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Moose Tracks

Props to Mike Mussina on being selected to the National Baseball Hall of Fame. What an incredible achievement for the Montoursville native. Moose is heading to Cooperstown as one of the all time greats. This is off the charts sports fans. It’s a beautiful thing. Mike spent 18 solid seasons in the BIGS. The former

Props to Mike Mussina on being selected to the National Baseball Hall of Fame. What an incredible achievement for the Montoursville native. Moose is heading to Cooperstown as one of the all time greats. This is off the charts sports fans. It’s a beautiful thing.

Mike spent 18 solid seasons in the BIGS. The former Orioles and Yankee pitcher earned 76.7 percent of the vote. This was Mike’s sixth year on the ballot and he managed to clear the 75 percent threshold. He was somewhat shocked by his enshrinement, but the vast majority of the Baseball Writers Association of America believed it was time.

“I’m a little bit surprised,” Mussina explained at the HOF announcement. “I appreciate the writers’ support. I had a great career, and I got out at the right time. To be from a small town in America, and to even get a chance to play professional baseball is great stuff. You don’t ever expect to get the call for something like this.”

Moose was phenomenal while on the mound. He was a true craftsman, a savvy perfectionist, and tallied 270 victories over his historic run. Mike was consistently brilliant in perhaps the toughest division in baseball. He also pitched during the PED era, and most of his outings were in homerun parks. Moose did things the right way. Never flashy. Just solid. He always gave his teams a chance. Mike spent ten years with Baltimore and another eight in the Bronx.

Mussina won 20 games in his final year of baseball. Despite his best season in the majors — Moose decided he had enough and left the game on his own terms. Many thought he was a long shot to get into the Hall of Fame. Sure he was an All-Star and had a few Golden Gloves, but Moose wasn’t considered a big name. Others questioned why he would call it quits after a tremendous year. Some thought he could easily get to 300 wins, and that would almost guarantee him the nod. Moose thought otherwise. He walked away while still in his prime. Mike came back to Montoursville to spend more time with the family.

“I’m just thankful to that first year where 20 percent of the writers felt I deserved a vote,” he continued. “There are a lot of very, very good players who don’t make it past the first ballot. I appreciate people staying with me and doing their research. It is going to be tremendously challenging for someone to get to 300 wins again. I don’t know if this changes how the writers feel about pitchers, but I am glad they felt that way about me.”

I personally watched the entire press conference on my mobile device. Mike shared the spotlight with former Yankee teammate Mariano Rivera, Seattle’s Edgar Martinez, and the late Roy Holliday. Moose was quite candid and appeared to be a tad nervous. These Hall of Famers entertained several questions about their careers and the future of the game. I loved every minute, and enjoyed the healthy banter amongst the players. It was a rather refreshing conversation.

Mike got the call while he was finishing up varsity hoops practice in Montoursville, and he wasn’t allowed to say anything until the official announcement was made. Moose calmly told his youngest to jump in the car and they exited stage left. The name Mussina was now trending on all of the major networks.

I don’t see much of Mike unless it’s in a local gymnasium. I know him enough to say hello but that’s about it. I tried reaching out to say congrats, but Moose is a very private person, and prefers to stay off the beaten path. I am no Peter Gammons or Buster Olney.

His brother Mark and I are pals, and I reached out for some help. I sent him a few questions to assist with this article and Mark got back to me after talking with his HOF brother. Thanks. Moose is overwhelmed by all of the praise. He stays away from social media and tends to hide from the spotlight. The Hall of Fame ceremony is months away and Mike is more focused on the basketball season and getting geared for playoffs. Love it.

Congratulations Moose on this well deserved honor. I understand you are going into the Hall without a logo. Both the Oriole and Yankee organization played huge roles in his tremendous career. Tough to pick for sure. How about a Montoursville M on that bronzed cap instead? Well done Mike. Cheers.

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