• Joe Soccoa

There is no case - Mike Mussina is a Hall of Famer

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The never ending debate always comes to light when the Major League Baseball Hall of Fame announcement is right around the corner. For myself, I'm not a voter but I am a fan of Mike Mussina and more importantly a fan of the game. This is same Mussina who played his entire 18 year career in the American League East (10 years with Baltimore, 8 years with the Yankees). The same Mike Mussina who finished with 270 victories and a .638 career win-loss% which is 41st among all pitchers ever (that's a pretty good spot).

Mussina enters the 6th year on the ballot and I begin to wonder why it has taken this long considering there are plenty of players with far less stature than Moose that took less time to get in (but I'm not spending this post on it). In the never ending debate amongst baseball people and just friends, some say it's because his numbers aren't there. Well, do we really know what the threshold is anymore? The voting in my opinion is flawed and there seems to be no set standard anymore (not to mention way too many voters).

According to a terrific HOF ballot tracker under the twitter handle of NotMrTibbs, there is an estimated 412 ballots that will come in this year. This needs to be fixed and partly because of these amount of voters who get a tremendous privilege, many players don't get their fair shot of being voted in either because they want to keep another player on the ballot because they like them or the opposite, won't vote for a player because they don't like them and will look past their career credentials.

If you really want to know how I'd like to see the HOF process take place well it's pretty simple - the HOF board should elect a special committee of 25 highly qualified writers and historians of the game and have them sit in a room for a week discussing each candidate that comes onto the ballot and vote. Some of the qualified people to be considered should be broadcasters as well who have been around the game for decades (i.e - Vin Scully, Tim McCarver) because they have a deep knowledge of the game and the players who have played it. Over 400 writers, some of whom never saw some of the players actually play since they covered local teams shouldn't be granted this prestigious honor. Now, am I saying my idea would be perfect? No not at all but it's a legitimate idea that can help get the irrational voters out of the discussion.

The other problem that occurs is the anonymous part of voting where some voters don't want their name shared. Why? So you don't have to face the heat because you didn't vote a player who deservingly belongs in? For instance, Ken Griffey Jr. broke the record held by Tom Seaver as the highest percentage vote getter into the Hall. Seaver stood at 98.84% until Griffey was voted in on 99.32% which ultimately meant three people did not vote for Griffey. What three people felt the need not to vote for one of the purest swings in baseball and smashed 630 career home runs? Three people who for that exact reason should not be allowed to vote based on a personal agenda.

The voting system is flawed and it needs to be fixed or we are going to constantly being having these debates for years and years. Not to mention the "suspected" steroid users are now gaining momentum of going into the Hall which is a whole separate topic I will choose not to get into since I consider myself a traditional baseball fan.

As for the case of Mike Mussina, he made a significant leap from 2017 to 2018. In 2017, Moose was on 51.8% of the ballots while in 2018 he jumped to 63.5%. According to the same tracker as mentioned earlier in the post, of the 49 publicly made ballots, he appears on 81.6% of them which is no where near the estimated 412 that will be cast but he'd be in the Hall if the voting ended today. He missed the hall by 49 votes last year and would need 269 more votes to make it for 2019. There is still time left as all the ballots must be submitted before December 31st with an announcement coming in the middle of January for the results.

As for Moose and the rest of his numbers, some may look at it differently than I would but I believe they are strong enough to make it. He appeared in five All-Star games, won a gold glove seven times, finished in the top 10 in ERA eleven of his eighteen seasons and sits 33rd all-time in career wins as a pitcher. Also not to forget to mention in the day of sabermetrics , he has a career WAR of 83 which is ranked 29th of all starting pitchers ever! Thats better than current players in the Hall such as Nolan Ryan, Tom Glavine, Jim Palmer, Sand Koufax (who by the way is 89th on the list), Whitey Ford (who is even lower). Point is and not to discredit the pitchers in the hall as mentioned but Mussina should be in the hall plain and simple. Enough is enough and the writers need to figure it out.

I will leave you with one last note, there is no reason Mariano Rivera shouldn't be voted in by 100% of the voters and many are skeptical because there are voters who have their own agenda which would be really really stupid.

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