One of the long standing knocks on Mike Mussina's resume has been the absence of a 20-win season. Not that he hasn't had good seasons. He won 19 twice and 18 three times. Before his 20th win, he was the only pitcher with 250 wins to have never won 20 in a single season.
Mussina does not need to worry about that anymore, though. He has added that elusive 20-win season to his resume. But does that mean that he is ready for the Hall?
Even if he retired after this year, he would still not be a lock. A Hall of Famer is defined by his dominance during the period of time playing, and the longevity of it throughout his career. That is why the absence of the 20-win milestone always hurt his Hall of Fame stature.
Proof of his lack of dominance lies with the fact that he has never won a Cy Young Award, and only once finished as runner-up. This comes down to Mussina never being "the best pitcher" in his respective league.
Additionally, Mussina has never won an ERA title. He has only broken 3.00 once in his career. If Mussina were inducted, his ERA would be the highest of any pitcher after 1950, and the third highest overall in the Hall. Mussina was known as a strikeout pitcher, but was never able to win a strikeout title.
Postseason success does not define a pitcher, but a big success can definitely help one's claim to induction into the Hall, and Mussina had little of it. He had a measly 7-8 in postseason play, and in his three World Series starts, he only managed to win one. The lack of a ring is another detriment to his chances.
It is not like Mussina would be the first of his kind to be rejected from the Hall. Take a look at Bert Blyleven's statistics. He had more wins, a better ERA, more strikeouts, and two World Series rings to go with his rejection.
When I think of the mid-to-late 1990s and the turn of the century, certain starting pitchers come to my mind—Maddux, Clemens, Martinez, Glavine, Johnson, and even Schilling. Not that all these pitchers should be, or will be in, but they defined an era more so than Mussina ever did for me.
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