As expected, New York Yankees pitcher Mike Mussina has decided to retire, according to a baseball source with knowledge of the situation. Mussina informed the Yankees last week he would give them a decision by the end of this week.Mussina, who turns 40 next month, spent the last eight seasons with the Yankees after pitching for the
Baltimore Orioles for the first 10 years of his career. His 270 wins rank second among all active right-handers, behind only Greg Maddux. In the final start of his career, he pitched six shutout innings against the Boston Red Sox to finish off the first 20-win season of his career.
According to the Elias Sports Bureau, he’s just the fifth pitcher since 1900 to win 20 games or more in the final season of his career — and the first since Sandy Koufax in 1967. He’s the only pitcher in that group to win his 20th game in his final start. The Yankees had indicated they were interested in bringing Mussina back if he wanted to keep pitching. But they had also suggested they might need to wait to see if they could accomplish their goal of signing at least two other free-agent starters this season — an indication they weren’t counting on Mussina to return from the beginning.
I’m half surprised-half not. Mussina has had such a fine career. The last couple of years were not vintage Moose, but the 2008 season was one to remember. Moose is turning 40 next month and that is old by baseball pitcher standards, so why not go out with a good feeling and on your own terms?
It was never about the money, it was about whether he wanted to be away from home and family. I guess in the end an 18 year career was good enough.
Pardon me while I stand up and applaud a career that ranks among the best in the last 30 years.