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Mussina a Hall of Famer?

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You make a very strong point, one that I expect the HOF voters will weigh when they consider Mussina. However, the way starting pitchers are used has changed dramatically in the last 20 years. The pitchers who will be retiring about now are really the first ones who played their entire career in the era of the 5-man rotation, and very heavy use of relief pitchers.

Look at it this way: in a four man rotation a pitcher will start 40 times a year. If he wins half the games he starts, he wins 20 games. Nowadays, in a five man rotation, starters get only 32-34 starts a year. If they win half, that's 16-17 wins.

Then there is the complete game phenomenon. It used to be common for really good starters to rack up 20 complete games or more, all of which resulted in a decision for the starter, one way or the other. But now, even great starters often have 5 or fewer complete games, and as a result, a lower percentage of their starts result in decisions one way or the other. Fewer decisions = fewer wins.

Hence, last year there wasn't a single 20-game winner in MLB, and the National League had no pitcher who won more than 16 games!

In fact, assuming Mussina achieves 250 wins, he may be the last pitcher to do that for a very, very long time. The players behind him are either probably too old to reach 250 or are so far away from that figure that it would take 7-10 years to reach that plateau, if they ever do:

6. David Wells* (44) 235

7. Jamie Moyer* (44) 225

8. Curt Schilling (40) 213

9. Kenny Rogers* (42) 210

10. Pedro Martinez (35) 206

11. John Smoltz (40) 203

12. Andy Pettitte* (35) 193

13. Tim Wakefield (40) 164

(nobody else is over 150)

So, eventually the 20-win criterion is going to go the way of the dinosaur, and 250 wins will be viewed in much the way that 300 wins is looked at today. I doubt Mussina gets in on the first ballot, but eventually his candidacy is going to look very good.

Of that group I would rate these ahead of Mussina, Wells, Schilling, Pedro, Smotz, and possibly Petitite. I would rate these below, Moyer, Rogers, amd Wakefield.

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I did a little research on this for this same debate on another board. I don't know stats as well as a lot of you guys, but I understand basic milestones for pitchers, and I decided to see how Mussina's career stacks up to every other pitcher (besides Negro Leaguers) in the Hall of Fame right now.

Obviously there are other important factors, but I looked at 20-win seasons, World Series victories and records in those World Series, overall wins, no-hitters, and Cy Young Awards.

Mike Mussina: 0 World Series victories, 244 wins, 0 20-win seasons, 0 no-hitters, 0 Cy Young Awards.

Grover Cleveland Alexander (20 seasons): 1 World Series victory (1926 when he went 2-0), 373 wins, 9 20+ win seasons.

Chief Bender (16 seasons): 3 World Series victories (1910, 1911, 1913 with a combined 5-2 record), 212 wins, 2 20+ win seasons, 1 no-hitter

Three-Finger Brown (14 seasons): 2 World Series victories (1907, 1908 with a combined 3-0 record, 2 complete games, and a 0.00 ERA), 239 wins, 6 20+ win seasons

Jim Bunning (17 seasons): 224 wins, 1 20+ win season, 2 no-hitters (1 perfect game)

Steve Carlton (24 seasons): 2 World Series victories (1967, 1980, 2-0 in 1980 World Series), 319 wins, 6 20+ win seasons, 4 Cy Young Awards

Jack Chesbro (11 seasons): 198 wins, 5 20+ win seasons (41 wins in 1904)

John Clarkson (13 seasons, pre-World Series): 328 wins, 6 30+ win seasons (seasons of 53 and 49 included), 1 no-hitter

Stan Coveleski (14 seasons): 1 World Series victory (3-0 in 1920), 215 wins, 5 20+ win seasons

Dizzy Dean (12 season): 1 World Series victory (2-1 in 1934), 150 wins, 4 20+ win seasons

Don Drysdale (14 seasons): 3 World Series victories (1959, 1963, 1965, combined 3-1 record), 209 wins, 2 20+ win seasons, 1 Cy Young Award

Dennis Eckersley (24 seasons): 1 World Series victory (1989, 1 save), 197 wins, 390 saves, 1 20+ win season, 1 no-hitter, 1 Cy Young Award

