There's no doubt that Mike Mussina is a divisive figure in Orioles history. There is also no doubt that he's one of the best baseball players to ever put on an Orioles uniform. It was announced this morning that he, along with Rich Dauer and former scout Walter Youse, will be inducted into the Orioles Hall of Fame on August 24th.
Some people will never be able to get over Mussina leaving the Orioles for the Yankees, and while it made me very sad at the time, that's life. Mussina did what was best for his career and it's hard to argue with that. For the people who do continue to hold a grudge, I'm sorry that they can't look back at Mussina's time with the Orioles (I mean, do you remember the 1997 post season? Holy cow) and just enjoy him for the gem that he was.
Mussina met with media today via conference call and had these classy words to say:
Looking back, I can understand people being upset, frustrated and bitter. Especially when you leave Baltimore and go to a rival city in the same division. I can understand that. It was a decision that I made at the time and it probably worked out for me.
But the first 10 years in Baltimore can't be replaced and nothing was more fun or exciting or enjoyable for me than being the last couple of players to get to play in Memorial Stadium and then move into a brand-new park. It was such a thrill to go and have a full house every day and to be in contention for a long stretch of time and to put us in the playoffs for the first time in a long time.
There are so many things that were exciting and memorable and that I'm going to never forget. The Orioles were the ones that gave me the chance to experience that. If people are upset that I made a change, they are allowed to be upset. People take this stuff really personally sometimes, but honestly, the first ten years in the major leagues were a great ten years. I thoroughly enjoyed it.
The Orioles Hall of Fame often seems that it's more about fan favorites (ahem, Mike Bordick) than it actually is about the caliber of player who played for the Orioles. But it's still a Hall of Fame, and any O's Hall of Fame without Mike Mussina in it is a joke.