December 8 – Happy Birthday Mike Mussina

You’d probably have to go back to Nelson Rockefeller to find someone who had a more self-satisfying final performance than the one Mike Mussina enjoyed during the 2008 season. “Moose” had been one of the most effective starting pitchers in the Majors during the previous seventeen years of his career but had never been able to win twenty games in a single season. Plus, after a mediocre performance in 2007, the pundits were saying Mussina was past his prime and the Yanks would be better off giving the ball to younger studs like Phil Hughes, Ian Kennedy and Joba Chamberlain instead of the aging 38-year-old right-hander.

We Yankee fans all saw what happened to our young studs during that ill-fated season and I can’t imagine how much worse Joe Girardi’s first year as Manager would have been if Mike Mussina had decided to call it quits instead of pitching one more year.

He went 20-9 with an ERA of just 3.37 and pitched over 200 valuable innings for a Yankee staff that was decimated by injuries and ineffectiveness. The 20 victories gave Mussina 270 for his career and made his case for getting to Cooperstown a heck of a lot stronger.

Most other veteran hurlers who had the type of season and career numbers Mussina had as a 39-year-old would be anxious to cash in on one more multi-million dollar contract and continue their pursuit of 300-wins. Not Moose. He has always been a quiet guy who cherished family more than fame and retirement was an easy choice for him to make. Mike was born in Williamsport, PA, in 1968. He shares his December 8th birthday with this outfielder the Yankees acquired during the 2013 preseason,  this former Yankee reliever and this one-time Yankee shortstop.

Year Tm W L W-L% ERA G GS GF CG SHO SV IP H R ER HR BB SO WHIP
2001 NYY 17 11 .607 3.15 34 34 0 4 3 0 228.2 202 87 80 20 42 214 1.067
2002 NYY 18 10 .643 4.05 33 33 0 2 2 0 215.2 208 103 97 27 48 182 1.187
2003 NYY 17 8 .680 3.40 31 31 0 2 1 0 214.2 192 86 81 21 40 195 1.081
2004 NYY 12 9 .571 4.59 27 27 0 1 0 0 164.2 178 91 84 22 40 132 1.324
2005 NYY 13 8 .619 4.41 30 30 0 2 2 0 179.2 199 93 88 23 47 142 1.369
2006 NYY 15 7 .682 3.51 32 32 0 1 0 0 197.1 184 88 77 22 35 172 1.110
2007 NYY 11 10 .524 5.15 28 27 0 0 0 0 152.0 188 90 87 14 35 91 1.467
2008 NYY 20 9 .690 3.37 34 34 0 0 0 0 200.1 214 85 75 17 31 150 1.223
18 Yrs 270 153 .638 3.68 537 536 0 57 23 0 3562.2 3460 1559 1458 376 785 2813 1.192
BAL (10 yrs) 147 81 .645 3.53 288 288 0 45 15 0 2009.2 1895 836 789 210 467 1535 1.175
NYY (8 yrs) 123 72 .631 3.88 249 248 0 12 8 0 1553.0 1565 723 669 166 318 1278 1.212
Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Original Table
Generated 10/10/2013.

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