Red Faber (20 seasons): 1 World Series victory (3-1 in 1917), 254 wins, 4 20+ win seasons

Bob Feller (18 seasons): 1 World Series victory (0-2 in 1948), 266 wins, 6 20+ win seasons, 3 no-hitters

Rollie Fingers (17 seasons): 3 World Series victories (1972, 1973, 1974 with 2-2 combined record and 6 saves), 114 wins and 341 saves, contributed to 1 no-hitter, 1 Cy Young Award

Whitey Ford (16 seasons): 6 World Series victories (5-4 in 1950, 1953, 1956, 1958, 1961, 1962), 236 wins, 1 Cy Young Award

Pud Galvin (15 seasons pre-World Series): 364 wins, 10 20+ win seasons (2 over 40), 2 no-hitters

Bob Gibson (17 seasons): 2 World Series victores (5-1 in 1964, 1967), 251 wins, 5 20+ win seasons, 1 no-hitter, 2 Cy Young Awards

Lefty Gomez (14 seasons): 5 World Series victories (6-0 in 1933, 1936, 1937, 1938, 1939), 189 wins, 8 20+ win seasons

Burleigh Grimes (20 seasons): 1 World Series victory (2-0 in 1932), 270 wins

Lefty Grove (17 season): 2 World Series victories (1929 and 1930, 2-1 in 1930), 300 wins

Jesse Haines (19 seasons): 2 World Series victories (1926 and 1934, 2-0 in 1926), 210 wins, 3 20+ win seasons, 1 no-hitter

Waite Hoyt (20 seasons): 3 World Series victories (3-0 in 1923, 1927, 1928), 237 wins, 2 20+ win seasons

Carl Hubbell (16 seasons): 1 World Series victory (2-0 in 1933), 253 wins, 5 20+ win seasons, 1 no-hitter

Catfish Hunter (15 seasons): 5 World Series victories (5-2 in 1972, 1973, 1974, 1977, 1978), 224 wins, 5 20+ win seasons, 1 perfect game no-hitter, 1 Cy Young Award

Ferguson Jenkins (19 seasons): 284 wins, 7 20+ win seasons, 1 Cy Young Award

Walter Johnson (21 seasons): 1 World Series victory (1-2 with 2.25 ERA in 1924), 417 wins, 12 20+ win seasons, 1 no-hitter

Addie Joss (9 seasons): 160 wins, 4 20+ win seasons, 2 no-hitters including 1 perfect game

Tim Keefe (14 seasons pre-World Series): 342 wins, 6 30+ win seasons

Sandy Koufax (12 seasons): 2 World Series victorise (2-2 in 1959, 1965, no World Series ERA over 1.50 in 4 World Series appearances), 165 wins, 3 20+ win seasons, 4 no-hitters including 1 perfect game, 3 Cy Young Awards

Bob Lemon (15 seasons): 1 World Series victory (2-0 in 1948), 207 wins, 7 20+ win seasons, 1 no-hitter

Ted Lyons (21 seasons): 260 wins, 3 20+ win seasons, 1 no-hitter

Juan Marichal (16 seasons): 243 wins, 6 20+ win seasons, 1 no-hitter

Rube Marquard (18 seasons): 201 wins, 3 20+ win seasons, 1 no-hitter

Christy Mathewson (17 seasons): 1 World Series victory (3-0 with 3 CG SHOs in 1905), 373 wins, 13 20+ win seasons, 4 30+ win seasons, 2 no-hitters

Joe McGinnity (10 seasons): 1 World Series victory (1-1 in 1905), 246 wins, 8 20+ win seasons

Hal Newhouser (17 seasons): 1 World Series victory (2-1 in 1945), 207 wins, 4 20+ win seasons, 2 MVP awards

Kid Nichols (16 seasons, mostly pre-World Series): 361 wins, 11 20+ win seasons including first 10 seasons in big leagues

