A Look Into Mussina’s Hall of Fame Weekend
The 2019 Baseball Hall of Fame weekend was this past weekend, and this year’s class of Mariano Rivera, Mike Mussina, the late Roy Halladay, Edgar Martinez, Harold Baines and Lee Smith were inducted as the newest Hall of Famers. Before the ceremony, the 2019 class spoke to the media Saturday afternoon.
While Mariano Rivera is one of the inductees that most Yankees fans are looking forward to, one player that pitched both for, and against, the Yankees is Mike Mussina. Mussina reflected on his career, and discussed pitching his whole career in the AL East and looking back on it. Mussina said, “…it just was where I was working. I pitched in Baltimore and I loved pitching there and I chose to pitch in New York and I loved pitching there. So, It’s just the way it was. I faced the Red Sox a lot every year and when I was in Baltimore, I faced a really good Yankee team a lot every year. If I could count how many games I pitched in those three stadiums, at least I did well there. I’m proud of what I was able to do.”
Mussina started off the ceremony by making his speech first, and his closer for eight seasons, Rivera, closed the ceremony with his speech. On Saturday, Mussina discussed the plan for the speech order, “We thought it was appropriate, when they did it that way, that I would go first and he would go last. We’re basically talking about starters [Mussina and Halladay], DHs, and closers, that’s what we have going this year. He wanted to trade, but he wanted to see if I would be willing to trade him. I said ‘no, I’m going first.” We’re able to go back and forth like that. We always have. Even when you haven’t seen somebody for years…it works somehow. We pitched for the same team for eight years. We spent a lot of time in the same outfield, shagging fly balls or just talking about baseball. We have a really good relationship.”
During the ceremony Sunday, Mussina’s speech reflected on his childhood, telling a story of his first Little League practice. He rode his bike to the field, and, “arrived so early there was no one else there. I did not even get off my bike. I turned around and rode back home. As I pulled into our yard, my mom looked at me and asked the obvious question, ‘What are you doing here?’ My response was, ‘Obviously there isn’t anybody there,’ ‘Well get back on your bike and go back to the field,’ Luckily I did.”
Mussina also discussed the transition of when he left Baltimore to sign with the Yankees, and mentioning that he initially had no desire to play in New York, describing himself as a “small-town guy” and thinking New York was “just too much for me.” However, when former Yankee manager Joe Torre called him and expressed that the Yankees were interested in making him a Yankee, Mussina made the decision to go to New York and sign with the Yankees.
Mussina later went on to thank his mother, along with the rest of his family, including his father, brother, wife, and children. He also thanked his fellow inductees, both the Orioles and Yankees, his teammates and coaches, his agents, trainers, and “all the fans for supporting this great game.”
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