Circle of Greats 1961 Results: Moose Head of the Class

When this round of balloting began, Mike Mussina was not considered the most likely winner by those who offered predictions, but Magic Mike’s cool demeanor and steady performance over the years seem to have helped bring him the most votes in a closely contested, back-and-forth election. More on Moose and the voting after the jump.

Most Pitching Wins Above Replacement (WAR) (baseball-reference version) in American League History:
1. Walter Johnson 144.7
2. Roger Clemens 117.0
3. Lefty Grove 103.7
4. Bert Blyleven 81.6
5. Mike Mussina 78.1

Most Seasons by a Yankee with 4.0 or more Pitching WAR:
5 Seasons, by Mike Mussina, Whitey Ford and Ron Guidry

Most Seasons by an Oriole/Browns Franchise Player with 4.0 or more Pitching WAR:
8 Seasons, by Jim Palmer
7 Seasons, by Mike Mussina 
5 Seasons, by Urban Shocker (Shocker and Mussina have been the two best players by far whose whole MLB careers were split between the Yanks and Browns/O’s franchises).

89 ballots were cast this round, the highest turnout yet. Mussina appeared on 44 ballots, winning induction at just under the 50% level.

All the holdovers this round continued to extend their eligibility. Edgar Martinez continues to hang on one round at a time. Of the players actually born in 1961, the only one who received significant support was Don Mattingly. Donnie Baseball finished 10th in the balloting, but he met the 10% threshold, just barely, so as with Edgar, Mattingly will be back next round, albeit sitting on the bubble. The full record of the voting for the 1961 round is here: 1961 COG Vote Tally .  The full list of players who will carryover to the next ballot, and the length of their currently assured eligibility will be listed in the 1960 ballot post.

The Circle of Greats membership thus far:
Jeff Bagwell
Barry Bonds
Roger Clemens
Randy Johnson
Greg Maddux
Mike Mussina
Mike Piazza
Frank Thomas

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18 Comments on "Circle of Greats 1961 Results: Moose Head of the Class"

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Jason Z
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He started his Yankee career one year late, and left one year early.

Just like Donnie Baseball.

PP
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Never thought it would happen, but I’m glad it did.

latefortheparty
Guest

The first plurality inductee.

Mike L
Guest

I want those cross-tabs! What an interesting result. My back of the envelope calculation has Schilling and Mussina on the same ballot just 17 times, so it’s reasonable to assume many saw it as a one or the other.

mosc
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I still don’t understand the Mussina > Schilling stuff. You have to completely disregard the post season. I just can’t do that. People need to be smacked on the head and reminded what the word “career” means.

Ed
Guest
And other people need to be smacked on the head and reminded that context matters. 🙂 How do we know that Schilling was better than Mussina is the postseason? Won-lost record? Nope, we know that’s not a good way to evaluate pitchers. ERA? Again, nope. Another way that’s been discredited. We could look at things like hits/9, HR/9, K/BB ratio. And if we do, we’ll see that Schilling was slightly better than Mussina in those categories. But Schilling threw a lot more postseason innings against the NL which was a weaker league (and of course didn’t have a DH). Once… Read more »
mosc
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Mussina 139.2 IP, 7 and 8 with a 3.42 ERA. 7.8/1.2/2.3/9.8 in h/hr/bb/so per 9IP. 1.103 whip and a 4.39 so/bb Schilling 133.1 IP, 11 and 2 with a 2.23 ERA. 7.0/0.8/1.7/8.1 in h/hr/bb/so per 9IP. 0.968 whip and a 4.8 so/bb So, you’re looking at two guys with similar post season appearances and you get out of that roughly equal? NL vs AL differences? How many times did Schilling face the pitcher? 36.2 of his innings in the NL were in the world series against AL teams. He only pitched NL vs NL games in 50 innings of his… Read more »
mosc
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Also, Mussina has 101 un-earned runs to Schilling’s 65. That’s a few tenths worth of ERA. Mussina pitched over year’s worth more innings but for a guy noted for defense it seems odd. Value of strikeouts maybe? 7.1 per 9 vs 8.6?

Ed
Guest
Quick back of the envelope shows that Schilling held his post season opponents to 2.56 runs under their regular season average. Mussina held his to 1.67 runs under their regular season average. Taking defense into account narrows the gap to 2.56 vs 1.99. Still a decent lead for Schilling (0.57 runs) but less than half the 1.19 run gap suggested by their postseason ERAs. Of course, this doesn’t take into account things such as ballpark factors, actual batters faced etc., which could move things closer or further away. So yes Schilling does appear to have been better but the gap… Read more »
Mike L
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Mosc, it’s a very close vote, and remember that the menu wasn’t just Mussina vs. Schilling head to head. More than a quarter of the respondents voted for someone else entirely, with about ten voting only for hitters. Glavine and Smoltz also got decent levels of support, and that could have funneled votes away from either Mussina or Schilling for voters who didn’t want to go all pitcher.

PP
Guest

Mussina got less than 50% of the vote, which, for someone with his record, is not outrageous at all. That Schilling should have got more votes isn’t a problem of Mussina logging 44 of 89 but of Schilling not being an appealing candidate, for whatever reason voters think he isn’t.

MikeD
Guest
Mosc, I don’t see many discussions here that Mussina was necessarily better than Schilling. The general consensus seems to be that both are worthy, although with differing paths that add up to very similar career WARs, with B-R rating Mussina slightly ahead, and with Fangraphs rating Schilling slightly ahead. What we have was a close vote where Mussina came out on top, perhaps driven by two other forces: First, Mussina has been on these ballots for two additional rounds, allowing him to gain additional voters. Human nature being what it is, people have a tendency to stick with their votes… Read more »
mosc
Guest
Eh, I voted for Mattingly to be more of an anti-vote against Walker (who I do not think belongs) and Mussina (who to me is borderline, really gets into how many hitters and relief pitchers you want to let in). I didn’t vote for Mattingly the next year. I really really don’t think Mattingly belongs, just wanted to give him some love. Clearly he got more love as the thread went on. I think I was the first or second to vote for him… I don’t know about Mussina but he was clearly not in the top 3 for me,… Read more »
Bryan O'Connor
Editor

I don’t think the voters viewed Mussina as greater than Schilling. I think they just got less nauseous typing his name.

MikeD
Guest

Half of the Circle of Greats are pitchers in the early going. I suspect that is a matter of timing and will change.

Happy to see Moose elected simply so I no longer have to keep voting for him!

Voomo Zanzibar
Guest
I’d love to know the fan-base profiles of the voters. How much of the vote was stat-based, and how much was emotion? I’m not making a value judgement, just think it would be interesting as a reference point. The impression I get from reading this community the last few years is that more Yankee fans comprise the HHS discussions than Diamondback fans or Brave fans. If that is true, did it affect the Mussina vote? (I’m Bronx-born myself, and I had an all-offense ballot). How much of it was perception of his greatness, based upon the high-note which he chose… Read more »
Mike L
Guest
A few post 1961 vote observations on Schilling vs. Mussina. There were a total of 89 ballots, and one or the other of them appeared on all but 23. Of that 66 they were picked together on 18, which to me seems to indicate that most people did an either or. Most of the rest of the votes where one or the other appeared were just swap outs; you took one of them and filled out the rest of your ticket. One interesting example was pairing one of the two with Alomar and Larkin. Five Schilling voters did it, and… Read more »
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