He got in.
He. Got. In.
Ryan and I started this website nearly 11 years ago, in July of 2008. In retrospect, we were kind of geniuses. Even though Mike Mussina was in the midst of one of his best seasons; one that would see him finish with 20 wins for the only time in his career, we’d heard enough arguments tearing down his career to know he was not the shoe-in for the Hall of Fame he should have been. You’ve heard them all by now, hundreds of times. He never won a Cy Young. He never won a World Series, and wasn’t that good in the playoffs. He’d never (to that point) won 20 games in a season. We’d heard them, and we saw the writing on the wall, way back when. So we decided to get out in front of it. Our first posts, while unrefined, were specifically designed to take down some of those arguments.
Over the ensuing decade plus, we wrote several hundred posts. Some were using methodology we now know are outdated (forgive us, Brian Kenny). But we stood behind what we wrote, and eventually, became better writers and thinkers, and wrote posts we’re still proud of today.
In fact, looking back on this process, I think what I’m most proud of is this website. Yeah, in 2019, websites are kinda old news. We’re on Twitter, as is everyone else. Countless players have supporters doing exactly what we did through that platform. But honestly, as great as those are, few of them are able to do what we were able to do thanks to longform journalism.
Along the way, we had some highs and lows. We got interviewed by a few newspapers, and even quoted in a book. We also had insults hurled at us, which I guess is par for the course for the Internet.
There were some times we doubted that Mussina was going to get elected. For me, it was probably his 2nd year on the ballot. He’d made barely any progress from year 1, topping out at 24.6%. Then, the Hall of Fame decided to shorten the number of years players were eligible. With a massive PED backlog on the ballot, I honestly wasn’t sure if election was going to happen.
But we never lost faith in the validity of our stance. Mike Mussina was a Hall of Fame pitcher, and everyone was going to hear about it. And over time, what became a niche position started going mainstream. Influential analysts and voters such as Keith Law, Brian Kennt, Joe Sheehan, Joe Posnanski, and Christina Kahrl started getting more of a voice (and in the case of Law and Kahrl this year, votes). Mussina made four straight years of massive gains, and now, he’s going to be inducted into the Hall of Fame.
One of the interesting things about this process is that really, we had the perfect candidate for this type of thing. He wasn’t an obvious Hall of Famer to the masses (like Roy Halladay), but his case wasn’t so shaky it was doomed from the start (like Johan Santana). His candidacy had just the right amount of conflict that it made for a pretty entertaining 11 years.
I don’t want to make this post too long, so I’ll just say thank you to all of you who supported us through the process.
And finally, congrats to the Moose. A well-deserved honor. Thanks for letting us ride the coattails of your amazing career.