Deserving Mussina finally gets the call to the ‘Hall”

In the world of Major League Baseball, Cooperstown is the dream team.

It is there, at the northern tip of the Susquehanna River in a rural outpost in New York State, that the Hall of Fame resides.

As of Tuesday, Montoursville’s Mike Mussina will now have a Hall of Fame bust living there eternally.

How big is the accomplishment for Mussina, who came home following an 18-year major league pitching career and now coaches basketball at Montoursville High School?

Well, more than 19,000 players have participated in major league baseball. Only a couple hundred have been inducted into the Major League Baseball Hall of Fame.

From Little League to Stanford University to the Baltimore Orioles to the New York Yankees, Mussina has consistently excelled on a pitching mound.

He was so good for so long that his best season may have been his final one, in which he won his 20th game of the season in his last outing ever.

His accomplishments – 270 all-time wins and 10 or more wins in each of his 17 full seasons – speak to the understated excellence that was the hallmark of Mussina’s career. Those numbers become exponentially more valuable when considering Mussina was dominant in arguably the best division in baseball full of tough batting orders most of those years.

And, in many cases, he was pitching against hitters benefitting unfairly from baseball’s shameful steroid era.

Given those realities and Mussina’s numbers stacked against others in the Hall of Fame, his induction approval should have been earlier.

He has been eligible for the Hall of Fame since 2014 and his vote totals have gradually been climbing, finally topping the necessary 75 percent vote of the baseball writers by seven tallies on Tuesday.

We are guessing that his numbers, upon further examination by the writers, started to mean more in comparison to others. The 270 wins, we believe, will become more valuable as time goes by. Mussina finished his career with not much sign of deteriorating skills. If he had chosen to pitch a couple more years instead of coming home to family, he probably could have topped the magical 300-win mark.

So, congratulations Mike Mussina, on the Hall of Fame induction that brings honor to your family, your town and our region. It is richly deserved.

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