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Are you happy that Tom Glavine was elected to the Baseball Hall of Fame’s class of 2014? Great, but are you pissed that former Orioles and Yankees pitcher Mike Mussina was named on just 20.3 percent of the ballots?
Glavine won 305 games and two Cy Young Awards, but Mussina won 270 games and retired with a better WHIP ratio, ERA+, WAR and more strikeouts in nearly 1,000 fewer innings pitched than the Braves’ lefty. He also won seven Gold Gloves.
Mussina was always destined for greatness. He was an exceptional three-sport athlete at Montoursville H.S. in north central Pennsylvania. Mussina was also bright enough to get into Stanford, which created an issue for scouts who wanted to sign “Moose” out of high school.
Cubs scout Billy Blitzer critiqued Mussina in the spring of 1987. His comments made it easy to understand why the right-hander wound up passing on the big leagues until the Orioles drafted him with the 20th overall pick in 1990.
Per Blitzer’s report (below) on Mussina:
• Take charge, cocky kid
• Has fine pitcher’s body with live arm
• He is unsignable.
• Signed letter of intent to Stanford.
• Father is wealthy lawyer who won’t accept less than $250,000!!
Mussina did go to Stanford, but he joined the Orioles in late 1991 and soon became one of the best American League pitchers of the Steroid Era, pitching every five days in the A.L. East. He threw four career one-hitters and twice lost a no-hitter in the 9th inning.
Arguably, Mussina’s best performances came in the 1997 ALCS (above), when he struck out 25 Indians over two starts, but the Orioles lost both games in extra innings and the series.
Mussina left Baltimore for the rival Yankees, with whom he pitched from 2001-2007. In line with his near-miss career, none of those New York teams won the World Series, losing in 2001 and 2003.