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A New York Yankees blog by Chad Jennings and the staff of The Journal News


It’s official: Mussina has retired

Posted by: Peter Abraham - Posted in Misc on Nov 20, 2008 Print This Post Print This Post | Email This Post Email This Post

This release from the Yankees:

Five-time All-Star Mike Mussina today announced his retirement from Baseball. According to the Elias Sports Bureau, Mussina becomes the first pitcher to retire immediately following a 20-win season since Hall of Famer Sandy Koufax exited the game following his 27-9 campaign in 1966.

Mussina, 39, was a member of the Yankees pitching staff from 2001-08, compiling a record of 123-72 with a 3.88 ERA. Since signing with the Yankees as a free agent prior to the 2001 season, no other American League pitcher recorded more wins than Mussina. He struck out 1,278 batters in pinstripes, ranking sixth on the club’s all-time list. His 72 wins at Yankee Stadium were the third-most since 1976 when the facility was remodeled, behind Ron Guidry (99) and Andy Pettitte (95).

With a 123-72 record, he finished 51 games over .500 with the Yankees while going 66 games over .500 with Baltimore (147-81). According to Elias, he joins Randy Johnson as the only pitchers since 1900 to own a career record of at least 50 games over .500 with two different teams (Johnson was 130-74 with Seattle, 56 games over, and 118-62 with Arizona, 56 games over).

Mussina reached the 20-win plateau for the first time in his career in 2008, going 20-9 with a 3.37 ERA in 34 starts for the Yankees. At age 39, he became the oldest pitcher in Baseball history to record 20 wins in a season for the first time in his career, passing Jamie Moyer (20 wins in 2001 at age 38). He also became the Yankees’ first 20-game winner with an ERA lower than 3.40 since Ron Guidry went 22-6 with a 3.27 ERA in 1985.

In addition, Mussina earned his seventh career Rawlings Gold Glove Award in 2008 (also 1996-99, 2001 and 2003).

Mussina pitched 18 years in the Majors from 1991-2008, making 536 combined starts (537 appearances) with the New York Yankees and Baltimore Orioles and posting a 270-153 record with a 3.68 ERA and 2,813 strikeouts. Only three pitchers recorded more wins than Mussina during his time in the Major Leagues. He reached 15 wins in a season 11 times, including a career-high 20 victories in 2008, and placed in the top five in Cy Young Award voting six times in his career.

Pitching his entire career in the American League East Division, Mussina finished tied with Hall of Famer Burleigh Grimes for 32nd place on Baseball’s all-time wins list after surpassing Jack Morris (254), Jim McCormick (265), Gus Weyhing (265), as well as Hall of Famers Bob Gibson (251), Carl Hubbell (253), Red Faber (254), Ted Lyons (260), Bob Feller (266), Eppa Rixey (266) and Jim Palmer (268) in the 2008 season.

Mussina’s .638 career winning percentage is sixth-best all-time among Major Leaguers with at least 500 career starts and ranked second among active pitchers (Randy Johnson-.648), according to the Elias Sports Bureau. His 2,813 strikeouts rank 19th on Baseball’s all-time list.

A native of Montoursville, Pa., Mussina retired as one of just 18 pitchers in Major League history to own a career record of at least 115 games over .500 (270-153). According to the Elias Sports Bureau, twelve of those pitchers are currently in the Hall of Fame, five are not eligible yet (Roger Clemens, Randy Johnson, Greg Maddux, Pedro Martinez and Mussina) and one only pitched in nine seasons (Bob Caruthers).

He is the only American League pitcher to record 17 consecutive seasons of 10-or-more wins (1992-2008) and only Walter Johnson (18) has more total seasons of double-digits wins than Mussina all-time among AL hurlers. According to Elias, only five other Major League pitchers have compiled a stretch of 17 straight seasons with at least 10 wins: Greg Maddux (20 yrs., 1988-2007), Cy Young (19, 1891-1909), Steve Carlton (18, 1967-84), Don Sutton (17, 1966-82) and Warren Spahn (17, 1947-63). Also according to Elias, Mussina is the only pitcher in AL history to make at least 24 starts in 17 consecutive seasons (1992-2008).

A master of control, Mussina walked only 785 batters in 3,562.2 career innings, averaging 1.98 walks/9.0IP. According to Elias, he is one of just three pitchers in AL history to toss at least 3,000.0 innings while holding opponents to fewer than
2.0 walks/9.0IP, joining Jack Quinn (1.96) and Cy Young (1.11).

Though he never won a World Series title, Mussina pitched in 23 playoff games (21 starts), going 7-8 with a 3.42 ERA. He twice appeared in the Fall Classic – both with the Yankees – in 2001 vs. Arizona and 2003 vs. Florida.

Originally drafted by Baltimore in the first round (20th overall) of the 1990 First-Year Player Draft, Mussina ranks second all-time among Orioles’ pitchers in strikeouts (1,535) and winning percentage (.645, 147-81), third in wins (147), fifth in games started (288) and sixth in innings pitched (2,009.2). His 218 strikeouts in 1997 established a new club record that was later broken by Erik Bedard in 2007 (221).

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