On Wednesday, the National Baseball Hall of Fame welcomed four new members. For just the fourth time in 82 years, the Baseball Writers Association elected a class of four or more players. Both Chipper Jones and Jim Thome were voted in as first-ballot Hall of Famers.
After falling just 15 votes shy of being enshrined last season, second-year candidate Vladimir Guerrero received 92.9 percent of the vote, which is now a record for a player in his second-year on the ballot. For former San Diego Padres closer Trevor Hoffman, the third time was, in fact, the charm. Hoffman, who missed by five votes last year, received 79.9 percent of the votes.
Roger Clemens and Barry Bonds, two of the best to ever step on the diamond, both received over 50 percent of the vote, but each gained less than three percent when compared to last year. Both had each leaped about eight or nine percent over the past two seasons, but that did not occur in 2018.
Edgar Martinez, who was estimated to receive around 77.5 percent of the vote, fell just short at 70.4 percent. Martinez has now gotten the short end of the stick for nine years, but seems destined to reach the hall next season in his final year of eligibility.
Similar to Martinez is Mike Mussina, who continues to rise up the ballot. In 2013, the former Baltimore Orioles and New York Yankees pitcher earned just 20.3 percent of the vote. In the voting unveiled Wednesday night, Mussina finished with 63.5 percent. He now has five more years to get the last 11.5 percent.
In all likelihood, Mussina appears to be a lock for the Hall of Fame. If he is elected next season, he would join former teammate Mariano Rivera. If he somehow has to wait another year, he will go in with Derek Jeter, who will be on the ballot for the first time in 2020.
Yes, Mussina was never as good as Pedro Martinez, Randy Johnson, John Smoltz, Tom Glavine or Greg Maddux, all pitchers who played in the same era and have since been elected into the Hall of Fame. However, Mussina had a very great 18-year career. Let’s dive into the numbers.
Mike “Moose” Mussina was a five-time All-Star and won seven Gold Gloves, which is tied for the fifth most among pitchers. Before he made the MLB, Mussina was a baseball, basketball and football standout at Montoursville High School in Montoursville, Pennsylvania. As a pitcher, Mussina went 24-4 with a 0.87 ERA
The Baltimore Orioles drafted him out of high school, but Mussina opted to attend Stanford University. As a junior, Mussina went 14-5 with a 0.99 ERA for the Stanford Cardinal baseball team. In 1990, not only did he graduate from Stanford with a degree in economics, Mussina was also drafted 20th overall by the Orioles.
He is the only pitcher in MLB history to have four perfect seasons in the field and win a gold glove, which is a year with no errors and a 1.000 fielding percentage. Mussina also had six top-five finishes in the voting for the AL Cy Young Award.
Mussina’s 270 career wins ranks 33rd all time. He is also 20th in strikeouts and 24th in pitching wins above replacement. His 82.9 WAR ranks ahead of Bob Gibson, Tom Glavine, Don Sutton and Jim Palmer to name a few, all Hall of Famers. His 44.5 WAR7, which is a stat that compiles a pitcher’s seven best WAR seasons, eclipses Hall of Famers Nolan Ryan, Dizzy Dean and Red Ruffing.
Numbers Never Lie
In 1995, Mussina led the AL in wins (19) and shutouts (four). A year later, Mussina led the AL in games started with 36. He had 11 seasons of 15 or more wins, which is tied for 15th all time. Mussina led the AL in innings (237 2/3) in 2000. In 2008, at the age of 39, Mussina became the oldest pitcher to ever win 20 games.
In the postseason, Mussina had a 3.42 ERA in 23 career games. He has thrown the 10th most innings in postseason history, and ranks fifth in career postseason strikeouts. His four appearances in the 1997 playoffs were absolutely magnificent. A member of the Orioles at the time, Mussina went 2-0 with a 1.24 ERA and struck out 41 batters in 29 innings. He also notably defeated Randy Johnson on two occasions in the ALDS.
While he never threw a perfect game, he was pretty close on multiple occasions. On May 30, 1997 against the Cleveland Indians, “Moose” had retired the first 25 batters before surrendering a hit to Sandy Alomar Jr. with one out in the ninth. In 1998, against the Detroit Tigers, Mussina retired the first 23 men he faced. With two outs in the eighth, Frank Catalanotto doubled. On Sept. 2, 2001, Mussina was just one out away from perfection, but gave up a single to Carl Everett of the Boston Red Sox.
Tables to tell all
|Pitchers with W>=270, SO>=2,800, ERA<=3.70, and ERA+ >= 120|
Pitchers with seasons of W>=15, ERA+>=130 and WHIP<=1.28
|PITCHER||NO. OF SEASONS|
|MIKE MUSSINA+ 3 OTHERS||7|
The 3.68 ERA is a bit high, as it would rank the fourth highest for members in the Hall of Fame, but let’s not forget he played in the heart of the steroid era. Mussina has the fourth highest career JAWS of any pitcher not in the Hall of Fame. He also has over 100 more wins than losses. All pitchers who accomplished this, besides Roger Clemens, have been inducted into the Hall of Fame.
While he may have not been the best pitcher at any time, Mussina had a tremendous career and is deserving of the Hall of Fame nod.
Featured image by SI.com
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