Yankees: Which hat will Mike Mussina wear into the Hall of Fame?
On a day where Mariano Rivera made history as the only unanimous choice to gain entry into the Baseball Hall of Fame, another Yankees pitcher, Mike Mussina, garnered 76.7 percent of the vote for enshrinement into Cooperstown as well.
Though it may have taken him six attempts, Mike Mussina is finally a Hall of Famer. Alongside his former Yankees teammate — the greatest closer of all time, Mariano Rivera; two-time Cy Young winner Roy Halladay and seven-time All-Star Edgar Martinez, “Moose,” will be enshrined in Cooperstown this July.
A career that spanned 18-years, (10 in Baltimore and eight in New York), Mussina finished top six in the Cy Young vote nine times, was an All-Star five times (all with the Orioles) and won a career-high 20 games for the Yanks in 2008 (his final season).
At the age of 39, Mussina put together one remarkable final campaign, going 20-9 in a league-best 34 starts, a 3.37 ERA, 1.223 WHIP and 150:34 K:BB ratio across 200.1 innings pitched.
The owner of four one-hit performances, Mussina made 15 of his 21 Postseason starts including two World Series appearances while in pinstripes. Even still, the man with the five-pitch repertoire, that often featured a knee-buckling knuckle-curve isn’t sure which hat his HOF plaque will feature.
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Speaking with the Baltimore Sun, Moose said he expects to make up his mind sometime this summer.
"I think this is January and we’ve got a little time to figure out what the best plan is,” Mussina said during a conference call Tuesday night. “I know that a few guys have gone in without anything on their hat. And like I’ve said, both organizations were tremendously valuable and important in my career and I wouldn’t be sitting here if it wasn’t for Baltimore and New York."
However, as Mark Feinsand of MLB.com points out, though a player can request a specific team to represent, the HOF makes the final call.
"The HOF has final say on which hat Mike Mussina will have on his plaque, but I’d guess it’s the Yankees. He played in both of his World Series with New York and had his only 20-win season as a Yankee. Close call either way."
Should Mussina ultimately go into the HOF as an Oriole, he would become the sixth man to do so. As for the Yanks, he’d be the 24th, with Rivera being No. 23.
The winner of 270 games, Moose was victorious 147 times with the O’s and 123 with the Bombers. A seven-time Gold Glove winner with an 83 WAR and 10 seasons finishing in the top 10 in strikeouts (20th all-time with 2,813), all that really matters is that Mike Mussina has rightfully been rewarded for a fantastic career.
However, that doesn’t mean I want to see him enter the hall as an Oriole.