As what may well be Mussina’s final season with the New York Yankees winds down, it’s interesting to take a look at what he’s meant to the Yankees. On November 30th, 2000 Mike Mussina signed a free agent contract with the Yankees. He’s stayed with them ever since, making 27 or more starts in each of his eight seasons. Starting in 2001 the Yankees have also used the following starting pitchers:
Roger Clemens, Andy Pettitte, Ted Lilly, Orlando Hernandez, Randy Keisler, Sterling Hitchcock, Ramiro Mendoza, Adrian Hernandez, Christian Parker*, Brett Jodie*, David Wells, Jeff Weaver, Mike Thurman, Jose Contreras, Jorge DePaula*, Brandon Claussen#, Javier Vazquez, Jon Lieber, Kevin Brown, Brad Hasley, Esteban Loaiza, Tanyon Sturtze, Donovan Osborne, Alex Graman*, Carl Pavano, Chien-Ming Wang, Jaret Wright, Shawn Chacon, Al Leiter, Aaron Small, Scott Proctor*, Sean Henn, Darrell May#, Tim Redding, Randy Johnson, Cory Lidle, Jeff Karstens, Darrell Rasner, Sidney Ponson, Kris Wilson, Philip Hughes, Kei Igawa, Tyler Clippard, Matt DeSalvo, Ian Kennedy, Chase Wright*, Joba Chamberlain, Dan Giese, Brain Bruney* and Alfredo Aceves*.
* – Only had one or two career starts, often in late September or emergency situations.
# – Same, as above but were then traded to other teams where they become regular starters.
That’s 51 starting pitchers in all. If you take out the September call-ups who got their one shot, the list stands at 45. The list includes some very good pitchers (Cone, Wells, Pettitte) but also includes other big name free agents that flamed out (Pavano, Contreras, Brown, Vasquez), players the Yankees traded good prospects for (Johnson), supposed good prospects (Claussen, Kennedy), flavors of the month (Small, Chacon) and some people who were simply brought in because there wasn’t much else they could do (Redding, May, Ponson). All manner of pitcher has come and gone since Mussina signed in the Bronx.
In Mussina’s eight seasons in NY he’s lead the team in ERA four times. Besides Andy Pettitte, who spent nine season in pinstripes from 1995-2003, no Yankee starter has stayed in NY in one straight shot as long as Moose since Ron Guidry retired over 20 years ago.
In terms of ranks within the Yankees storied history, Mussina is:
- 12th in wins
- 11th in starts
- 15th in innings pitched
- 8th in strikeouts
- 10th in ERA among those who have made as many Yankee starts as he has
- His .632 win % puts him ahead of famous Yankees like Mel Stottlemyre, Waite Hoyt, Tommy John, Bob Turley, David Cone and Al Downing.
It’s easy to think of Mussina as just another hired gun, brought in by Steinbrenner for a quick fix. But in reality, Mussina has been a mainstay in a rotation too often characterized by turnover. While others have come and gone (and come again, and gone again) often with much more fanfare, Mussina has done what he’s always done; taken the ball every 5th day and done his job. We can’t ask for much more then that.
You can read Patrick’s rebuttal on this true Yankee business here.