It’s now official. Moose has retired after 18 years in the bigs.

Now the debate begins. Should Moose be in the Hall of Fame. Conventional wisdom says yes. Common sense plus statistics say yes. Will the writers say yes?

Moose has had a career that is among the top 20 of the last 40 years. Here are excerpts from the Yankees press release:

Mussina pitched 18 years in the Majors from 1991-2008, making 536 combined starts (537 appearances) with the New York Yankees and Baltimore Orioles and posting a 270-153 record with a 3.68 ERA and 2,813 strikeouts. Only three pitchers recorded more wins than Mussina during his time in the Major Leagues. He reached 15 wins in a season 11 times, including a career-high 20 victories in 2008, and placed in the top five in Cy Young Award voting six times in his career.

Pitching his entire career in the American League East Division, Mussina finished tied with Hall of Famer Burleigh Grimes for 32nd place on Baseball’s all-time wins list after surpassing Jack Morris (254), Jim McCormick (265), Gus Weyhing (265), as well as Hall of Famers Bob Gibson (251), Carl Hubbell (253), Red Faber (254), Ted Lyons (260), Bob Feller (266), Eppa Rixey (266) and Jim Palmer (268) in the 2008 season.

Mussina’s .638 career winning percentage is sixth-best all-time among Major Leaguers with at least 500 career starts and ranked second among active pitchers (Randy Johnson-.648), according to the Elias Sports Bureau. His 2,813 strikeouts rank 19th on Baseball’s all-time list.

Look at a couple of statistics:

  • In the last 18 years, only 3 other pitchers have recorded more wins than Moose — and that’s with pitching his entire career in the ultra-competitive AL East.
  • He is placed 32nd on baseball’s all time win-list for pitching victories. That’s a pretty good number considering many of the pitchers above him are already in the Hall.
  • His .638 career winning percentage is 6th best all time.
  • His 2,813 strikeouts are 19th most in MLB history.
  • He is the only AL pitcher to have recorded 17 straight seasons with at least 10 victories in a season.
  • He is also one of only 3 pitchers in MLB history to have pitched more than 3,000 innings and having walked less than 2.0 walks/9.0IP, joining Jack Quinn (1.96) and Cy Young (1.11).

Granted, some of these numbers will probably go down as other pitchers pass him, but that’s the nature of the sport.

Based on his humility, his love for the game, and how he dedicated himself for the team, Michael Cole Mussina is a Hall of Famer in my book.