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Tuesday Bird Droppings: Where Mike Mussina might be headed to the Hall

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The former Orioles ace finds out today whether he’s been elected to Cooperstown.

Mike Mussina

Good morning, Camden Chatters.

Today brings a welcome flurry of activity amidst an otherwise agonizingly boring MLB offseason. The National Baseball Hall of Fame will announce its electees to the class of 2019, and former Orioles ace Mike Mussina is among the top candidates.

Based on Ryan Thibodaux’s Hall of Fame voting tracker, three players appear to be slam dunks for election: Mariano Rivera, Edgar Martinez, and the late Roy Halladay. Rivera has a chance to be the first unanimous selection in Hall of Fame history; he’s been named on all 217 public ballots as of this writing. Halladay has pulled in 92.6% and Martinez 90.8%, well above the 75 percent needed for election.

Mussina’s chances are a bit iffier. Currently, on the public ballots, he’s received 81.6% of the vote. Many voters, though, have chosen not to openly reveal their ballots — and those non-public voters tend to be the older, stodgier types who have more antiquated standards for Hall of Fame enshrinement. In other words, the types who will be more hesitant to vote for Mussina. In last year’s ballot, Mussina received 65.7% from public voters, but only 46.7% from private voters. If the disparity is just as massive this year, he might not get his needed 75%.

Still, even if he falls just short this year, it certainly appears that Mussina’s time is coming eventually. He has four more years of eligibility on the ballot after this one, and he’s been steadily rising up the charts each time, from 20.4% in his first year to 63.5% in 2018, his fifth year.

Mike Mussina will be a Hall of Famer, and deservedly so. It might happen today. Now, will he go in as an Oriole or a Yankee? That, perhaps, is a debate for another day.

Links

Losing a father and a hero - School of Roch
Roch Kubatko shares a beautiful tribute to his late father. This is a must-read, but be sure to bring Kleenex.

Mike Mussina is potentially closing in on a call to the Hall - Steve Melewski
Steve Melewski posits that Mussina could be considered nearly Jim Palmer’s equal as the best pitcher in Orioles history. He’s not wrong.

Connolly’s Tap Room: If Mussina makes the Hall, should he get a Camden Yards statue? – The Athletic
What say you? I'm inclined to vote no statue, since Mussina was never part of a championship O's team, unlike the currently bestatued Orioles Legends. Which brings up an additional and somewhat depressing question: who will even be the next Oriole to get a statue?

Baltimore Orioles: The best third-basemen in Orioles history - Birds Watcher
You can probably guess who’s No. 1. No, it’s not Craig Worthington.

Orioles birthdays and history

Is today your birthday? Happy birthday! The most recent Oriole to share your birthday, unfortunately, is one that you’re probably not super jazzed about: Ubaldo Jimenez, who turns 35. Ubaldo was a complete bust during his four-year O’s career from 2014-17, going 32-42 with a 5.22 ERA while making $50 million. Nobody ended up signing him after his O’s contract expired a winter ago, so it appears his big league career is over.

Your other O’s birthday buddies are 2004-05 right-hander Aaron Rakers (42), 1967-72 righty Dave Leonhard (78), and the late Bobby Young, who would have been 94 today. Young, a Maryland native, was the first player ever to step into the batter’s box for the Orioles, batting leadoff in their inaugural game April 13, 1954.

On this day in 2006, the Orioles acquired veteran righty Kris Benson from the Mets for John Maine and Jorge Julio. Benson pitched only one year for the Birds and was overshadowed by his wife, Anna, who...uh, well, you can read up on her if you’re not familiar. Be careful with your Googling, though. Meanwhile, Maine went on to have a few successful seasons with the Mets, so the O’s didn’t exactly get the better end of the trade.