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DonRocks

Mike Mussina (1968-), Future HOF Pitcher for the Baltimore Orioles and New York Yankees

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Who has a better career W-L record, Mike Mussina, or Tom Seaver? <--- These are links to their stats.

Surprise!

Every pitcher who has over 100 more victories than losses is in the Hall of Fame ... except for Mike Mussina

I know, I know: "Most overrated statistic there is." I don't buy it.

Expect Moose to be inducted this decade, preferably with an Orioles' cap. :)

We miss you, Mike. Even here in Northern Virginia, we miss you. New York is a bigger audience, but between Baltimore and Atlanta, you were *it*.

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Unbelievable that that bastard Bud Selig is going into the Hall before Mike Mussina. Mike was a thing of beauty on the mound, not only throwing pitches of surpassing grace and loveliness, but he was also one of the best-fielding pitchers ever to play the game. Moreover, during his hey-day in Baltimore, he was the handsomest man in baseball.

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27 minutes ago, The Hersch said:

Unbelievable that that bastard Bud Selig is going into the Hall before Mike Mussina. Mike was a thing of beauty on the mound, not only throwing pitches of surpassing grace and loveliness, but he was also one of the best-fielding pitchers ever to play the game. Moreover, during his hey-day in Baltimore, he was the handsomest man in baseball.

He had a knuckle-curve that broke the laws of physics.

I don't condone personal insults on this website, but Selig is something of a clitoris, isn't he.

(My apologies to clitorides everywhere.)

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I always felt that Mussina and Greg Maddux were almost interchangeable. Maddux pitched his entire career in the National League, and mastered the art of 2 or 3 "soft-toss" innings a game when that no. 9 hole came to the plate. He also mastered the art of pitching 4 inches outside to right handed batters, getting strikes called all the time.

Mussina pitched his entire career in the AL East, with loaded lineups top-to-bottom. He came within one strike of a perfect game at Boston, in one of the most masterfully pitched games of all time. I'm not looking this up, but I believe he graduated from Stanford in under 4 years.

Put Maddux in the AL East for his entire career, and you have Mussina's numbers. Put Mussina in the National League for his entire career, and you have Maddux's numbers.

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On 5/30/2017 at 8:16 AM, Kibbee Nayee said:

I always felt that Mussina and Greg Maddux were almost interchangeable.

I'm bitter that Maddux has more Gold Gloves than Brooks Robinson. Maddux could nibble better than anyone I've ever seen; Mussina had a livelier arm.

I can't get on-board putting Mussina next to Maddux: Since the beginning of the live-ball era (1920 or thereabouts), Greg Maddux has more Wins than any pitcher other than Warren Spahn.

On 5/29/2017 at 10:32 PM, The Hersch said:

Moreover, during his hey-day in Baltimore, he was the handsomest man in baseball.

I have a friend who thought that Mussina wasn't even the handsomest pitcher in Baltimore! (And, with whom I completely disagree.) But, the pitcher who purportedly was, gave up ... ready for this? ... more home runs than anyone in history!

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Gold Glove votes are notorious. It seems that once you win one you win it again for the next 10 years. The voters seem to be lazy about looking at the facts. It's just not done as carefully as voting for Cy Young or MVP, as far as I can tell. You won't see Anthony Rendon, for instance, getting one any time soon though he should be in the discussion at third base in the NL.

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3 hours ago, MC Horoscope said:

Gold Glove votes are notorious. It seems that once you win one you win it again for the next 10 years. The voters seem to be lazy about looking at the facts. It's just not done as carefully as voting for Cy Young or MVP, as far as I can tell. You won't see Anthony Rendon, for instance, getting one any time soon though he should be in the discussion at third base in the NL.

Speaking of lazy voters, what does this list of players have in common?

Willie Mays
Brooks Robinson
Al Kaline
Willie Stargell
Lou Brock
Pete Rose
Rod Carew

Mouse over for the answer after thinking about it:

They were the first seven Roberto Clemente Award winners - an award primarily for sportsmanship and community involvement.

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On 5/29/2017 at 8:58 PM, DonRocks said:

Who has a better career W-L record, Mike Mussina, or Tom Seaver? <--- These are links to their stats.

Surprise!

