Mussina isn’t exactly remembered for his ability to strike out hitters. Instead, he’s often thought of as a cerebral pitcher who pitched with craftiness and guile. While some of this sentiment is true, it misses the fact that Mussina was actually a hell of a strikeout pitcher. One of the best of all-time actually. Let’s take a look at the facts.
There have been thousands of men who have pitched in MLB. Only 18 of them struck out more hitters than Mike Mussina. Mussina finished with 2,813 career Ks, more than HOF pitchers Tom Glavine (-206), Warren Spahn (-230), Bob Feller (-232), Don Drysdale (-327), and Juan Marichal (-510). Mussina’s total is considerably more than some of his contemporaries who the media considered “strikeout pitchers”: David Cone (-145), Javier Vazquez (-277), and A.J. Burnett (-300). It’s also higher than contemporaries who have been or will be considered for the HOF: Jack Morris (-335), Jim Kaat (-352), Andy Pettitte (-365), Jamie Moyer (-372), and Roy Halladay (-696)
Between 1995 and 2003, Mussina struck out more than 150 hitters each season. For his career, he had 12 seasons with 150 or more strikeouts.
Finally, let’s remember that Mussina balanced his strikeout prowess with exceptional command. Among retired starting pitchers who started their career after 1900, Mussina ranks 8th in strikeout to walk ratio (3.5834). Patrick would be unhappy if I did not mention that Dan Haren is 3rd on this list (4.0260).