Mike Mussina spent the first 10 seasons of his Hall of Fame career with the Orioles, and the final eight with the New York Yankees. It wasn’t a surprise when Mussina was asked early in his Tuesday night conference call which team he’ll represent when he enters the Hall of Fame on July 21.
“This is January, and we’ve got a little time to think about what the best plan is,” Mussina said.
Fellow Hall of Fame starters Catfish Hunter and Greg Maddux are wearing no team logo on their plaque.
“I know that a few guys have gone in without anything on their hat,” Mussina said. “Both organizations were tremendously valuable and important in my career. I wouldn’t be sitting here talking to you guys if it wasn’t for Baltimore and for New York.
“I can’t sit here and make a decision on where we’re going to go with that. We’ll get that figured out, and certainly by July, we’ll have something worked out.”
Mussina enters the Hall on his sixth try, getting 76.7 percent of the vote. Seventy-five percent is needed for enshrinement. He joins Mariano Rivera, who becomes the first player unanimously elected to the Hall of Fame, the late Roy Halladay and Edgar Martinez.
Rivera, with whom Mussina played in New York, and Halladay were on the ballot for the first time, Martinez for the 10th and final time.
Mussina got just 20.3 percent of the vote in 2013, his first year of eligibility. He moved up to only 24.6 percent the next year, but by 2014, Mussina began gaining traction with 43 percent. Last year, he garnered 63.5 percent.
“The very first year, I’m just thankful that 20 percent of the writers felt that I deserved to be given a vote,” Mussina said. “If you watch this thing often enough, there’s a lot of very, very good players who don’t make it past the first ballot.”
Mussina watched the election results carefully.
“I’m in the 63 range last year … jumping another 12 percent again, that’s asking an awful lot,” Mussina said. “I was hoping for improvement again, but I wasn’t really expecting the jump from 63 to above 75 that quickly.”
Mussina had a 270-153 record and a 3.68 ERA. Many voters liked that he pitched his entire career in the American League East.
Mussina said that he tried not to think about stats when he was playing.
“While it’s happening, you don’t really sit back and think about what you’ve accomplished because you’re always looking to go out there and have a good season the next season,” Mussina said.
Mussina decided to retire after the 2008 season, when he won 20 games for the only time.
“I had a great career,” Mussina said. “I got out at the right time for me and for my family. I’m just glad that people thought I did a good enough job that I got elected to Cooperstown.”