Every pitcher who has over 100 more victories than losses is in the Hall of Fame ... except for Mike Mussina

I know, I know: "Most overrated statistic there is." I don't buy it

I wouldn't, couldn't, can't equate  Mussina to Seaver.  Seaver carried the Mets, was the guy who pushed them to their championship in '69, was arguably one of the all time great starters, was one of the 3 dominant pitchers in the 70's, unquestionably the greatest Met and I saw him pitch including his first and 2nd years when he was a remarkable phenom clearly changing the very character of the pitiful Mets.  

I also thankfully saw Mussina at Camden Yards-about 5 times in fact and in the late 90's definitely picked a game or two b/c Mussina was pitching and was a star.  And he was excellent over a long career and Ivwas lucky to be present for 3 of his well pitched games.

A similarity between Seaver's and Mussina's careers is that they both left teams they would have preferred staying with b/c of cheap owners.  After Mussina left the Orioles, a then mediocre team but with playoff hopes they tanked into despair.  

I can't tell a fastball from a curve from a screwball either watching in person or on TV except with advanced technology.  Plus the beer clouds my sight.  But I can tell if a pitcher is dominating.  I did see Mussina dominate.

One other thing about Mussina was that he fit into the "Oriole Way" with his approach to the game and lack of flamboyance.

I hope he gets into the HOF and if he does and wears an O's hat he should also carry a sign that says Angelos sucks.  If he wears a Yanks hat the sign should still say Angelos sucks.

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3 hours ago, DaveO said:

I wouldn't, couldn't, can't equate  Mussina to Seaver.  Seaver carried the Mets, was the guy who pushed them to their championship in '69, was arguably one of the all time great starters, was one of the 3 dominant pitchers in the 70's, unquestionably the greatest Met and I saw him pitch including his first and 2nd years when he was a remarkable phenom clearly changing the very character of the pitiful Mets.  

Tom Seaver (*) had a career like Sandy Koufax, but in reverse.

As hard as it is to believe, 50% of the way through Koufax's short, 12-year career, he was 36-40.

Seaver had a 20-year career, but during its final 25%, he was 76-80 (admittedly, this is a good example of using "selected statistics").

Mussina was not nearly as spectacular as either Koufax or Seaver, but pitched 17 years, with only 2 losing seasons (in 1 of them, he went 4-5 as a rookie). His 17th season, he went 20-9, which is the cherry on the Hall of Fame Sundae.

Koufax was perhaps the most dominating pitcher, post-WWII, during his final 4 years, but he was actually only a marginal Hall of Fame player. Take away any one of his three, 20-game-victory seasons (which, it should be noted, were also 25-game-victory seasons), and I don't think he's in the Hall - he only won 165 games.

The greatest of respect to both Seaver and Koufax, but their relatively brief, but intense, bursts of greatness got the attention of the press much more than Mussina's consistent reliability (this holds true for Koufax more than for Seaver, who won 10+ games 17 times, and 20+ games 5 times). At their peaks, those two were clearly more dominating, but Mussina was quietly excellent for his entire career, with no real lapses, and only one "bad" season.

(*) Which brings up an interesting question: Would Seaver have been considered a better pitcher if he'd retired after his 15th season, instead of after his 20th? I don't think there's a right or wrong answer, but imagine the "What ifs?" if he'd retired after 15 - he'd be as mythical as Paul Bunyan.

Jan 18, 2017 - "2017 MLB Hall of Fame Results: Underrated Mussina Slowly Gaining Traction" by Mike Axisa on cbssports.com

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Don: Read up on your Seaver stats.  Over 300 wins, 6th all time in strikeouts, in the top 20 for innings pitched career, at ages 39 and 40 pitched over 230 innings in the American League, 4-5 yrs with 20?wins or more, led or was close to leading his league in a great variety of categories for his first 10-12 years.  And then afterwards he was merely good not great with weak records at the end.

Actually a lot of Mussina's career mimics that of Seaver, just not as spectacular or dominating at his best and he did go out earlier while still at his peak and didn't hang on as long, but then he made a shit load more dough and could afford to leave when he wanted to.

Koufax is the guy with the amazing burst of incredible greatness.  Pedro Martinez had a burst like Koufax but had more good years before and kept pitching well after his peak.  Koufax is the all time anomaly- going from mediocrity to the best in the biz and then retiring.

I suspect that Mussina pitched for better teams than Seaver.  The Mets were remarkably pitiful when he joined them and mostly had mediocre lineups for most of his years.  When Seaver joined Cinci they had the Big Red Machine but he joined them as that offense started to wane.

