Thursday, November 20, 2008

Mussina

Looks like this is the end of the road for Moose:
As expected, New York Yankees pitcher Mike Mussina has decided to retire, according to a baseball source with knowledge of the situation. Mussina informed the Yankees last week he would give them a decision by the end of this week.

Mussina, who turns 40 next month, spent the last eight seasons with the Yankees after pitching for the Baltimore Orioles for the first 10 years of his career. His 270 wins rank second among all active right-handers, behind only Greg Maddux. In the final start of his career, he pitched six shutout innings against the Boston Red Sox to finish off the first 20-win season of his career.

As I wrote at the end of the season, it's probably a good political move for him to hang it up, because whereas never having won 20 could have been an irrational liability for his Hall of Fame chances, winning 20 in his last season may be an irrational asset. Now, instead of knocking him for not having attained a rather arbitrary milestone, the writers will credit Mussina for having achieved an arbitrary milestone, all because Xavier Nady hit a three run homer off of Matsuzaka in the fourth inning of a meaningless game on the last day of the season.

(thanks to reader Chris Lagrow for the heads up)

3 comments:

mooseinohio said...

As George Costanza always wanted to do - walk off on a high note.

Good choice by Mussina - that is how you should leave a career with a season reflective of your fine career.

Anonymous said...

APBA Guy-

The thing I remember most about the early Moose (he came up in 1991) was how his maturation as a pitcher coincided with the opening of Camden Yards (in 1992).

The Orioles of the '80's were a continuation of the Earl Weaver teams: they played hard, well and won.

By the 1990's Eddie Murray was gone, and a lot of young talent had been dealt off as well (Curt Schilling, Steve Finley, etc).

But there was still hope: we had Cal, and we had this new, kid pitcher with great poise. I remember seeing Moose in '92 at the Yards. I couldn't believe he was 24. He had a good fastball, but not great. But the thing that impressed me was that he never got rattled. He kept mixing it up, keeping guys guessing, and the outs would pile up.Even today, I look at a 24 year old pitcher's poise as an indicator of their future success in the league (Lester has it, Buchholz does not, for example).

He pitched well consistently for the O's while the team deteriorated around him. To win like he did, as keep them in ballgames as consistently as he did, with so little support, he is an HOF lock for me.

mkd said...

Plus- now he will have always won that elusive 20th game in the last start of his career, giving it magical properties of a karmic nature. Romantic HOF voters love that kind of stuff.