Mussina gaining momentum in HOF bid

Five-time All-Star's voting percentage continued healthy upward trend

January 24th, 2018

NEW YORK -- Mike Mussina continued to gain ground toward entry into the National Baseball Hall of Fame, setting up a scenario in which he could be inducted next summer alongside former Yankees teammate Mariano Rivera, who is considered a lock to headline the Class of 2019.
A 270-game winner over 18 seasons with the Orioles and Yankees, Mussina garnered 268 votes and appeared on 63.5 percent of ballots cast this year, his highest total to date in five eligible seasons. Players must receive 75 percent of the vote to be inducted.
Chipper Jones (97.2 percent), Vladimir Guerrero (92.9 percent), Jim Thome (89.8 percent) and Trevor Hoffman (79.9 percent) reached the necessary criteria from the 422 ballots cast by eligible members of the Baseball Writers' Association of America, as announced on Wednesday.
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Mussina's percentages have risen steadily during his time on the ballot. He received just 20.3 percent of the vote his first year on the ballot in 2014 and 24.6 percent in 2015, then jumped to 43 percent in 2016 and 51.8 percent in 2017. Compiling a lifetime record of 270-153 with a 3.68 ERA, Mussina worked in the American League East during an era of explosive offense.
A five-time All-Star and seven-time Gold Glove Award winner, Mussina enjoyed six top-five finishes for the AL Cy Young Award, finishing second to Pedro Martinez in 1999. His career WAR of 83.0 ranks 23rd all-time, ahead of 41 of the 62 starting pitchers already in Cooperstown, while Mussina's 123 ERA+ is better than 36 pitchers in the Hall.

Mussina's 270 wins are tied with Burleigh Grimes for 33rd place on MLB's all-time list, and he retired after 2008 as the oldest pitcher to record a 20-win season for the first time. Only five pitchers have had as many wins as Mussina while matching or exceeding his .638 career winning percentage: Grover Cleveland Alexander, Christy Mathewson, Roger Clemens, Lefty Grove and Randy Johnson.
"I think that's an argument that people are going to have opinions on both sides," Mussina has said. "There are some nice things that I've been able to do. There are both sides to the argument. My numbers match up well with guys that are in the Hall of Fame, and of course there are guys that have better numbers than mine."
Clemens, meanwhile, gained little ground in his seventh year on the ballot, collecting 242 votes (57.3 percent). It represents a slight uptick from the 54.1 percent that the seven-time Cy Young Award winner received in 2017, and his highest total to date. Clemens' lowest vote total was 35.4 percent in 2014, his second year on the ballot.
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Few would argue against Clemens possessing the necessary accomplishments for Cooperstown, but his candidacy has been affected by suspicion of performance-enhancing drug use as well as his inclusion in the 2007 Mitchell Report. Clemens pitched for the Yankees from 1999-2003 and again in 2007.

Gary Sheffield, who played for the Yankees (2004-06) and seven other big league teams in a 22-year career, notched 47 votes (11.1 percent), his lowest total to date in four eligible years. Andruw Jones, whose career concluded with two seasons (2011-12) in pinstripes, appeared on 31 ballots (7.3 percent) in his first crack at the Hall.
Two others with strong Yankees ties received less than 5 percent of the vote on ballots cast, removing them from future BBWAA consideration. Johnny Damon received eight votes (1.9 percent), while Hideki Matsui appeared on four ballots (1.9 percent).