Mussina on the ballot for MLB Hall of Fame

Former Yankees right-hander among the names of first-time eligible players
11/26/2013 3:58 PM ET
By Lou DiPietro

Mike Mussina throws out the first pitch on Yankees Opening Day in 2011.(AP)
Come January, former Yankees pitcher Mike Mussina might be on his way to making the Baseball Hall of Fame his own personal “Moose” lodge. When the list of candidates for the Baseball Hall of Fame Class of 2014 was released Tuesday morning, Mussina was one of 19 newcomers and 36 total players on the ballot, one that has perhaps the most star-studded crop of newbies in years.

Mussina, who pitched for the Yankees from 2001-08, posted 270-153 record and a 3.68 ERA in 18 total seasons with Baltimore and New York, was a five-time All-Star and seven-time Gold Glove winner, and finished in the Top 5 in AL Cy Young Award voting six times in his career. He has some seriously stiff competition this year, however, as those joining Mussina on the ballot for the first time include 300-game winners Tom Glavine and Greg Maddux, consecutive saves record-holder Eric Gagne, 2001 World Series hero Luis Gonzalez and 500 home run club member Frank Thomas.

The ballot also has one man making his final case for candidacy, as pitcher Jack Morris will be on the ballot for the 15th and final time. Last year was the first time since 1966 that the BBWAA did not elect a single player from the eligible pool, with Craig Biggio coming the closest with 388 votes (68.2 percent), but that seems unlikely to happen this year.

Among pinstripers, “Moose” is one of 10 total ex-Yankees on the ballot; Don Mattingly, who received 75 votes (13.2 percent) last year, returns for his 14th year of eligibility, joining Roger Clemens, Lee Smith, Tim Raines, and 1981 Yankees draftee Fred McGriff in the list of holdovers, while starter Kenny Rogers (18-15, 5.11 ERA, one World Series title as a Yankee in 1996-97), first basemen J.T. Snow (seven games as a rookie in 1992) and Richie Sexson (.250 average in 22 games in 2008), and reliever Armando Benitez (who played nine games in pinstripes in 2003) are on the ballot for the first time.

The full list of newcomers includes: Moises Alou, Benitez, Sean Casey, Ray Durham, Gagne, Glavine, Gonzalez, Jacque Jones, Todd Jones, Jeff Kent, Paul Lo Duca, Maddux, Mussina, Hideo Nomo, Rogers, Sexson, Snow, Thomas, and Mike Timlin.

The complete list of returning candidates, in order of their 2013 vote totals: Biggio (second year of eligibility), Morris (15th), Jeff Bagwell (4th), Mike Piazza (2nd), Raines (7th), Smith (12th), Curt Schilling (2nd), Clemens (2nd), Barry Bonds (2nd), Edgar Martinez (5th), Alan Trammell (13th), Larry Walker (4th), Fred McGriff (5th), Mark McGwire (8th), Mattingly (14th), Sammy Sosa (2nd), and Rafael Palmeiro (4th).

Ballots are due from the voting members of the Baseball Writers Association of America by December 31. Players must earn 75 percent of the vote to earn election, and the names of any inductees will be announced at 2 p.m. on January 8 on MLB Network and the websites of both the Hall of Fame and the BBWAA.

Those players, along with choices to be announced Dec. 9 from the 12-man ballot produced by the Expansion Era committee (1973 and later), will be enshrined in Cooperstown on July 24.

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