Phil Niekro (25 seasons): 318 wins, 3 20+ win seasons, 1 no-hitter

Jim Palmer (19 seasons): 3 World Series victories (3-0 in 1966, 1970, 1983), 268 wins, 8 20+ win seasons, 1 no-hitter, 3 Cy Young Awards

Herb Pennock (22 seasons): 3 World Series victories (3-0 in 1923, 1927, 1932), 240 wins, 2 20+ win seasons

Gaylord Perry (22 seasons): 314 wins, 5 20+ win seasons, 1 no-hitter, 2 Cy Young Awards

Eddie Plank (17 seasons): 2 World Series victories (2-2 in 1911, 1913), 326 wins, 8 20+ win seasons

Old Hoss Radbourn (12 seasons pre-World Series): 309 wins, 9 20+ win seasons including a 59-win season, 1 no-hitter

Eppa Rixey (21 seasons): 266 wins, 4 20+ win seasons

Robin Roberts (20 seasons): 286 wins, 6 20+ win seasons

Red Ruffing (22 seasons): 6 World Series victories (6-1 combined in 1932, 1936, 1937, 1938, 1939, 1941), 273 wins, 4 20+ win seasons

Amos Rusie (10 seasons, pre-World Series): 246 wins, 8 20+ win seasons, 4 30+ win seasons, 1 no-hitter

Nolan Ryan (27 seasons): 1 World Series victory (0.00 ERA in 1.2 innings in 1969), 324 wins, 2 20+ win seasons, 7 no-hitters

Tom Seaver (20 seasons): 1 World Series victory (1-1 in 1969), 311 wins, 5 20+ win seasons, 1 no-hitter, 3 Cy Young Awards

Warren Spahn (21 seasons): 1 World Series victory (1-1 in 1957), 363 wins (most by any lefthander), 13 20+ win seasons, 2 no-hitters, 1 Cy Young Award

Bruce Sutter (12 seasons): 1 World Series victory (1-0, 2 saves in 1982), 300 saves (led the league 5 times), 1 Cy Young Award

Don Sutton (23 seasons): 324 wins, 1 20+ win season

Dazzy Vance (16 seasons): 1 World Series victory (0.00 ERA in 1.1 innings in 1934), 197 wins, 3 20+ win seasons, 1 no-hitter

Rube Waddell (13 seasons): 193 wins, 4 20+ win seasons, 1 no-hitter (game shortened after 5 innings)

Ed Walsh (14 seasons): 1 World Series victory (2-0 in 1906), 195 wins, 4 20+ win seasons, 1 no-hitter

Mickey Welch (13 seasons pre-World Series): 307 wins, 9 20+ win seasons

Hoyt Wilhelm (21 seasons): 143 wins, 227 saves, 1 no-hitter

Vic Willis (13 seasons): 1 World Series victory (0-1 in 1909), 249 wins, 8 20+ win seasons, 1 no-hitter

Early Wynn (23 seasons): 300 wins, 5 20+ win seasons, 1 Cy Young Award

Cy Young (22 seasons, half pre-World Series): 1 World Series victory (2-1 in 1903), 511 victories, 15 20+ win seasons, 3 no-hitters including 1 perfect game, Cy Young Award named after him.

Obviously no-hitters are the least important of my criteria, although I think had Moose completed a couple of his (especially a perfect game), that would have been a major plus, considering that he probably had a 20-win season taken away by the strike. But he was 4 wins away in 1994, and I personally refuse to assume that many wins.

Every single starting pitcher in the Hall of Fame has a 20-win season. And all except Sutton have two, and Sutton also compiled 300 victories. Eckersley, who spent a good amount of time as a starter, also has one 20-win season.

In other words, I know these are basic statistics and not the SABR stuff a lot of you guys are great at analyzing, but Mike Mussina fails to live up to these basic pitching benchmarks on all counts. And every single starting pitcher in the Hall of Fame does not fail.

He most certainly can finish strong and get in...I am not at all discounting that. But if he retired at the end of this year, or spent only a couple more mediocre seasons, I cannot personally put him in a class with these pitchers.

Add to that the fact that he will likely be retiring at the same time as so many other great pitchers (see the "Which of these pitchers belong" thread) and I think that will work against him in the short-term, at least.

