Each year when the newly elected Hall of Famers are announced, there’s always talk of snubs, controversies, etc. To begin with, let me unequivocally state that I agree wholeheartedly with this year’s hall of fame class – especially John Smoltz and Randy Johnson. Furthermore, former Baltimore Orioles (and New York Yankees) pitcher Mike Mussina actually gained ground year-over-year in terms of the vote. Having said that, there are undoubtedly people out there who feel that Mussina belongs in Cooperstown, and this year at that. So…does he?
Photo: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports
My personal opinion is that a some point Mussina should in fact be enshrined. (For the record, I could see him being similar to Greg Maddux, who of course entered the hall wearing an MLB hat as opposed to one specific team.) However I also understand why he’s not going in this year. You can’t put Mussina up against the likes of John Smoltz – you just can’t.
So I think that Mussina will have his day in the sun, it’s just not going to be in 2015. One would be hard-pressed to argue that an 18-year veteran with a career win percentage of .638 and a career ERA of 3.68 shouldn’t be in the hall. Yet nobody’s ever been voted in unanimously either. For the record, Mussina also had 2,813 career strikeouts, and over 18 years he has a WAR of 82.7.
As is the case with any candidate, the career of Mussina is give and take with regard to the hall. One big argument against him has probably been that he played during the steroid era. Granted the majority of steroid users were hitters, however the fact remains that he played at a time when players were using PED’s.
However on the flip side, he also played his entire career in the slugger-stacked AL East. He pitched against the likes of Tino Martinez, Bernie Williams, David Ortiz, Manny Ramirez…and heck, even Cal Ripken Jr. after leaving Baltimore. All hall of famers played against other great players. However you have to figure that for Mussina to win all of those games in a division like that is pretty impressive.
Ultimately as I said, Mussina will get in. That’s my opinion, and it’s been backed up by a Hall of Fame voter who happens to agree with me. (For the record, this same person also told me that Pete Rose will “never” get in – take that for what it’s worth.) Time will tell all around, however at the end of the day I think Mike Mussina’s a hall of famer.