Mussina should be in the Hall of Fame discussion indeed

DMZ · May 3, 2008 at 10:42 am · Filed Under Mariners 

I usually roll my eyes at phrases like this. When people say that a player belongs in the MVP discussion or whatever, they almost always mean “He certainly isn’t the MVP, but we might talk about him as the MVP if the other ten all caught fire tomorrow.”

What’s that conversation like?
“Who are you voting for on your ballot? Say, at the 8th or 9th position?”
“Joe Shlabotnik, he’s done a lot to keep the Pirates from losing 110 games.”
“I have him at 7.”
“Seven seems high. But I’m glad we both have him in the conversation.”

In rough order, here are the active pitchers who should get in:
Greg Maddux (twice, if possible)
Randy Johnson
Pedro Martinez
Mike Mussina

(Then the cloud of possibles: Glavine, Moyer, Smoltz, Schilling)

Pedro and Mussina provide a great contrast: Pedro’s peak was just astonishing, even though he’s been fragile and his time as a Met’s been injury-ridden while he struggles to hit career marks. Against that, Mussina’s a Hall of Fame candidate by being consistently excellent, often in Pedro’s shadow. If you’re ever willing to buy that a player can get in by being one of the best for a long time, this is your player.

Mussina’s been in the top ten for ERA ten times in his career. Eight of those times he was in the top five. He’s the 91st-best pitcher ever at not walking guys, the 75th-best at striking them out. And remember, when we talk about those, he’s going up against guys like Al Spalding, John Ward, Pud Gavin, Candy Cummings — every pitcher in every era, while Mussina’s debut was in 1991 and he’s toiled in an offense-heavy game.

He hasn’t piled up his career wins by grinding out season after season of ineffective baseball, either — he’s got those rate stats and is fifth on the active pitcher list for innings pitched.

I don’t see how anyone can look at Mussina’s amazing career and not see someone who deserves induction as one of the best pitchers in baseball.


54 Responses to “Mussina should be in the Hall of Fame discussion indeed”

  1. DMZ on May 4th, 2008 1:22 am

    I too don’t understand how Glavine is easily one of the top fifty pitchers ever.

  2. Typical Idiot Fan on May 4th, 2008 2:41 am

    I can tell you why: voters are morons.

    They’ll vote Glavine, Smoltz, and Maddux in because of the greatness that was the Atlanta Braves pitching staff of the 90’s. Doesn’t matter what their final numbers are, if they’re even close to HOF worthy, they’ll get in on that romantic notion alone.

  3. Anthony on May 4th, 2008 8:49 am

    Well, just quickly checking the Complete Baseball Encyclopedia for Runs Saved leaders (1900-2006: I didn’t upgrade after last season, so it’s slightly out-of-date) Glavine is 17th all-time with 318 RSAA. That’s a fairly compelling case for being one of the top fifty pitchers ever.

    Mussina, by the way, was 20th with 310, but he must’ve dropped several places last year. Kevin Brown is 22nd. Just sayin’…

  4. DKulich on May 4th, 2008 8:57 am

    I’m assuming you mean active starting pitchers Derek? You’d have to include Rivera if not.

    Smoltz in my opinion is definitely more deserving than Mussina, he’s at least one step ahead every category other than wins, but keep in mind Smoltz moved to the pen for 3 years.

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