The question is, do they look at the strike shortened seasons and say, well he likely wins 20 those years?

And, as bullpens are used more and more, wins and losses are more out of the pitchers hands now more than ever.

So, i don't think 20 wins becomes as important.

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Of that group I would rate these ahead of Mussina, Wells, Schilling, Pedro, Smotz, and possibly Petitite. I would rate these below, Moyer, Rogers, amd Wakefield.

Have you voted in the poll I set up? See here: http://www.orioleshangout.com/forums/poll.php?do=showresults&pollid=1971

You are in a small minority in thinking Wells is better than Mussina, per the poll results so far. Schilling and Mussina are running neck and neck. I didn't include Pettitte in the poll because I had to limit it to 10 candidates and he has fewer wins than the others I included.

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You make a very strong point, one that I expect the HOF voters will weigh when they consider Mussina. However, the way starting pitchers are used has changed dramatically in the last 20 years. The pitchers who will be retiring about now are really the first ones who played their entire career in the era of the 5-man rotation, and very heavy use of relief pitchers.

Look at it this way: in a four man rotation a pitcher will start 40 times a year. If he wins half the games he starts, he wins 20 games. Nowadays, in a five man rotation, starters get only 32-34 starts a year. If they win half, that's 16-17 wins.

Then there is the complete game phenomenon. It used to be common for really good starters to rack up 20 complete games or more, all of which resulted in a decision for the starter, one way or the other. But now, even great starters often have 5 or fewer complete games, and as a result, a lower percentage of their starts result in decisions one way or the other. Fewer decisions = fewer wins.

Hence, last year there wasn't a single 20-game winner in MLB, and the National League had no pitcher who won more than 16 games!

In fact, assuming Mussina achieves 250 wins, he may be the last pitcher to do that for a very, very long time. The players behind him are either probably too old to reach 250 or are so far away from that figure that it would take 7-10 years to reach that plateau, if they ever do:

6. David Wells* (44) 235

7. Jamie Moyer* (44) 225

8. Curt Schilling (40) 213

9. Kenny Rogers* (42) 210

10. Pedro Martinez (35) 206

11. John Smoltz (40) 203

12. Andy Pettitte* (35) 193

13. Tim Wakefield (40) 164

(nobody else is over 150)

So, eventually the 20-win criterion is going to go the way of the dinosaur, and 250 wins will be viewed in much the way that 300 wins is looked at today. I doubt Mussina gets in on the first ballot, but eventually his candidacy is going to look very good.

Frobby, I've had this argument with friends in real life and at least a few other times on the interwebs, and I must admit that you make the best argument I've heard for Mussina's inclusion.

However, I must say that I disagree with the point about Mussina's 250+ wins eventually equaling the pitchers of the past's 300 wins. Mussina's career has more or less paralleled Clemens, Maddux, and Glavine, all with 300+ wins (assuming that last one for Tommy). With the addition of Glavine, only 23 men will have ever won 300 games, so 3/23 (13%) will have played in the time of Mussina. So while Adam Loewen's 250 wins may look as impressive as Glavine's 300, I don't think Mussina's do.

Now that said, I recognize that there are more than 23 pitchers in the Hall, so clearly there are plenty who never reached 300 wins. However, here is where I believe milestones like 20-win seasons or strong postseason performances that led to a World Series come into play.

Here are the vitals of Mussina's contemporaries who we are considering:

Roger Clemens (24 seasons so far): 2 World Series victories (2-0 in 1999, 2000), 351+ wins, 6 20+ win seasons, 7 Cy Young Awards

Greg Maddux (22 seasons so far): 1 World Series victory (1-1 in 1995), 340+ wins, 2 20+ win seasons, 4 Cy Young Awards

Tom Glavine (21 seasons so far): 1 World Series victory (2-0 in 1995), 299+ wins, 5 20+ win seasons, 2 Cy Young Awards

Randy Johnson (20 seasons so far): 1 World Series victory (3-0 in 2001), 284+ wins, 3 20+ win seasons, 2 no-hitters (1 perfect game), 5 Cy Young Awards

