The minute after Curt Shilling and Mike Mussina announce their retirements, the debating began in offices, message boards, and sport articles. Are these two terrific pitchers Hall of Fame worthy?
Well before we answer that question. I wanted to compare the two pitchers and decide who would be selected if only one was allowed.
So let's go to the Tale of the Tapes (Shilling's stats first then followed by Mussina):
Winning Pct.: 59.7% (216-146) v. 63.8% (270-153)
CG: 83 v. 57
SO: 3116 v. 2813
ERA: 3.46 v. 3.68
All Star Appearances 6 v. 5
CY Young Runner-up 3 v. 1
Wins: 10 v. 7
ERA: 2.23 v. 3.42
WS Rings 3 v. 0
If you are a person who strictly relies on wins, Mike Mussina would be the man to head to Cooperstown due to his 270 regular season wins. But, taken into consideration the other regular season stats, I would have to say it's a draw.
What separates Shilling from Mussina was in the postseason. Let's face it. Shilling was a money pitcher and one of the best in history, just look at the amount of rings he won. Not that he was lucky to be on the team, he played a big part for Arizona and Boston in winning (3-1, 2.06 ERA in World Series play).
Verdict: Hate to take the cheap route and call this a draw and not elect either player. I tend to have a feeling that the Hall of Fame should only include the best of the best. Unfortunately, that doesn't seem to be the case with many of the people who casts a vote. Too many underserving players have been elected.
Therefore, Mike Mussina will be elected and Shilling will join Tommy John, Bert Blyleven, and Andre Dawson and knock on the door that does not open.
The reasons Mussina will join Jim Palmer in the Hall of Fame are:
- Lefty Grove (300-141) is the only pitcher to have more wins and fewer losses than Mussina
- every eligible pitcher with a winning percentage over 60 percent was elected in the past
- he received votes in nine Cy Young Award elections—a total matched by only four other pitchers (all are in or will be elected)
- won seven gold gloves to go with his five All-Star selections
- played for big markets in Baltimore and New York
So despite not liking the guy and the Yankees, I would bet the dog house that Mussina is able to walk through the doors. Hopefully, the door will hit him where the good Lord split him.