It is a credit to any pitcher to be compared favorably with Seaver and to be viewed similarly.

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14 hours ago, DaveO said:

It is a credit to any pitcher to be compared favorably with Seaver and to be viewed similarly.

One thing that Seaver has over virtually all other SPs is longevity.  He's top 10 all-time for sure.  That said, I don't think Pedro Martinez gets nearly as much credit as he deserves.  His peak was far more dominant than Seaver's and Koufax's as well.  Keep in mind that Seaver pitched in an era when teams averaged 4.2 or 4.3 runs per game, and Koufax racked up most of his stats in the high-mound, dead-ball era when teams were scoring in the high 3s.  So an ERA in the 2s, while certainly impressive no matter how you slice it, was still less valuable in the 1960s and 1970s than in the PED era when teams were scoring in the high 4s and even over 5 runs per game.  It also bears noting that Seaver and Koufax pitched half of their games in notoriously strong pitchers parks while Pedro's peak was largely spent at Fenway and other offense-inflating AL East parks.

For this reason, once you account for era and park, Pedro comes out much more favorably in stats like ERA+ (where 100 is league average), where he's 2nd all-time among SPs at 154.  Meaning that his career, park-adjusted ERA was 54 percent better than league average.  Clayton Kershaw is currently first at 160, all the more amazing given the "penalty" he gets for pitching at Dodger Stadium.  Koufax is at 131, Seaver is at 127, and Mussina is at 123.  All-time great SPs who rank more favorably in ERA+ include Lefty Grove (148), Walter Johnson (147), Cy Young (138), Randy Johnson (135), and Greg Maddux (132).  The best ERA+ all-time is Mariano Rivera, at a mind-blowing 205!

Even in his five years of peak dominance, Koufax's ERA+ was "only" 143, 159, 186, 160, and 190.  Pedro had five seasons of ERA+ over 200, including a 291 (!!!) in 2000.  Maddux has had two 200 ERA+ seasons.

This is all a long-winded way of saying that Mussina deserves to be in the HOF given who's already in, but he's unquestionably a notch or two below the all-time greats.

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45 minutes ago, silentbob said:

Keep in mind that Seaver pitched in an era when teams averaged 4.2 or 4.3 runs per game, and Koufax racked up most of his stats in the high-mound, dead-ball era when teams were scoring in the high 3s.  So an ERA in the 2s, while certainly impressive no matter how you slice it, was still less valuable in the 1960s and 1970s than in the PED era when teams were scoring in the high 4s and even over 5 runs per game. 

Another way of looking at it is that an ERA in the 2s was a necessary (but insufficient) requirement in the high-mound era (the ERA era?), and that every tenth you dropped your ERA before 1969 had more meaning, than every tenth you dropped it in the steroids era. (For those who don't know, they lowered the pitching mound from 15-inches high to 10-inches high before the 1969 season).

It's weird that I grew up thinking that 23 wins and a 2.5 ERA was the norm for a good season (I was born in 1961, and became a fanatic in the mid-late 60s, cherishing my baseball cards). When's the last time you've heard of Ferguson Jenkins? He won 20 games 6-times in a row, and in 7-out-of-8 years.

Do you know if the mound was always 15-inches high in the past? If so, Bob Gibson's 1.12 ERA (and 17 World Series strikeouts) is even more spectacular. (As is Babe Ruth's 60 home runs.) What made 1968 stand out *so* much? Remember, Carl Yastrzemski won the AL batting title with a meager .301 average that year. I suspect lowering the pitcher's mound led to the DH rule (which I *hate*, because it makes comparisons between eras much more difficult) - but, unlike steroids, at least those rule changes affected all players equally. Still, the DH in the AL, but not the NL, threw everything off-kilter.

Here's a pertinent article:

Dec 13, 2013 - "Pitching Mound History-Balance between Pitchers and Batters" by Earl Nash on bosoxinjection.com

45 minutes ago, silentbob said:

This is all a long-winded way of saying that Mussina deserves to be in the HOF given who's already in, but he's unquestionably a notch or two below the all-time greats.

Agreed on both counts.

I also agree that Pedro Martinez is underrated among general fans - true, diehard fans know how great he was, but he's not the household name that he should be.