David Wells (21 seasons so far): 2 World Series victories (1-0 in 1992, 1998), 235+ wins, 1 20+ win season, 1 no-hitter (perfect game)

Curt Schilling (20 seasons so far): 2 World Series victories (2-0, ERA a little over 1 in 2001, 2004), 213+ wins, 3 20+ win seasons

Pedro Martinez (15 seasons so far): 1 World Series victory (1-0, 0.00 ERA in 2004), 206+ wins, 2 20+ win seasons, no no-hitters but took one into the 10th inning in 1995, 3 Cy Young Awards

John Smoltz (19 seasons so far): 1 World Series victory (ummm....not good in 1995), 203+ wins, 154 saves, 1 20+ win season, 1 Cy Young Award

Kevin Brown (19 seasons): 1 World Series victory (also not that great in 1997), 211 wins, 1 20+ win season, 1 no-hitter

I know we mentioned Moyer and Pettitte, but I don't think they're issues yet. Moyer I really don't see how he could get in, and Pettitte's postseason record undoubtedly would count heavily in his favor should he continue for another few productive years. But just for the heck of it, Pettitte has 2 20+ win seasons, as does Moyer.

So again, your argument does more than most to sway me, but I'm just not swayed that easily. Maybe, as someone else said, it's because he left us for the Yankees. But of all the Hall of Famers, and all his true contemporaries who are comparable, Mussina strikes me as at or very near the bottom. 20-win seasons and 300 (or 250) wins may soon be a real rarity, but the best pitchers of Mussina's era have reached the 20-win milestone, and Schilling, Martinez, and Smoltz have areas of their career that make up for their overall lack of wins (postseason, Koufax-esque dominance, and great relieving, respectively). I'd personally put Mussina ahead of Wells and Brown, but even they have 20-win seasons and no-hitters to their credit...I know, not the most advanced of stats, but things that show up on everyone's plaque.

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I don't think 20 win seasons or world series appearances or victories is a good way to judge a pitcher at all. It's not Mussina's fault he hasn't won a title. As far as 20 wins seasons go, my boy Kevin Brown had the 22nd best season ever in terms of ERA+, he started 32 times and pitched 233 innings, yet only went 17-11. I'll take that season over Wells' 2000 season where he went 20-8 with an ERA+ of 121 in 229 innings and 35 starts. Yet, with the way Busta is rating pitchers, Wells had the better year. Better than Pedro's 285 ERA+ year as well where he only made 29 starts, won 18, and pitched 217 innings.

BTW, Busta, what about the shortened '95 season? Moose would have gotten 3-4 more starts only needing 1 more win. If there wasn't a strike, and Moose had two 20 win seasons and won 1 more game in '96 to end up with 3 20 win seasons, would he be a HOF'er in your mind? How about if on top of that, the voters gave him a Cy Young or two because he got 20 wins?

Mussina was top 3 in league wins 4 times, including 1st once, he also had 4 other top 8 finished. But again, I'll take ERA+ and innings pitched over wins anyday.

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I don't think 20 win seasons or world series appearances or victories is a good way to judge a pitcher at all. It's not Mussina's fault he hasn't won a title. As far as 20 wins seasons go, my boy Kevin Brown had the 22nd best season ever in terms of ERA+, he started 32 times and pitched 233 innings, yet only went 17-11. I'll take that season over Wells' 2000 season where he went 20-8 with an ERA+ of 121 in 229 innings and 35 starts. Yet, with the way Busta is rating pitchers, Wells had the better year. Better than Pedro's 285 ERA+ year as well where he only made 29 starts, won 18, and pitched 217 innings.

BTW, Busta, what about the shortened '95 season? Moose would have gotten 3-4 more starts only needing 1 more win. If there wasn't a strike, and Moose had two 20 win seasons and won 1 more game in '96 to end up with 3 20 win seasons, would he be a HOF'er in your mind? How about if on top of that, the voters gave him a Cy Young or two because he got 20 wins?

Mussina was top 3 in league wins 4 times, including 1st once, he also had 4 other top 8 finished. But again, I'll take ERA+ and innings pitched over wins anyday.

