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Hall of Famer Mike Mussina “Consistently Consistent”

An article on the National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum’s website describes Montoursville’s Mike Mussina in a Yogi Berra-esque manner as “Consistently Consistent.” I can think of no better way to describe Mussina and his baseball career even going back to his Montoursville Little League and high school days. There is another sports expression

An article on the National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum’s website describes Montoursville’s Mike Mussina in a Yogi Berra-esque manner as “Consistently Consistent.” I can think of no better way to describe Mussina and his baseball career even going back to his Montoursville Little League and high school days. There is another sports expression about those who are successful in sports, and that is “poise and execution,” and this too can certainly be said of Mussina.

In the highly competitive crucible that is high school baseball in this area, for his Warrior baseball team, he posted an impressive 24-4 record with a sparkling 0.87 Earned Run Average. This impressed college scouts and landed him a spot on the pitching staff of Stanford University, one of college baseball’s most successful programs.

While there, Mussina earned a stellar reputation for pitching excellence and is regarded by some experts as one of the most dominant pitchers in the history of the Stanford baseball program.

From 1986 to 1990, he compiled a 25-12 mark in 40 games. In 1988, he earned All-American honors during Stanford’s national championship season, compiling a 9-4 record with a 4.44 Earned Run Average in 21 games.

During his junior year in 1990, he had a 14-5 record to go along with a 3.50 E.R.A.

His excellence as a collegian prompted him to be named to the Pacific 12 All-Century Team.

After his excellent Stanford career, he was drafted number one in the 1990 Amateur Draft by Baltimore.

It was not long before Mussina was a key member of the Orioles’ pitching staff.

With first the Orioles, 1991-2000 and then the Yankees, 2001-2009, Mussina spent his entire career in the American League East, won at least 11 games in 17 consecutive seasons — an American League record — and recorded a career .638 winning percentage. Among pitchers, he ranks 33rd in all-time wins (270), 33rd in games started (535), 66th in innings pitched (3,562.2), 19th in strikeouts (2,813), and 23rd all-time in pitching Wins Above Replacement (82.9). A five-time All-Star and seven-time Gold Glove winner, Mussina’s consistency resulted in six top-five finishes in the voting for his league’s Cy Young Award.

One of the highlights of his long career was starting and winning the September 6, 1995 game at Camden Yards that saw Cal Ripken Jr. eclipse Lou Gehrig’s consecutive games played record.

Even though he recorded a modest 7-8 mark in post-season pitching appearances, two of his appearances were critical and enabled the New York Yankees to prevail in critical playoff games in 2001 and 2003.

He also came within an eyelash of pitching perfect games in five of his career starts. The most memorable was the near-perfect game against Boston in 2001.

But Mike Mussina is much more than a dry listing of career statistics. As a man as well as an athlete, he was regarded as a “giver” and not a “taker.” He was well regarded as a teammate on all the teams he competed on.

He has given back to his community in many ways and has been involved in many anonymous and nearly anonymous acts of philanthropy. He has given back to Montoursville and the surrounding Lycoming County area. He has served as basketball coach at his high school alma mater for the past several years and brought them back from the wilderness of loss and can always be found in the forefront of doing things that will better his community. He is a very private person, so you will not hear him trumpeting these things. He even serves on the International Board of Directors for Little League International Inc.

So you can see he has had a wonderful Hall of Fame baseball career, but even more so he has also had a wonderful life as a man.

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