Mike “Moose” Mussina Part 1

In the 1990 draft the Orioles made Mike Mussina the 20th pick. He pitched well in the minors and was called up in August of ’91 to the big league club. On August 4th he took the mound for his debut and pitched 7 and two thirds with only 4 hits and one run off of him. He made 12 starts and had an ERA of 2.87. He quickly showed he was there to stay when in ’92 he finished 4th in Cy Young voting and won 18 games. Shoulder injuries took out a good part of his ’93 season, but he still won 14 games and made the All Star game. Mussina recovered nicely and was pitching great well into the next year. The players went on strike and the rest of the ’94 season was canceled. Mussina again finished 4th in Cy Young voting. In ’95 Mussina lead the league with 19 wins and 4 shutouts. ’96 was a special year for Mike, he won 19 games and his first Gold Glove. The Orioles made the postseason. However, his ERA jumped to 4.81 and he carried 11 losses with those 19 wins. The Orioles faced the Indians in the ALDS and won the series 3 games to 1. Mussina pitched in Game 3, the only loss of the series, going 6 innings and giving up 3 earned runs. The Orioles advanced to play the Yankees in a series that will be remembered for a 12 year old kid. Derek Jeter launched what looked to be a home run, but was actually interfered with by a fan. Mussina took the mound in Game 3 with the series tied 1-1. He pitched 7 and two thirds, but gave up 5 runs. The Orioles lost the series in 5 games and the Yankees went onto win the World Series. Mussina started the ’97 season on the DL, but recovered to have a nice season with a career high 218 strikeouts. The Orioles made the playoffs again and faced the Mariners. Moose got the ball in games 1 and 4 against Randy Johnson. In Game 1 he pitched 7 innings of two run ball to beat Johnson and Game 4 he threw 7 innings of one run ball again beating Johnson. After beating the Mariners, the Orioles faced off against the Indians for the second year in a row. Mussina was sent to the mound in game 3 with a tied series. He shut down the Indians with 7 innings of one run ball and 15 strikeouts, but a lack of run support cost him a win. He got another shot in Game 6 with the Orioles down 3 games to 2. He again pitched superbly going 8 innings of shutout ball with ten strikeouts. Again he didn’t get the run support he needed and the Orioles went home and did not return to the playoffs until 2012. Mussina suffered through a few injuries in ’98, but earned his third Gold Glove and his 1,000th strikeout. In ’99 Mussina had one of his best year with 18 wins and a second place finish in the Cy Young voting. 2000 was Mike’s last year on the Orioles. He pitched well despite a losing record. He ended his ten years there with over 2,000 innings pitched and close to 150 wins with a 3.53 ERA.

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