As I said before, I don't understand these sorts of stats as well as a lot of people on this board, you being one of the better ones. And I know that they are becoming more widespread in baseball. To be honest, I don't know what ERA+ is. I know I didn't see "ERA+" on a single plaque last weekend. Maybe these sorts of things will show up on the plaques of the future, but I think it's a little bit much to discount old standards that I threw out there, seeing as how every single Hall of Famer stacks up to them.

As for your question, I would answer it this way. I'm willing to credit him with a 20-win equivalent in 1995, seeing as how he was just one win away. It also helps that his 19 wins led the league that year. Four wins are too many for me to assume in 1994. And he could have gotten that 20th win in his last start of 1996, but he could have gotten it in a lot of other starts, too. In the end, he had a 162-game season to work with that year and did not win 20 games, so I give him no credit just because the bullpen blew that one game.

IF we were living in an alternate universe where he had 3 20-win seasons, perhaps a Cy Young or two, AND the 250+ wins he will finish with, then yeah, I'd put him in there. As I also said, I certainly am not discounting the fact that he could get in anyway. But seeing as how things actually turned out, I personally do not think he belongs as it stands now.

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As I said before, I don't understand these sorts of stats as well as a lot of people on this board, you being one of the better ones. And I know that they are becoming more widespread in baseball. To be honest, I don't know what ERA+ is. I know I didn't see "ERA+" on a single plaque last weekend. Maybe these sorts of things will show up on the plaques of the future, but I think it's a little bit much to discount old standards that I threw out there, seeing as how every single Hall of Famer stacks up to them.

As for your question, I would answer it this way. I'm willing to credit him with a 20-win equivalent in 1995, seeing as how he was just one win away. It also helps that his 19 wins led the league that year. Four wins are too many for me to assume in 1994. And he could have gotten that 20th win in his last start of 1996, but he could have gotten it in a lot of other starts, too. In the end, he had a 162-game season to work with that year and did not win 20 games, so I give him no credit just because the bullpen blew that one game.

IF we were living in an alternate universe where he had 3 20-win seasons, perhaps a Cy Young or two, AND the 250+ wins he will finish with, then yeah, I'd put him in there. As I also said, I certainly am not discounting the fact that he could get in anyway. But seeing as how things actually turned out, I personally do not think he belongs as it stands now.

ERA+ - the ratio of the league's ERA (adjusted to the pitcher's ballpark) to that of the pitcher. > 100 is above average and < 100 is below average. lgERA / ERA

Here's a link to the career leaders in ERA+:http://www.baseball-reference.com/leaders/ERAplus_career.shtml

You're not going to see stats such as ERA+, EQA, RC/27, WARP3, etc because most people don't know much or anything about them.

The old standards are very flawed. Going by AVG, hits, RBI, ERA, Wins, etc is not as good as OBP, OPS, EQA, VORP, RC/27, WARP3, ERA+, K/BB ratio, etc, which reflects a players peformance more accurately.

Now wins, over the course of a career, is rather reflective of how good a SP was, however I don't get the point in judging a player based on how many 20 win seasons they had. The difference between 19 wins and 20 wins is the same as between 20 and 21, it should be treated that way.

And I certainly don't get judging a player based on that when comparing them to guys who pitched in a different era when wins were much easier to come by.

Concerning your last comment, I just don't get that. So if there was no strike, and Mussina won 6 more games during a 3 season stretch, or if he just got a little more lucky with run/bullpen support and ended up with 3 20 win seasons, he'd suddenly be a much better pitcher even if he pitched exactly the same way?

And Cy Youngs, All Star selections, MVP's, Gold Gloves, etc are also quite flawed because the people who vote on them screw them up all the time. Now if the awards are justified, that's great, otherwise, for me, it makes more sense to figure out who deserved the awards on my own. But I wouldn't hold it against a guy too much for not being the best pitcher in his league any years. Sometimes a guy is just unfortunate because when they have a Cy Young caliber year, someone else has an even better year. Plus, consistently being among the top 5-10 pitchers in your league is a great accomplishment even wiithout a Cy Young.