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52 minutes ago, DonRocks said:

Another way of looking at it is that an ERA in the 2s was a necessary (but insufficient) requirement in the high-mound era (the ERA era?), and that every tenth you dropped your ERA before 1968 had more meaning, than every tenth you dropped it in the steroids era.

Your statement about marginal value of a run in the 1960s is undoubtedly true, but I interpret this fact somewhat differently.  In the PED era, because offense was at such a high level, Pedro's utter dominance allowed his teams to be leading by at least a few runs in the latter innings, which meant that the manager could take him out and allocate more lower-leverage innings to relief pitchers while still maintaining a high chance of winning the game.  Whereas high-mound era pitchers likely had to stay in close games much longer for their team to have a chance at winning because relief pitching was not so specialized (nor were most managers as sophisticated) back then.  Another factor is that the talent pool in the 1960s was so weak (i.e., only recently integrated racially, few international players) that you could get away with playing all-field, no-hit guys in the bottom of a lineup -- usually from the right end of the defensive spectrum -- whereas that's almost never the case anymore.

People in sports disagree all the time about whether teams winning close games or individual players doing well in the clutch is actually a "skill."  I've always believed that the greatest athletes not only do well enough in close games when necessary but are so good that their teams don't have to play as many close games in the first place.  After all, a point/run/goal scored in the first quarter/inning/period is worth just as much as one at the end.

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9 minutes ago, silentbob said:

People in sports disagree all the time about whether teams winning close games or individual players doing well in the clutch is actually a "skill."  I've always believed that the greatest athletes not only do well enough in close games when necessary but are so good that their teams don't have to play as many close games in the first place.  After all, a point/run/goal scored in the first quarter/inning/period is worth just as much as one at the end.

You're correct, of course. Take LeBron James as a current example - he's getting older, and doesn't have the gas to go full-throttle for an 82-game season, plus the playoffs - that's why you have "regular-season LeBron" and "playoff LeBron." With younger people, the ability to concentrate and focus when the chips are down - to briefly obtain that extra, adrenaline-induced level - I think it isn't so much a "skill" as it is a "personality" trait.

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The Orioles just tied a miserable record for pitching futility

20 games in a row with lousy pitching.  This has been the sense of the Orioles for the better part of 2 decades.  Deficient teams and generally weak pitching--most of the time.

It all started when that miserable owner Angelos wouldn't pony up the money and compete to keep Mussina. Ace pitcher, one of the best of his time period and Angelos wouldn't compete to keep him.  Astonishingly Oriole pitching  has mostly been mediocre to lousy since then. - about 17 years of lousy.

Mussina was a star of that period, the type of player you HAVE TO KEEP.  I liked and watched Mussina.  Mussina originally wanted to stay in Baltimore.  

I was commiserating with another longstanding Orioles fan.  The long term slide of the Orioles coincides with losing Mussina.  I'd be pleased to see Mussina go in the HOF.  If so no matter which hat he chooses the logo should be replaced with a line that says.  "Angelos Sucks"

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I recall when Mussina signed with the Yankees.  My memory suggests Angelos simply didn't pony up the money in a competitive world.  Boy was I disappointed and angry.  Mussina was clearly the Ace, a stopper, and the type of star pitcher a team needed to compete.  The Orioles tumble into long term consistent mediocrity synced with the loss of Mussina and for decades to this day they have not been able to find a consistent star starter.

Never knew about the friend teammate/ownership tiff, Surhoff, story.  That was a good reason to leave.  Not keeping Mussina still irks me.

Seeing Mussina on the mound led to an easy comparison with the Orioles' best pitcher, Jim Palmer.  Lots of similarities;  both were stars and aces without overwhelming "stuff".  Both were tremendous competitors, which was the element I most followed.  Both bore down in tough situations with men on base and both "won" the vast majority of those innings.

Good for Mussina.  Whether he dons an Orioles or Yankee hat at the HOF induction is his call.  Whichever hat he chooses I still think he should add stitching that says "Angelos Sucks".  The BJ Surhoff story gives more meaning to that suggested addition.

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I don’t know how you can complain.  Yes, the Orioles lost Mussina to the Yankees, but they got Showalter as their Manager.  It’s not like Boston, who’ve given us Ruth, Clemons, Damon, Boggs, etc in return for.... we’ll, I’m not sure what they’ve ever gotten.

