The National Baseball Hall of Fame is set to announce its Class of 2019 on Tuesday, Jan. 22. In the days leading up to the announcement, theScore's MLB editors will preview players who look to be a lock to head into Cooperstown.
Player: Mike Mussina
Teams: Baltimore Orioles (10 seasons), New York Yankees (8 seasons)
Position: Starting pitcher
Current age: 50
Year on ballot: 6th
Percentage of vote: 82.3% (Calculated by Ryan Thibodaux)
MLB seasons: 18
Gold Glove: 7 (1996, 1997, 1998, 2001, 2003, 2008)
MLB wins leader: 1 (1995)
Mussina's brilliant 18-year run in the American League East will likely earn him a spot in Cooperstown.
Armed with a devastating curveball, the man known as "Moose" finished with 2,813 strikeouts, 270 wins, and a 1.19 WHIP over a career split between the Orioles and Yankees.
Mussina was a five-time All-Star, seven-time Gold Glove winner, and finished top five in AL Cy Young voting six times, and he managed to accomplish all of that while pitching in perhaps the most loaded division in baseball. He finished his career with a .638 winning percentage, and only Hall of Famers Greg Maddux (295), Tom Glavine (272), and Randy Johnson (271) won more games than Mussina from 1991 to 2008.
First time 20-game winner
It wasn't until Mussina's final season in the majors that he reached the 20-win plateau. In dramatic fashion, he pitched six shutout innings in a 6-2 victory over the rival Boston Red Sox at Fenway Park - on the last day of his 18th season - to finally reach the elusive milestone at age 39. It would be Mussina's last regular-season start and arguably his most memorable.
15-strikeout game in ALCS
Mussina turned in one of the greatest pitching performances in American League Championship Series history on Oct. 11, 1997. The righty carved up a loaded Cleveland Indians lineup that featured the likes of Manny Ramirez, Jim Thome, David Justice, and Matt Williams. Baltimore lost the game, and the series, but Mussina's 15 strikeouts continue to stand the test of time.
Flirting with perfection
On Sep. 2, 2001, Mussina came within one strike of throwing the fourth perfect game in Yankees history, and first against the Red Sox. Unfortunately, pinch hitter Carl Everett took a 1-2 pitch and lined it to left for a single to end the bid. Mussina responded by getting the next batter to ground out to complete a 13-strikeout, one-hit gem as New York edged Boston 1-0. It was one of two potential perfect games the righty lost in the ninth inning.