With all that said, I don't think Moose is a no brainer HOF'er by any means. His peak is not that good for a HOF'er, and he's not ending his career that strongly. But he was often great, usually very good, and almost always at least good until this year.

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Concerning your last comment, I just don't get that. So if there was no strike, and Mussina won 6 more games during a 3 season stretch, or if he just got a little more lucky with run/bullpen support and ended up with 3 20 win seasons, he'd suddenly be a much better pitcher even if he pitched exactly the same way?

Yes...I really don't know what else to say...I just am of the opinion that there are magic numbers in baseball. As I said, I'm willing to credit Mussina with the 1995 season, but you can assume a game here and there for a lot of players....they just didn't get them. A Hall of Fame pitcher probably has some 19 win seasons on his resume, but he also managed a few 21's or even better. As I said, I find it a little too easy to just blame Mussina's 19-win 1996 season on the bullpen. He also lost 11 games. His ERA of 4.81 was the worst of his career to date. Had he won one of those other games, he wouldn't have to blame his lack of a milestone on the bullpen.

Thanks for filling me in on ERA+.

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Yes...I really don't know what else to say...I just am of the opinion that there are magic numbers in baseball. As I said, I'm willing to credit Mussina with the 1995 season, but you can assume a game here and there for a lot of players....they just didn't get them. A Hall of Fame pitcher probably has some 19 win seasons on his resume, but he also managed a few 21's or even better. As I said, I find it a little too easy to just blame Mussina's 19-win 1996 season on the bullpen. He also lost 11 games. His ERA of 4.81 was the worst of his career to date. Had he won one of those other games, he wouldn't have to blame his lack of a milestone on the bullpen.

Thanks for filling me in on ERA+.

Ok, so in this case, I guess you care more about a pitcher's luck more than how well he actually pitched.

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Ok, so in this case, I guess you care more about a pitcher's luck more than how well he actually pitched.

I don't get your point....I'm willing to credit him a win in 1995, but I think 4 wins is entirely too many to assume in 1994. Maybe you mean the luck of there being a strike, but even without a strike, maybe he doesn't pitch well down the stretch. We don't know. He had a very good season in 1994, but I'm not willing to credit him with a magic number type season. And 1996, despite it being the closest he came to 20 wins, didn't have anything to do with luck, if you read what I'm trying to say. He had an ERA close to 5...his next highest ERA in Baltimore was 4.46 in 1993, and his next highest ERA period was 4.59 in 2004. In his 11 losses, the Orioles scored 7, 8, 9, 2, 3, 2, 0, 9, 0, 3, and 3 runs. At least four of those games should have been wins, but he didn't pitch well. Only two of these losses were "quality starts." It's not about luck. He didn't pitch well enough to win 20 that season. We can disagree on whether or not 20 wins should matter, but don't go blaming his failure to achieve that mark on the bullpen or a lack of run support.

EDITED TO ADD: In 1996, he had only 6 no-decisions. Without any evidence, I'd guess that this is below average for a typical season these days, certainly not above average. In those 6 NDs, he had 3 quality starts. The Orioles had the lead when he left in 3 of those games, and the Orioles won 3 of those games (including the last one, in which they held the lead when he left and won in 10 innings). Seems pretty even to me.

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I don't get your point....I'm willing to credit him a win in 1995, but I think 4 wins is entirely too many to assume in 1994. Maybe you mean the luck of there being a strike, but even without a strike, maybe he doesn't pitch well down the stretch. We don't know. He had a very good season in 1994, but I'm not willing to credit him with a magic number type season. And 1996, despite it being the closest he came to 20 wins, didn't have anything to do with luck, if you read what I'm trying to say. He had an ERA close to 5...his next highest ERA in Baltimore was 4.46 in 1993, and his next highest ERA period was 4.59 in 2004. I his 11 losses, the Orioles scored 7, 8, 9, 2, 3, 2, 0, 9, 0, 3, and 3 runs. At least four of those games should have been wins, but he didn't pitch well. Only two of these losses were "quality starts." It's not about luck. He didn't pitch well enough to win 20 that season. We can disagree on whether or not 20 wins should matter, but don't go blaming his failure to achieve that mark on the bullpen or a lack of run support.

