Mike Mussina’s “Hall of Fame” candidacy has grown on me. A lot.
At first I was a little skeptical because Mussina was out-pitched by multiple pitchers during the same period of time.
Pedro, Randy, Roger, and Greg. All better, clearly.
But who were those pitchers? Four of the greatest ever.
So the next “tier” begins: Schilling, Smoltz, Glavine, and…Mussina.
Not the same kind of “prestige.”
So during the generation of baseball players that I have witnessed, witnessed coherently anyway, Mike Mussina is no worse than the 8th best pitcher over that time-frame (probably the 8th).
If I am missing someone that has legitimate beef to be considered greater than Mussina over the past 20 years, then please, feel free to chime in about it.
So over the course of two decades, there were between 130-150 available rotation spots. If Mussina was the 8th best out of either 130, 140, or 150 pitchers, isn’t that pretty great?
If that isn’t great, how about the number of pitchers to step on the mound over that same period of time.
Well-more than 150, and I am not even including relievers.
Many couldn’t keep their jobs due to poor performance. Many couldn’t stay healthy enough. Many were simply on the team because it added to the depth of the rotation.
Whatever the reason was, there were many, many pitchers in and out of the game over Mussina’s career.
And Mussina stuck around. Stuck around a long time. 18 years to be exact. Which is great because his career extended from 1991-2008. Roughly two decades. And each decade just about in their entirety.
I know that some analysts of the game frown upon people referring to Jack Morris as a Hall of Famer because he had the most wins in the 80’s. And I completely agree. But the logic is flawed to begin with, and quite ludicrous if you ask me.
- Wins are overrated. I don’t value them much. A lot of wins can represent longevity, but the quality around the “Win/Loss” record is much more important to me (although a pitcher must accumulate some counting numbers).
- Ten years isn’t 18 years. The longer the time period the better the sample, and the more difficult it is to stay great.
- Mike Mussina was clearly a much better pitcher than Jack Morris. Clearly.
So we take just about a 20 year period, we say that a pitcher was the 8th best. Can we agree that the pitcher in question was great?
Great players should be in the Hall of Fame. That is what it is for.
Mussina never “awed” anyone quite the same way that the top four pitchers of the decade did. But he still awed people. I would like to ask the Baltimore fans during his tenure just how great Mussina was while he was there. Because I am pretty sure that they will say that Mussina was incredible.
But then I would question that, because it is very possible for fans to overrate their “Hometown Hero.” So I would browse the numbers and see what conclusion I could come up with on my own.
And that conclusion would be that Mike Mussina was a great pitcher.