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8 hours ago, Steve R. said:

I don’t know how you can complain.  Yes, the Orioles lost Mussina to the Yankees, but they got Showalter as their Manager.  It’s not like Boston, who’ve given us Ruth, Clemons, Damon, Boggs, etc in return for.... we’ll, I’m not sure what they’ve ever gotten.

Is this some sort of taunt? I don't understand it.

Mussina was the last great Oriole, so if so, tongue me! 🍷

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22 hours ago, Steve R. said:

I don’t know how you can complain.  Yes, the Orioles lost Mussina to the Yankees, but they got Showalter as their Manager.  It’s not like Boston, who’ve given us Ruth, Clemons, Damon, Boggs, etc in return for.... we’ll, I’m not sure what they’ve ever gotten.

Now that is funny!!!.   Yanks outbid Orioles for star pitcher--plus he is pissed off at the Orioles for screwing his teammate/friend for something petty and the seriousness of life consequences to his friends family were reason to walk on Angelos. 

Ugh.  There he goes!!  Bye bye!!!!   Mussina was the best Oriole during the 90's.  He was the premier pitcher on the team and one of the best in the AL let alone baseball during the decade.  He was the star.  He helped them get into the playoffs a bit, but kept them reasonably competitive every year during his  stretch.  His Orioles career coincided with Camden Park--and big crowds at the stadium.  On the business side Mussina helped the Orioles draw those crowds and make a lot of $$.   As a (long term) fan driving from the DC region (with no DC team)...Camden Yard was infinitely easier to get to than the old baseball stadium and downright cool.  Mussina was the main attraction--the star.  Once he left the team tanked; dove deep into the morass of mediocrity, minus the necessary star pitcher and stayed there...for a darned long time.

Lot of managers came and went.  Then the Orioles hired "well traveled" but also well considered Bucky Showalter.  He had a strong managerial history for several teams.   It was years after losing Mussina.  Showalter was the manager during the brief explosion out of the morass of miserable Orioleness during the 2000's.  Bully for him.

Was Showalter one of the many talented people inappropriately fired or harassed or both by Steinbrenner? 

Not a "trade".  Not even close. 

Funny, my man...but not applicable.  

 

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I say again, Mussina is a Greg Maddux who pitched his entire career in the AL East. Maddux was smart enough to realize that working 8-hitter lineups was far easier than trying to pitch in AL East bandboxes in the steroids era against 9-hitter lineups.

I remember watching Mussina's near-perfect game in Boston on September 2, 2001. It was Sunday night baseball, so the entire nation was watching. Mussina retired the first 26 batters effortlessly, and then ran the count to 0-2 on the 27th batter, Carl Everett. But instead of the knee-buckling knuckle curve that had Boston fooled all game, Mussina climbed the ladder with a high fastball and Everett slapped it into the opposite field for a single. It was a flawless game until that point, and instead of letting it get to him, Mussina recovered and got the next out for a one-hit shutout.

On the road. At Fenway Park. Against a 9-hitter lineup.

Take every lineup that Greg Maddux faced, and then add David Ortiz. Or Edgar Martinez. Or Frank Thomas. Or Harold Baines. Or Jason Giambi. Only then would he be accomplishing what Mussina accomplished.

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22 hours ago, DaveO said:

Now that is funny!!!.  

On the business side Mussina helped the Orioles draw those crowds and make a lot of $$. Mussina was the main attraction--the star.  Once he left the team tanked; dove deep into the morass of mediocrity, minus the necessary star pitcher and stayed there...for a darned long time.

Funny, my man. 

 

Mike Mussina played his *entire* Orioles career alongside Cal Ripken - but somehow was the main attraction?! Uhh...

The Orioles were under .500 for the final three years of Mussina's career with them. While his departure didn't help, it's not like the O's weren't already in the "morass of mediocrity", or whatever.

Finally, a very charitable reading of the O's from '97-2012 as mediocre. No single star pitcher, Moose or not, pitching every fifth game, tops, was going to help that mess.

Postscript: And all Showalter did was break a 14 year streak of not making the playoffs, taking them to the playoffs three times in 7 years.

 

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On 1/23/2019 at 9:15 PM, DonRocks said:

Is this some sort of taunt? I don't understand it.

Mussina was the last great Oriole, so if so, tongue me! 🍷

Manny Machado is the last great Oriole.

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