That isn't my point at all. I'm not talking about Mussina here. My point is wins in an individual year involve a lot of luck. They're not a good measure of how a pitcher actually pitched. Run support, bullpen support, and defensive support have a lot to do with how many wins one gets, yet the pitcher has basically no control over that.

Mussina's 1996 season is a great example of that, thanks for mentioning it, he won 19 games while just being slightly above average for 36 starts. He had more wins that year than plenty of pitchers who pitched better than him. He also had more wins that year than in other years where he pitched quite a bit better. So Moose was lucky to get 19 wins that year. The example I brought up earlier of Wells vs Brown/Pedro is another great example of that. Wells was good that year, but Pedro and Brown had some seasons that were much much better, yet they failed to win 20 games in the seasons I speak of. With your system, Wells season is being viewed as being better. So you're rewarding the pitcher who had more luck instead of the pitcher who actually pitched better.

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Fair enough...I understand your points, I really do. And like Frobby, you've made more sense than many I've argued this issue with. I agree - I don't think that the year with the most wins is necessarily the best season for a particular pitcher. I also don't want to imply that my "system" suggests that 20-win season or two alone is enough for the Hall of Fame...Rick Helling isn't exactly first-ballot material.

But every Hall of Famer and every contemporary of Mussina who garners consideration have had seasons where they put up those win totals, whether they were the best seasons they had to offer or not. Almost all of them have done it at least twice. I don't think that's purely luck or coincidence. And not all of these seasons came on great teams, but Hall of Fame pitchers are good enough to win anyway. There are a lot of great pitchers who aren't and don't belong in the Hall of Fame. Mussina, in my opinion, is one of those.

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You make a good point about all the pitchers in the HOF having at least two 20 win seasons. However, I think Frobby's point really takes away from yours. But then again, I just don't care much about win totals in individual seasons, Mussina has pitched great in multiple seasons, it's not his fault he never got to 20. He's currently 48th in career wins, and will likely end up in the top 40, maybe even top 30. If wins is your thing, that's quite impressive, especially considering the era. Only 5 pitchers who were born after 1950 have 250 wins or more. Moose should become the 6th, and like Frobby said, probably the last for awhile unless Pedro can stay healthy.

Bottomline, I will evaluate how he did at preventing runs, not how well his teammates did in helping him win 20 games.

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You make a good point about all the pitchers in the HOF having at least two 20 win seasons. However, I think Frobby's point really takes away from yours. But then again, I just don't care much about win totals in individual seasons, Mussina has pitched great in multiple seasons, it's not his fault he never got to 20. He's currently 48th in career wins, and will likely end up in the top 40, maybe even top 30. If wins is your thing, that's quite impressive, especially considering the era. Only 5 pitchers who were born after 1950 have 250 wins or more. Moose should become the 6th, and like Frobby said, probably the last for awhile unless Pedro can stay healthy.

Bottomline, I will evaluate how he did at preventing runs, not how well his teammates did in helping him win 20 games.

Of course I agree with your analysis. But in terms of how I think the vote WILL go (as opposed to how I would vote), I think it's going to take quite some before voters are willing to give up the 20-win criterion. After Clemens, Maddux, Glavine, Johnson and Pedro are already in the HOF, and a few years go by with no serious new pitcher candidates on the horizon, the voters will begin to give Moose a harder look. He's clearly behind those guys in the pecking order.

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Of course I agree with your analysis. But in terms of how I think the vote WILL go (as opposed to how I would vote), I think it's going to take quite some before voters are willing to give up the 20-win criterion. After Clemens, Maddux, Glavine, Johnson and Pedro are already in the HOF, and a few years go by with no serious new pitcher candidates on the horizon, the voters will begin to give Moose a harder look. He's clearly behind those guys in the pecking order.

I agree. I have little confidence in the voters to get things right when it comes to borderline type guys. Sometimes there's guys who have a decent case, yet don't even get enough votes in their first year to remain on the ballot.

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