roids, to expansion, to small parks, to juiced balls–and they not only flourished, but flat out dominated.

          • Kosmo says:

            Check out the 1930´s the era Grove pitched in. The AL was a hitters league without the DH and with less teams so a pitcher would have to face 7 teams six or seven times a year plus pitch in relief. Grove also had tremendous seasons in the almost ML Baltimore team before his contract was sold to the Athletics.
            Grove is to me the best LHP over a sustained period followed by Spahn and then Johnson. Johnson had 10-11 dominate years.
            Grove out WARS Johnson while pitching in 4-5 less seasons in a hitters era.

  12. hornblower says:

    Is the HOF for the greats or the very goods? If there is debate you do not get in.

    • Improbable Island's Dirty Midget Whores (formerly RRR) says:

      The problem here is that most people would say “no debate” with Glavine and “eh, maybe” with Mussina when even a cursory look at the stats shows Moose to be at LEAST as good, and probably even a little bit better, than Glavine.

      300 wins are a shiny toy and I think Glavine should be in, but then if he’s in you HAVE to put Moose in to be consistent.

    • WhittakerWalt says:

      Fine, except sometimes a player IS great but people at the time were just too ignorant to understand that. Ron Santo and Bert Blyleven, for example.

    • RetroRob says:

      That HOF has never existed.

  13. WhittakerWalt says:

    One knock against Mussina, at least in my mind, is that he was always a bit of an excuse-maker. I watched a lot of his games where he got rocked, and he’d frequently blame a lot of ancillary factors like the weather or the days between starts or whatever. And God forbid somebody make an error behind him, because the wheels usually came off after that, with Moose blaming the fielder for letting things get out of control.

    I do think Mussina’s a Hall of Famer, but I sure wish he’d whined a little less during his career. I can’t get inside Moose’s head to read his “mental toughness” or any of that shit, but he did seem like a guy who had a hard time sacking up and taking responsibility for a bad game. That will certainly turn off a lot of writers.


  14. Kevin G. says:

    Really wish he played two more years so he could get to 300. But I give props to him for going out on top.

    I wonder, if Moose played until he got 300 and won a World Series with the team in 09, would he go in a Yankees cap in that case? Would have spent the majority of his career in New York and have a NYY World Series ring.

    • Nathan says:

      I think even if he got a WS ring with the Yankees and 300 wins with the Yankees, he would go in as a Oriole considering his best years were with the O’s.

      Don’t get me wrong, I would be thrilled if he were to go in as a Yankee, I just don’t see it.

  15. WhittakerWalt says:

    Just imagine:
    If Moose gets Carl Everett out in that game, he’s got a perfecto under his belt.
    If Mo gets three outs against Arizona, Moose has a ring.
    If Mo gets three outs against Boston, Moose probably has another ring.
    If the voters knew what they were doing in ’01, Moose wins the Cy Young over Clemens.
    Any of these would go a long way towards making his HOF case.

    So many almosts.

    • Improbable Island's Dirty Midget Whores (formerly RRR) says:

      Ha! I was writing the basically same thing below when you posted this.

    • Dan says:

      This is a great point. I have long seen it as really unfair that the people who hold the key to the hall of fame are the same people who can decide on awards that are used as the benchmark for HOF worthiness. The fact that Moose doesn’t have a Cy Young will play against him, even if its the same voters who made the mistake in the first place. Same with Johan in ’05 (?) when Colon won a totally undeserved Cy. Johan with 3 CYs is a HoF.

      I think Moose takes 4-6 years, but gets in.

    • Ted Getzel says:

      If Moose got Sandy Alomar out after 8 1/3 he had a perfect game against an incredible Indian line up at bandbox Camden Yards!

  16. Now Batting says:

    Wins seems to be the sticking point. Sabermetric minded people will say they don’t matter. Traditionalists will say they do over the course of a career, plus moose got to play with great offenses and the greatest closer in history so it’s on him if he doesn’t have more.

    • Improbable Island's Dirty Midget Whores (formerly RRR) says:

      “Sabermetric people” will agree that a lot of wins over the course of a career does point to a sustained level of pitching success, but when one pitcher with less wins has better stats than the other pitcher than it’s pretty obvious that wins aren’t telling the whole story, since the pitcher with less wins has actually pitched better.

    • WhittakerWalt says:

      If only the greatest closer in history had saved gm 7 against Arizona, then Moose would be “world series champion Mike Mussina.”

  17. Improbable Island's Dirty Midget Whores (formerly RRR) says:

    He was really fun to watch his final year. He had that really creative style of pitching where he’d start with a curveball instead of a fastball and then go from there. Really interesting to watch how he effectively altered his style to make up for the decreased velocity.

    I always thought of Moose as Mr. Almost. He:

    . Almost pitched a perfect game

    . Almost won a Cy Young (’01

    . Almost won a WS (Twice!)

