Mike Mussina would have had a tougher time getting into the hall of fame 20 years ago. The use of Sabermetrics made people realize how good a pitcher he was. The interesting thing was that there were complaints he never won 20 games. I heard it all the time. Then he won 20 in his last season and retired as if to say I accomplished it. I wonder if that did get him some hall of fame votes.
However, if he pitched 20 years earlier, he would be like Tommy John (my number 35 pitcher) and Jim Kaat (my number 42 pitcher) who have not been elected to the hall of fame. Both won more games than Mussina. John had 288 and Kaat had 283. Mussina ended up tied for 33rd with 270 Burleigh Grimes. Grimes is also in the hall of fame. Since Mussina is safely in the top 40 let us see who among the top 40 is not in the hall of fame and try to figure out why.
9 Roger Clemons 354 wins
Roger is easy. He is accused of taking steroids.
25 Bobby Mathews 297 wins
He was an early 19th century pitcher whose record isn’t that impressive for his day. It was easy to get victories in those days and it is probably true pitchers’ effect on the game were a lot less then.
26 Tommy John 288 wins
He makes mine because I lean a little more for career. Basically, he had only a four-year peak with the Dodgers. I think that hurt him. He might have stayed around too long chasing 300. The number of wins 288 doesn’t sound as great when you say it took him 26 years to get it.
29 Tony Mullane 284 wins
See Bobby Mathews. I have Mullane higher rated. He also pitched later, so baseball was being developed more. Still don’t see him as a hall of famer and apparently the voters haven’t either.
31 Jim Kaat 283 wins
Kaat is 31st place as Mullane is tied for 29th with Fergie Jenkins. He is very similar to Tommy John. He pitched 25 years.
35 Jamie Moyer 269 wins
Moyer dropped off the ballot. Like Kaat he pitched 25 seasons but had 14 less victories. He pitched in a heavy scoring era but was only 3 percent above average according to ERA plus.
39 Jim McCormick 265 wins
Another 19th century pitcher. Like Bobby Mathews he started in the early days of professional baseball.
40 Gus Weyhing 264 wins
Another 19th century pitcher although he won six games in the 20th Century. I have him really low at 283 for pitcher. I don’t have him as one of my top 1,000 players.
It surprises me there are 8 pitchers in the top 40 for wins not in the hall fame. Of those one is due to steroids, four were good, but not great 19th century pitchers, two are on the cusp (John and Kaat) and one Moyer was a solid pitcher for a number of years but doesn’t have real impressive hall of fame numbers. Moyer still has a chance, but to me it is a very slim one and it wouldn’t be for a number of years.
I read one article on Mussina was how he was consistent, which would help explain him as a hall of famer. However, his WAR and Win Shares numbers bounce up and down. He was just consistently over .500 according to WAR. Doing that and having a few outstanding seasons makes him a hall of famer.