Si's Tom Verducci, a favorite of The Fowl Balls, has provided this excellent argument for the induction of Mike Mussina. I have to say, I was not fuly convinced of the worthiness of Mussina, but this article makes it very clear that Moose belongs with the best.
Some things to keep in mind when weighing the Hall of Fame chances of Mike Mussina:
• He pitched his entire prime in one of the toughest environments ever for pitching: in the American League in the steroid era. He did more than just survive the onslaught of the greatest extended era of slugging. He thrived. From 1994 through 2003, among all pitchers, not just AL pitchers, Mussina won more games and threw more innings than everyone except Greg Maddux.
• He pitched in the same division as the World Series champion eight times. He was 3-8 in 16 games against those eventual champions.
• Mussina finished in the top five in ERA eight times -- more than such greats as Tom Seaver, Bob Gibson, Steve Carlton, Nolan Ryan, Juan Marichal, Whitey Ford and Bob Feller. Of the 34 pitchers to win 270 games, only seven pitchers had more top five ERA finishes than Mussina.
• His "failure" to win 20 games prior to this season needs explanation. He won 16 games in 1994 but lost nine starts to the strike. He won 19 games in 1995 but lost at least one start to the strike. He won 19 games in 1996 but watched Armando Benitez blow his 20th win in his final start by giving up a tying home run with one out in the ninth to Toronto third baseman Ed Sprague -- the same Ed Sprague who hit a career-high 36 home runs that year and later admitted to using performance-enhancing drugs in his career.
• He finished among the top three winners in his league five times - more than Ford, Gibson, Ryan, Phil Niekro, Gaylord Perry, and Don Sutton and just as many as Marichal, Jim Palmer and Tom Glavine.
When you judge Mussina against his peers, he never had the peak of Maddux, Pedro Martinez, Randy Johnson or Roger Clemens. But his durability and elite consistency in a hostile environment makes him worthy of Cooperstown.