    . Almost won 20 games a few times, until his final season. Which was a really nice way to send him off and break the “almost” streak.

    • RetroRob says:

      So does that mean in his 15th and final year of eligibility he’s destined to get 74.4% of the vote?

      • Improbable Island's Dirty Midget Whores (formerly RRR) says:

        Makes sense that we’re having this discussion, in a way-he’s almost a hall of famer, maybe. I think as time passes he’ll make it in.

  18. Andy Pettitte's Fibula says:

    Why are we still discussing the HOF?

    After the BBWAA completely shit the bed last week, I’m done worrying about what those assholes think until the whole election process is revamped.

  19. Improbable Island's Dirty Midget Whores (formerly RRR) says:

    Another thing-what’s with this “sabermetric people” thing?

    Here’s the dictionary definition of sabermetrics:

    “The application of statistical analysis to baseball records, esp. in order to evaluate and compare the performance of individual players.”

    EVERYBODY does that when judging what players should get into the Hall of Fame.

    That some people use more accurate statistics than wins to compare players is just as much a part of sabermetrics as comparing the number of wins. The only difference is the accuracy.

    • Andy Pettitte's Fibula says:

      The stupidity of the voters is almost unfathomable. After the MVP voting, I tweeted to Mark Feinsand how could you not vote Cano in the top 10 after he finished 2nd in the AL in WAR and his response was that he doesn’t care about WAR.

    • RetroRob says:

      It’s odd when you think about it, since baseball has always been about statistics. Henry Chadwick was key to driving the popularity of MLB during its infancy through his use of statistics. Bill James a century or so later had a different but also revolutionary impact on baseball through statistics.

      All MLB teams today assess players and their teams using quantitative analytics, even the ones who deny it. They have integrated the use of advanced statistics and analysis with scouting. The last group to fully embrace this are many in the media who report on baseball. Not all, but still a sizeable enough group, and we see that in the HOF voting.

  20. blake says:

    I’m still pretty irritated that Bernie didn’t get the 5% to stay on the ballot this year…..

    He’s a borderline guy to me that’s probably a bit short in reality…..a HOF level player at his peak that didn’t quite have a HOF career…..but when Puckett, Dawson, and Rice are in and Bernie either had a similar or better career OPS + than all 3 of those guys…..and 4 rings…..then it’s kinda hard to understand how he got only 3% of the vote. I certainly hope Jorge is treated better when it’s his time in 4 years.

    • Improbable Island's Dirty Midget Whores (formerly RRR) says:

      Jorge’s place in the Hall is really debatable. He’s certainly no first balloter (as much as I think it’s dumb that some voters specifically don’t vote for people because they’re not “first balloters”), but he did have a long career with a lot of sustained offensive success. He was never the best catcher in the league but outside of a couple of years he was always within the top five. And his 2007 “dead cat bounce” season would have won him the MVP if A-Rod hadn’t gone bananas that year and played out of his mind.

      • Greg says:

        The problem with this is that he WAS the best catcher (as long as he was clean of course) of his era if all the suspicions are true about Piazza and Pudge – therefore I think it’s a no brainer that Jorge needs to be in.

    • WhittakerWalt says:

      Bernie was my favorite player during his career, but he wasn’t a Hall of Famer. His peak was just too short, and he was washed up by 33. It’s one thing to be washed up early if you’re Sandy Koufax, but to be a Hall of Fame outfielder you probably need more than 287 homers.

  21. Laz says:

    Kind of funny that Mussina missed WS rings on both ends of his NYY career. 1 year earlier or 1 year later…

  22. MB923 says:

    If Bagwell, Biggio, and Piazza missed out, I wouldn’t call Frank Thomas a shoe in

    • WhittakerWalt says:

      It should be interesting, since the Big Hurt was so vocal about his disdain for PED users. He should be a no-brainer, but who knows anymore?

  23. Pistol Pete says:

    His cumulative numbers say HOF but I watched him pitch for 8 years for the Yankees and never ever felt like he was a Hall of Famer. Not a great playoff pitcher, 7 and 8 and 5 and 7 for the Yanks. The playoffs mean a lot to me when considering the Hall but I think the writers actually put more weight in the regular season stats. I liked Wells far better than Mussina especially in the playoffs and especially for the Yanks. Andy too, and for sure Wells isn’t getting in and probably not Andy either. I think the Hall is for No 1′s for pitchers and I never felt Moose was a number 1 during his 8 yrs with the Yanks although he certainly was the Orioles no 1 those early years.

  24. Kiko Jones says:

    I don’t believe in “first ballots” or waiting; and the criteria should be clear cut: if your career numbers meet or exceed x, y and z you’re in. Period. It’s time to eliminate the nonsense that currently goes on voting wise. Also, penalizing those who submit empty ballots and taking away the BBWAA’s exclusive vote would be a good start.

  25. SusanIs says:

    If he doesn’t get in, he’ll blame it on the Japan trip.

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