Choosing the 50 Greatest Yankees was a daunting task. ESPNNewYork.com rose to the challenge. Top 50Rank 'Em
But the name of interest to Yankees fans is also the one name that is likely to give some voters the most trouble: Mike Mussina.
Moose, who went 270-153 in 18 seasons for the Baltimore Orioles and New York Yankees, is a strong candidate but by no means a slam dunk. Of the nine categories I looked at this afternoon -- wins, winning percentage, ERA, seasons played, innings pitched, home runs allowed, hits allowed, WAR and WHIP -- Mussina scores better than the "average" Hall of Famer in six of them.
His 270 wins is 19 better than the average; his winning percentage of .638 is bettered by only 11 other pitchers in Cooperstown. His WHIP (1.192) is slightly better than that of the average Hall of Famer (1.199) and his career WAR (82.7) is significantly higher than the average (69) and compares favorably to that of Bob Gibson (81.7), Jim Palmer (68.1) and Bob Feller (65.2).
On the negative side, Mussina allowed nearly twice as many home runs (376-189) as the average Hall of Famer, no doubt a result of having pitched in the Steroid Era, and his ERA (3.68) is higher than all but two of 70 pitchers in the Hall: Red Ruffing, who needed 18 tries and a runoff election to finally get in in 1967, and Hank O'Day, who got in via the Veterans Committee last year -- as an umpire.
Moose never won a Cy Young, although he did finish second in the voting in 1999 as an Oriole, and of course someone is sure to make the argument that he was never considered the best right-hander in the league.
On balance, and only having glanced over the stats today, I'm thinking I will vote for him, but I can guarantee there will be plenty who won't, for various reasons.
QUESTION: Putting Yankees loyalty aside, would you vote for Mussina for the Hall based solely on his statistics and merit as a player?