Mussina’s HOF selection must have been tough pill for Orioles to swallow

March 28, 2012 | Drew Forrester

It must have been tough for the Orioles to send out that press release earlier today.

“Guy we low-balled who went on to the Yankees because he thought the Orioles were on the verge of stinking was right all along and we’re now going to try and profit one more time off of him by making him a member of the team’s Hall of Fame”.

You know, for sure, the last thing Peter Angelos wanted to do was stamp “APPROVED” on that document when it landed on his desk, asking for his agreement to welcome Mike Mussina back to OPACY as a team Hall of Famer.

I can just hear Angelos now.

“Really?  We don’t have someone else?  What about Jimmy Key…he was a good pitcher for us.  So was that Wells guy.”

Alas, the Orioles have done the right thing and added Mussina to the team’s list of Hall of Famers.

Mussina, of course, was arguably the first player of quality to sniff out the beginning-of-the-end in Baltimore.  He was the man who saw the erosion taking place in front of him and said, “If this is how it’s going to be, I’m hittin’ the road.”

And he did.

Right to the Bronx.

I didn’t blame Mussina back then, in 2001, and I still don’t blame him today.

The Orioles offered him $9 million per-season.  The Yankees said, “How does $14 million per season sound?”  When the Orioles found that out, they supposedly came in with a late $11 million-per offer, but by then, the pitcher’s mind was made up.  He took the New York money and headed north.

It was, of course, the right move.

As Mussina could see, the Orioles were in the beginning stages of a dramatic fall from grace.

The Yankees were in the midst of a great run that would see them qualify for the playoffs in 7 of the 8 seasons he spent in New York.

Anyone with a brain would have made the same move.

It’s only a shame that defections like that didn’t create enough of a firestorm to make the Orioles wake up and change the way they did business.

11 seasons after Mussina left, the Orioles are still eroding.


11 Comments For This Post

  1. Tim Says:

    Doubt it.

    Words like self-awareness, irony, shame, and embarrassment are foreign to this organization.

    As someone pointed out on Facebook, each and every time a former player is honored in some way (hell, even the “classic” games on MASN do this), we’re all painfully reminded of the Orioles’ PAST greatness.

    And the contrast to where this team is today.

  2. Jayson Hill Says:

    You must not remember the interview where Mussina said he was a small town guy and would never want to play for a team like the Yankees. He is a hypocrite and was far more of a catalyst to our undoing than a prognosticator.

    I rooted with ever fiber of my soul for him to never won a World Series and apparently he and his team were not as good as people thought. He got shelled in the postseason several times as a Yankee costing them at least 1 World Series title.

    If he goes in the Hall as a Yankee I would spit on his legacy and everything he stood for… (DF: Funny. The Orioles allow their franchise to erode and somehow this guy was supposed to hang around and be part of 65-97 every year.)

  3. unitastoberry Says:

    I was mad at Mike but in hindsight he made the right move. It’s all about money in pro sports and he with the most Benjamins wins! My guess is the old man won’t show up at the stadium for any of this summers salutes to the great Orioles. He knows he will be booed out off the field.

  4. Rich Says:

    I never faulted Mussina for wanting to leave the Orioles when he did. I only faulted him for thinking that the only place he could go and win was New York. He could have been the perfect addition in Arizona, Anaheim, or Florida and he’d have a ring. Imagine Randy Johnson, Curt Shilling and Mike Mussina in Arizona … wouldn’t have taken 7 games to beat the Yankees. Heck, maybe the Cardinals would’ve been able to beat Boston in 04 and the curse could’ve continued. As John Belushi used to say, “But nnnNNNOOOOOooooooooo …” gotta go to New York where he won (let’s count) NO RINGS!

  5. Bill Says:

    At the end of the day he is probably the second best Orioles pitcher ever. To not have him in the Orioles hof (still on the wall where the men’s bathroom is wtf”) would be stupid. Pluscwe kiss up to new Yorkers all the time. That stupid statue of Babe Ruth is still standing. He could’ve cared less about Baltimore after he left.

  6. The "Armchair QB" Says:

    This could be a “watershed” year for the hapless Orioles. I don’t know what the record is for losses in a season, but it woudn’t surprise anyone if they break that dubious record this year. Then, “Ange-loser” can crow about his record breaking team! Why would any talented ball player in his right mind want to play here? How can anyone blame Mussina for leaving an organization dedicated to……..losing? Baltimore under “Ange-loser’s” ownership has become the “armpit” of MLB………

  7. Steve from Sandpoint Says:

    Just a matter of time before the Orioles low ball Adam Jones and Matt Wieters(they elready started with Wieters) and they also will be GONE !!! The new Oriole legacy low ball your best players!

  8. barnyard Says:

    He’s a B.S. artist & now that he is retired & irrelevent in the world of sports, wants to be Mr. Nice guy & accepted. Screw him, he spent almost as many years with the Yankees as he did with the O’s who are the farm team for the N.Y. Bombers. What’s he gonna do, wear a suit orange on one side & oinstripes on the other? He always reminded me of a wishy weasel.

  9. Paul from Towson Says:

    Mussina had every right to leave the sinking ship. Great posting Drew, just wish more people could see that we’re 11 years removed and these charlatans are still doing business the same way. Which will once again lead to 65-97. I personally, will stand and cheer Mussina for sticking around as long as he did.

  10. Ken Says:

    Mussina did the right thing. Let’s not forget that Peter Angelos drove him away, along with Davey Johnson, Pat Gillick, and so many others. The story at the time was that he had a signed contract and Angelos tore it up. Every single one of us would have started looking for work somewhere else after that.

  11. ravenmaniac Says:

    I used to blame the Moose but no longer.

    I went to the first “free the Birds”. Then I bought into McPhail and the O’s turning things around. I bashed you and the station for piling on and at the end of the day, I was WRONG. My firm bought an 81 game plan last season 15 rows behind the Oriole dug out. By July, we couldn’t find a client who wanted them for free of course. When the O’s called this year, we told them “the owner isn’t even trying to win” and we didn’t even buy a 29 game plan in the outfield. The O’s salesman’s response, “I dont blame you”. End of conversation, he didn’t even try. I’ll be at opening day (the only game I ever attend anymore) and MAYBE I’ll bring my boy to a meaningless game in the middle of summer but thats it. We’ve got a 29 game plan to the Nats to give to our DC clients and I’m seriously considering hitting one of those games this summer. At least they are trying. (DF: Your apology is accepted. Must have been tough for you to do that…)

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