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Is This The Year Mike Mussina Makes It Into Cooperstown? It Damn Well Better Be.

This is the year, it has to be. The year that Mike Mussina gets his ticket to Cooperstown. He's been trending upwards in recent years and this could be the year we see Moose finally get the call, but all projections show that it is going to be very close. You can't deny that he was one of the best pitchers of his era, that includes an era where he pitched in the powerhouse AL East during the "steroid era". Moose was awesome, whether it was with the Orioles from 1991 to 2000, or his last eight seasons with the Yankees. He made two World Series appearances with the Yankees in 2001 and 2003, came insanely close to perfect games on a few occasions, and was an absolute bulldog on the mound, ask Joe Torre.
The former 20th overall pick in the 1990 draft has all the credentials to be enshrined in Cooperstown, the stats don't like. Maybe he wasn't the most feared pitcher of his era, but he didn't need to be. He could get you out regardless. In his first full big league season he went 18-5 with a 2.54 ERA in 32 starts. He added eight complete games, only gave up 16 home runs in 241 innings, only walked 48, struck out 130, had a WHIP of 1.079, made the All-Star Team, finished fourth in the Cy Young Voting, and was 21st in MVP voting. All that in your first year isn't half bad. He won 15 games 11 times, had two 17 win seasons, three 18 win seasons, two 19 win seasons and one 20 win season. The guy put up numbers.
Just look at his career numbers, 270-153 split with 147 of those wins coming in his 10 seasons in Baltimore. His lifetime ERA sits at 3.68, a lifetime WHIP of 1.192, 57 complete games, 23 shut outs, 2,813 strikeouts in 3,562.2 innings, 376 homers surrendered, five All Star Teams, seven Gold Gloves, and finished in the top 5  for the Cy Young award six times. Overall those are damn good numbers and very impressive when you look at which teams he was pitching against, and the ballparks he played most in. He was known for having a very good four-seamer, and a pretty sick knuckle-curve as well.
He made nine appearances in the post season, including one of the best games I've ever seen pitched, a 1 hit,15K in 7 inning performance against the Indians in the 1997 ALCS. His postseason numbers aren't great, but they aren't terrible either. A 7-8 record with an ERA of 3.42 and a WHIP of 1.103 in 139.2 innings in the postseason. I will also point out that throughout his entire career the knock on Moose was that he never won 20 games in a season, it was the one thing people mentioned when he was brought up. It finally happened in his final season when he went 20-9 and a 3.37 ERA, not a bad way to end your career.
You look at those career numbers and think they are Hall Of Fame worthy. I mean we may never see a guy get 270 wins agains, people just don't pitch long enough. This is his sixth year on the ballot, and like I mentioned earlier, is trending upwards with the votes.
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Lets take a deeper dive into the numbers through. He's seventh all time in bWAR for the Orioles at 47.8, only second in pitchers behind Jim Palmer. Fifth all-time in Gold Gloves for pitchers with seven. His all time pitching WAR is 82.9, that is 23rd overall for all pitchers. Of the 22 people ahead of him, 21 are in the Hall, the only one that isn't is Roger Clemens. Moose's career WAR is 83, of the people in MLB history who have a higher WAR, all but 5 are in the Hall. Clemens, Barry Bonds, Alex Rodriguez, Adrian Beltre, and Albert Pujols. I mean come on, you look at those names and the company Moose is next to on these lists, he should 100% be in. He finished top 10 in ERA 11 times in his career, again, going against the most feared hitters in some of the smallest parks.
People like to crap on Moose because he was never Pedro, he wasn't Roger, he wasn't Randy Johnson. He never had those dominating, "Holy shit look at these numbers" seasons, but you look at his consistency and that is what puts him in for me. 17 seasons with more than 10 wins, and I know that W/L record is a crapshoot, but being able to perform for that long with a tiny ERA, that says something. It's not like he was pounding out wins but had an ERA over 4 or 5, he was consistently under 4. Yes he never won a Cy Young award, but again, he was pitching in the same division and league as Pedro and Roger during their amazing careers.
In 2018 he received 63.5% of the votes needed for enshrinement into Cooperstown, here is to hoping that he gets that bump up to 75% and we see the Moose in Cooperstown this summer. I think there is also a good chance he goes in wearing an Orioles cap. I hope that the insanely idiotic voters for the Hall OF Fame take a long look at the numbers and remember how damn good he was. Love you Moose. Consider this blog my official endorsement for Mike Mussina.