Former Orioles and New York Yankees ace Mike Mussina, who was elected to the Baseball Hall of Fame this week as part of its 2019 class, will go in without either team’s logo on his cap when his plaque is enshrined in Cooperstown, N.Y., this summer.
Mussina, who was elected Tuesday alongside Mariano Rivera, Edgar Martínez and Roy Halladay, will be one of two players in this year’s class without a logo. Halladay, who died in 2017 in a plane crash, played for the Toronto Blue Jays and the Philadelphia Phillies (and the decision to go in without a logo was made by his family), while Rivera and Martínez will represent the only club each played for — the Yankees and Seattle Mariners, respectively.
“Both the Yankees and the Orioles were instrumental in my reaching Cooperstown,” Mussina said in a statement. “I am proud to have played for these great organizations, in front of the tremendous fans in Baltimore and New York, and I am honored to have the opportunity to represent them both in the Hall of Fame.”
Drafted in the first round by the Orioles in 1990, Mussina made his major league debut in 1991 and pitched 10 seasons with the Orioles, compiling a 147-81 record with a 3.53 ERA, five All-Star appearances and four Gold Gloves before signing as a free agent with the Yankees.
In New York, Mussina went 123-72 with a 3.88 ERA in eight seasons. When asked at his Hall of Fame news conference for the standout moment in his career, however, Mussina gave two that came in a Yankees uniform: his three-inning relief appearance in Game 7 of the 2003 American League Championship Series to help them come back to beat the Boston Red Sox, and the final start of his career in 2008 when he reached the 20-win mark for the first time.
Whenever he was asked during the process, however, Mussina said he simply couldn’t decide between the two franchises for a decision like this. The Hall of Fame makes the ultimate decision in consultation with the player.
“I almost split my career down the middle with two organizations,” Mussina said in New York at the news conference Wednesday. “I told you yesterday, right now I couldn't sit here and choose one over the other. They're both instrumental to me sitting here.”
Two other former Orioles — Harold Baines and Lee Smith — will go in representing the Chicago White Sox and Chicago Cubs, respectively. Each was selected by the Today’s Game Era Committee in December.
The Hall of Fame’s decision on Mussina leaves six Orioles representatives in Cooperstown: Earl Weaver, Brooks Robinson, Frank Robinson, Jim Palmer, Cal Ripken Jr. and Eddie Murray. Mussina is the 17th Hall of Fame player to have played for the Orioles.
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Most recently, pitcher Greg Maddux went into the Hall of Fame in 2014 without a logo on his cap, having split his career primarily between the Cubs and Atlanta Braves.