Via Ed Price -
It has been 105 years since a pitcher won 19 or more games and voluntarily retired healthy.
Mike Mussina seems to be considering it.
Mussina on Sunday will attempt to become a 20-game winner for the first time in his career, starting for the Yankees in the first game of a season-ending, day-night doubleheader against the Boston Red Sox.
“It’s a significant number,” he said, “but after playing this long and winning all these games, if I don’t win (today), then has it been bad, has it been lousy, has it been unsuccessful? No.
“It’d be a lot of fun to win it.”
Mussina, who turns 40 on Dec. 8, must then decide if he wants to keep playing, and he sounds torn. Earlier this year, he told at least one confidante that this would be his final season.
He said yesterday the Yankees are his first choice, but his decision will rest on his family’s concerns and whether he feels he can play three more seasons.
“If I’m in for one, I’m in for three,” Mussina said.
His reasoning: He could retire with 269 or 270 career wins. But if he gets significantly closer to the 300-win milestone, it would be difficult to stop without pursuing that.
But Mussina also likes his quiet life in Montoursville, Pa., with his wife and three children.
“They’re probably leaning toward me going home,” he said. “My wife would have liked me to retire about five years ago. But ultimately, it’s still up to me.”
If Moose wins tomorrow, that would leave him 30 wins short of 300 career victories. Can he get those 30 wins? Maybe…but, Mussina is right – it would probably take three more years to get it.
Can Mike pitch until he’s 42-years old? Hey, Greg Maddux, Don Sutton and Danny Darwin did it. So, why can’t Mussina?
However, I see Moose’s point…from the family angle…and, really, what’s better for him in terms of getting into Cooperstown: Going out with 270 wins and having his last season be a 20-win season; or, having 300 wins and maybe having two seasons at the end of his career where it looked like he was just hanging on to get to 300? The former just may be more impressive, and a better exit, than the latter…