Bill James wrote a massive series on Big Game pitchers. The articles are behind a pay wall, so what I know about them comes from other writers talking about his methodology and results.
David Schoenfield says that James’ list of the 11 best Big Time pitchers in baseball since 1952 includes Mussina in the number 11 spot. From Schoenfield’s article about James’ findings:
In 54 Big Games, Mussina went 27-13 with a 3.04 ERA. Maybe that will eventually help his Hall of Fame case.
I suggest your read Schoenfield’s entire piece if you are not a subscriber to Bill James online. He does a good job outlining how James calculated his Big Game scores and explains why he only looked at pitchers after 1952.
Rob Neyer also wrote a piece about James’ findings and reasons for writing the series, that’s worth a read because it’s more in-depth. Unlike Schoenfield, Neyer does reveal who James ranks as the top Big Game pitcher. He doesn’t touch on Mussina except to mention that he ranks 11th in James’ results.
A big thank you Bill James for making room for Mussina in his ranking. I’m unsure if he addresses this in the series, but it’s interesting that he made this a list of the top 11 and not the standard 10. There’s got to be some reason that James expanded the list to include our beloved future Hall of Famer. It’s great that he did, because it’s one more compelling argument we can add to his Hall of Fame resume. If anyone has details on this please tweet us or post in the comments below.
UPDATE: Schoenfield is out with a new column today. There’s a great quote from James at the end of this short piece, in which James mentions Mussina and his Hall of Fame credentials.