Is Former Yankees Ace Mike Mussina Cooperstown Bound in 2017?
Longtime New York Yankees starting pitcher Mike Mussina has seen his Hall of Fame support slowly begin to grow during his first three years of eligibility.
After three years of being overlooked on the Hall of Fame ballot, former New York Yankees right-hander Mike Mussina could attain baseball immortality when the Baseball Writers’ Association of America release’s their picks for the 2017 class in January.
“The Moose” has made steady strides in his first three years of eligibility, as he garnered 20.3 percent of the vote in 2014, 24.6 percent in 2015 and 43% in 2016. Could this finally be the year Mussina reaches the needed 75% of the ballot for induction?
Additionally, the erstwhile Yankees ace currently ranks 24th all-time in Wins Above Replacement (WAR) among pitchers at 83.0, which is nine full wins above the average Hall of Fame-inducted starting pitcher.
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For traditionalists who are skeptic of embracing these newly-introduced advanced metrics, many of Mussina’s other statistics are comparable to, if not better than many Hall of Fame pitchers.
Mussina has been awarded seven Gold Gloves, named to the All-Star team during five of his seasons and is one of the games true workhorses — as he is one of just 70 pitchers to throw at least 3,500 innings. His 2,813 strikeouts rank 18th all-time, and his 3.58 K/BB (strikeout to walk ratio) finishes 22nd.
Unlike recent inductees like Pedro Martinez or John Smoltz, Mussina didn’t fizzle out into mediocrity toward the end of his career. Mussina showcased his astounding longevity in his swan song season in 2008, as he finally earned his first 20-win season (20-9), led the league in games started (34), and posted an impressive 3.37 ERA. This stellar performance earned him a sixth place voting in the Cy Young Race and 19th in the MVP voting.
While Mussina never was awarded the Cy Young Award, Nolan Ryan, Juan Marichal, Ryan Roberts, Phil Niekro, Don Sutton and Bert Blyleven have all been inducted without ever winning the award. Despite never winning the accolade, Moose did finish 6th or better in the Cy Young voting nine times — a feat only four others have accomplished.
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Do you feel that these accomplishments warrant Mussina to be revered as one of the elite pitchers of his era, or did he just fall short? Leave us a comment or tweet at us with your thoughts.