During Mike Mussina's time as a New York Yankee, 2001 to 2008, he had many great memories. He pitched in the must win game 3 of the 2001 ALDS, aka, the "Flip Play" game, in which he pitched seven shutout innings in a 1-0 victory. In game 7 of the 2003 ALCS, he made his first career relief appearance in which he pitched three shutout innings to set up the dramatics in the eighth inning against Pedro Martinez, and the 11th inning with Aaron Boone's walk-off home run. But, during his time with the Yankees, Mike Mussina has had more than his fair share of unlucky fortunes.
Mike Mussina signed with the Yankees from the Baltimore Orioles just after the 2000 season to join a stacked rotation with Roger Clemens, Andy Pettitte, and Orlando Hernandez. Mussina went just 11-15 in 2000 with the Orioles, but had a solid 3.79 ERA. He lead the American League in innings pitched with 237.2, thus earning a six year $88 million deal with the Yanks.
But, the unlucky fortunes started on a Sunday night in September against the Red Sox in his first year with the Yankees. He retired the first 26 batters, and while getting ahead 0-2 against pinch hitter Carl Everett for the final out of a perfect game, Everett blooped the next pitch into left center field, thus ending Moose's perfect game bid.
Another one of Mussina's unlucky fortunes came in 2002. In September, Mussina had five starts left in the season and he was stuck on 16 wins. He went three straight outings without earning a win in which he went eight, seven, and seven innings, respectively, while allowing two, one, and zero earned runs. As a result, he went 0-2, while winning his final two starts of the season putting his total to 18. But, if he would have gotten wins in two of those three previous outings, he would have won 20 games for the first time in his career, something he's only done once, in his final game and season in 2008.
His misfortunes really spanned through his tenure as a Yankee as he did not win a World Series championship either. Like I stated, he came on board in 2000 and retired after the 2008 season ended. In 2009, the Yankees won the World Series. Moose retired 1 year too early.Many can make a very good argument that Mussina should be in the Hall of Fame. I believe he should make the Hall of Fame, but that's a debate for another time. Either way, Mike Mussina, pitched some quality years in New York, but deserved more. Maybe a ring, maybe that perfect game, maybe another 20 win season or a no-hitter. Who knows, one thing is for sure though... he may be the unluckiest Yankee pitcher ever. That being said, we salute you Moose. We salute you.
--Jesse Schindler, BYB Staff Writer
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