Mike Mussina was a very good starting pitcher for a very long time. While he never reached the traditional Hall of Fame numbers of 300 wins or 3,000 strikeouts, he still put together an impressive resumé across his 18 seasons.
Mussina’s Hall of Fame candidacy is generally judged by what he failed to accomplish, such as never reaching the traditional plateaus and never winning a Cy Young or World Series title. Even with the glaring holes in his resumé, I still believe Mussina should be a Hall of Famer, and if I had a vote, Mussina would be on my ballot, as he was able to pitch in the AL East, which is traditionally hard for pitchers, during the steroids era, and serve as a model of consistency at the top of a staff. Imagine what Mussina could have done if he were pitching in the National League his whole career.
Mussina, now entering his third year on the ballot, received 20.3% of the vote in 2014, and 24.6% in 2015. Luckily for Mussina, and other pitchers left lingering on the ballot, there is no pitcher who absolutely dominated entering the ballot this year.
2014 and 2015 were filled with great pitchers from Mussina’s era, and five pitchers were inducted between the two years. With so many pitchers presenting great Hall of Fame cases, Mussina definitely lost votes, as voters can only choose ten players. This year, however, there are no clear-cut Hall of Fame choices outside of Ken Griffey Jr., and Mussina, as well as several others, could see a big spike in their vote percentage.
While I do not believe that Mussina will see a 50.4% spike to reach the required 75%, it is possible that he reaches the 50% range, and while many big name players will join the ballot in 2017, none of them look like a clear-cut choice. Mussina could, and should, end up being inducted by 2017, as voters having a difficult time between picks tend to lean more towards players who are closer to falling off the ballot.
This voting strategy that seemed to hurt Mussina his first two years on the ballot could help him in 2017 and beyond. While the New York Yankees haven’t had a player inducted through the ballot since 2008, and will definitely have an inductee in 2019, and 2020, it will be interesting to see if Mussina can break that trend before Mariano Rivera and Derek Jeter hit the ballot. It will also be interesting to see if Mussina decides to be inducted as a member of the Yankees or the Baltimore Orioles, who he spent the first ten years of his career with.
What do you think Yankees fans? Does Mussina have a legitimate shot at Hall of Fame induction in 2016? Let us know in the comments below.
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