In addition to Mariano Rivera, Roy Halladay, Harold Baines, Lee Smith, and Edgar Martinez, starting pitcher Mike Mussina was elected to the National Baseball Hall of Fame in 2019 and will now have his name etched in baseball immortality after a stellar Hall of Fame career. Mussina barely surpassed the 75% threshold with 76.7% after garnering 326 votes out of 425.
During Mussina’s Hall of Fame Major League career that spanned 18 seasons, with 10 coming with the Baltimore Orioles and eight with the New York Yankees, Mussina won 270 games with a 3.68 ERA and 2,813 strikeouts over the course of 3,562 2/3 innings. Mussina was given five American League All-Star team nods in addition to winning seven Gold Glove Awards.
Mussina never won a Cy Young award but came in second place to Pedro Martinez in 1999. Mussina retired from Major League Baseball at the age of 39 after going 20-8 in 2008, thus becoming the oldest first-time 20-game winner in Major League history. While Mussina’s statistics beyond wins don’t stack up as well compared to other Hall of Fame starting pitchers, he was deemed worthy of induction in this year’s Hall of Fame ballot.
Mussina was known for having stellar control with each and every one of his pitches with Tom Verducci of Sports Illustrated writing in 1994 that, “What’s most impressive is that from 60 feet, 6 inches, Mussina can dot the i in his autograph with any one of six pitches. He has three fastballs (a cutter, a sinker, and a riser), two curveballs (a slow curve and the knuckle curve) and an astonishingly deceptive changeup that is his best pitch.”
Since legendary fireballer Nolan Ryan was elected to the Hall of Fame in 1999, just three starting pitchers with less than 300 career wins have been elected into the pinnacle of baseball lore with Bert Blyleven (287 wins), Pedro Martinez (219) and John Smoltz (213) being those select few. Mussina is now the fourth.
Interestingly, Mussina will not don the logo of the New York Yankees or the Baltimore Orioles on his Hall of Fame plaque. Mussina will join the posthumously elected Roy Halladay who will also not wear the cap of any particular team.
“Both the Yankees and the Orioles were instrumental in my reaching Cooperstown,” Mussina said Friday in a statement released by the Baseball Hall of Fame.
“I am proud to have played for these great organizations, in front of the tremendous fans in Baltimore and New York, and I am honored to have the opportunity to represent them both in the Hall of Fame.”
Mussina had been on a steady upwards ascension to Cooperstown after receiving just 20.3 percent of the vote in his first appearance to 43 percent in 2016 up to 51.8 percent the following year, and 63.5 percent in 2018 before finally getting enough filled in boxes for a call to the Hall.
After a great Major League career, Mike Mussina will now join a select group of superstars who were the epitome of excellence for long enough to receive induction into the greatest fraternity in all of sports. The name Mike Mussina will now forever be in bronze atop the walls of Cooperstown.