Right-hander Mike Mussina was not among the three players announced Wednesday as newest members of the Baseball Hall of Fame. That honor went to Jeff Bagwell, Tim Raines and Ivan Rodriguez this year.
For Mussina, the Hall of Fame snub was not unexpected. He appeared on roughly 60 percent of the public ballots according to Ryan Thibodaux's tracker, and his final voting tally was 51.8 percent. Seventy-five percent is needed for induction.
Although he fell short this year, Mussina did continue to gain Hall of Fame support. His voting percentage has steadily climbed in his four years on the ballot:
2014: 20.3 percent
2015: 24.6 percent
2016: 43.0 percent
2017: 51.8 percent
Players remain on the ballot a maximum of 10 years, so Mussina has up to six more years to get over that 75 percent threshold. He still has a ways to go, but he's moving in the right direction.
Pitching in the same era as Hall of Famers like Greg Maddux, Randy Johnson, Pedro Martinez and Tom Glavine makes it easy to overlook what Mussina accomplished over his 18 seasons with the Orioles and Yankees. He won 270 games -- how long until someone does that again? -- and was 23 percent better than average at preventing earned runs despite spending his entire career in the hitter-happy AL East.
Mussina made 536 starts in his career and 293, or 54.7 percent, came at Camden Yards and the old Yankee Stadium, which were two pretty good places to hit. A dozen pitchers in history have recorded an ERA at least 25 percent better than the league average in 10-plus seasons: Mike Mussina, Roger Clemens and 10 Hall of Famers.
At the very least, Mussina deserves a long look from Hall of Fame voters. He was effective and never missed a start. Mussina still has some ground to make up before being inducted into Cooperstown. The good news is that he's gaining support and still has another six years to get there.