My sons adopted Mike Mussina as their favorite player when he came up to the Orioles in 1991 and seemed an ace of limitless promise. At the time, the Orioles were classy and great, and were the only available "local" team for kids in the DC area.
Since then, Mussina has been very good, and has become extremely rich, but has had a kind of asterisk for coming within an inch of a number of unquestionable milestones. Eighteen wins in his first full season, then 19 wins in two other early years. But not 20, for various hard-luck reasons. A perfect game taken well into the ninth inning -- I still remember the screams around the TV in our living room when that blew up. Number two in Cy Young voting one year (behind Pedro M), in the top handful seven other times -- but never the winner. Going from the Orioles, whose descent into mediocrity seemed to deny him a chance at the world series, to the unlovable Yankees just as their era of dominance was ending and just in time to join their gradual descent.
Today, it looked like one more "what might have been" moment. Starting with 19 wins, in his last appearance of the season, he took a 3-0 lead into the seventh. And then, as in the bad old Orioles days, the bullpen came within one run of letting him down. They escaped (thanks to 9th-inning Yankee offense) which meant that he escaped -- and ends up 20-9. Whew! What happens from now on with Moose is impossible to say, but for now, congrats.
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