The lack of 20 win seasons on Mike Mussina’s resume is an often-cited black mark to keep him from the Hall of Fame. The Official Mike Mussina Hall of Fame Campaign Page finds this laughable. To begin with, the number 20 is arbitrary, and in no way showcase any more dominance than a player winning 18 or 19 games. (For further proof of this, refer to the 2001 AL Cy Young Post.)

But, for those baseball pundits who insist upon reliance of such numbers, we here at The Official Mike Mussina Hall of Fame Campaign Page offer the following evidence that the lack of 20 win seasons for Mussina is not his fault, simply fate (and a player’s strike)

1994: A Dream Shattered

Mike Mussina’s 1994 season might have been the best of his career. Through 24 starts, Mussina was 16-5, with an ERA of 3.06 that was 63%–and nearly two runs–better than the league average that season. He’d already spun three complete games, and with a strong Oriole lineup, he was in great shape to win 20 games.

However, a player’s strike ended the season on August 13th. With 50 games remaining on the Baltimore schedule, the strike likely cost Mussina 10 starts, possibly more. He was 9-2 in his final twelve starts prior to the stoppage. At that pace, it’s hard to imagine Mussina not picking up four wins in that span. In light of that evidence we at the The Official Mike Mussina Hall of Fame Campaign Page demand he be given credit for a 20 win season.

1995: The “Misremembered” Stirke

Few fans recall that the 1995 season was shortened 18 games by the same strike. This short-circuted another great Mussina season. With a 19-9 record, and an ERA of 3.27 45% better than the league average, Mussina was once again at the top of his game. His 19 wins and four shutouts led the league. But those 18 missed games cost the Oriole ace three starts. He had started of solid that year, going 1-1 with a 3.94 ERA his first three starts. But had he been given three additional starts in April, it’s likely he would have fallen into his groove sooner. Given that five of his final eight starts were complete games and his final two appearances were shutouts, we at The Official Mike Mussina Hall of Fame Campaign Page once again feel a 20 win season would have been inevitable if he had simply been given the oppurtunity.

Mike Mussina deserves those 20-win seasons. You know it. We at The Official Mike Mussina Hall of Fame Campaign Page know it. He knows it. Let’s make it happen

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7 thoughts on “No 20? Don’t hate the player, hate the game (and the strike)

  1. What about in 1996 when that fiend Armando Benitez blew what would have been Mussina’s 20th win on the last day of the season?

  2. Mussina played on some poor teams in Baltimore for a number of years where he often got no run support in losing 2-1, 3-2 games or left games ahead only to see them blown by poor relief pitching. It would be interesting to research how many of these lack of run support games he has been involved in and project the wins he might have had if he had decent hitting and relief pitching.

  3. 20 wins is kind of a stupid, arbitrary cutoff anyways. Do Mussina’s 18- and 19-win seasons not count in sportwriters’ eyes?

  4. It seems many national baseball announcers, etc., forget to remind fans that Mussina has pitched his ENTIRE career in the AL EAST. And most of his “prime” (or, for better choice of words, “younger”) years were spent pitching AGAINST the New York Yankees and talented Cleveland Indian teams of the 1990s…pitching for some Baltimore Oriole teams that gave him some very poor run support…and his early years as a Yankee pitching against Boston and some of the best bats in MLB.

    I often wonder how many 20-win seasons the Moose would have had he pitched on, say, those Atlanta Braves teams of the 1990s. Put Mussina in the same jerseys that Maddux has worn and his numbers would probaly be the same as Maddux’s, if not better.

    To have never have left the American League, to have stayed in the same division, and to have done it all without the use of banned substances, makes Mussina’s numbers look even more impressive. Taking this all into account, when it’s all said and done, the Moose could stand alone as the best pitcher from his era.

  5. A great analysis, but I think you fail to note a few things:

    1. You should highlight more that Moose’s 19 wins in 1995 *led the league*. Yes, he hasn’t won 20, and certainly could have with better placed run support in 1992 and 2001. But he *got more wins than anyone else in the league*. WTF else do you want him to do?

    2. Same point, but for the 1994-1995 strike shortened season combined. Moose’s 35 wins are the most in the AL, and tied for the most in MLB with some dude named Greg Maddux. Again, over a two year span, Moose *led the majors* in wins.

    3. I think you argue the 1995 season the wrong way. A 144-game season isn’t missing 18 games at the beginning, it’s missing 18 at the end. So instead of handing Moose a middling April, how about handing him a continuation of his last three starts:

    3GS, 27IP, 10H, 1ER, 7BB, 21K [3 CG, 2 SHO]

    That was total dominance.

  6. Moose123

    1-2. I understand what you mean with regard to the win total. The idea of the 19 wins isn’t so much what it was, but that it ties into the whole concept of Mussina not getting 20 wins.

    3. The reason we went with April was because the season started in the middle of April. I don’t really see how it ties into the end of the season, but I do see what you’re saying. It’s difficult to say which end to throw up, so I just flipped an internal coin.

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