Jayson Stark of ESPN is reporting that, according to “a baseball source with knowledge of the situation,” Mike Mussina has decided to retire from baseball. I noticed that the New York Yankees official site, quoting Ken Rosenthal from FoxSports.com, has reported the same news. It was expected, and I honestly didn’t want the Yankees to re-sign him for the three years Mussina would have wanted to play to shoot for 300, but I can’t help feeling pangs of sadness about this. He was a terrific pitcher, adapting to changing conditions by honing his off-speed stuff after many, including myself, said his best days were behind him. I am proud to have eaten crow about that this year. I am equally proud to have seen his brilliant, four-hit stint on April 23 in Chicago, when he baffled the White Sox to turn around his struggles versus (primarily) Ramirez and the Red Sox to post the only 20-win season of his career.
Moose, we won’t forget you. Thanks for being a terrific Yankee pitcher, for some excellent games, for smart and sometimes smart-ass interviews, and for an underestimated toughness. To think that Mussina was able to bounce back and put behind him his getting clocked with a Sandy Alomar line drive flush in the face, just above the right eye–something Herb Score understandably couldn’t shake–makes everything Mussina did after it happened May 14, 1998 even more impressive.
The Hall of Fame countdown begins, or certainly should.