Mussina also has a reputation for not being clutch in big games, primarily because the Yankees haven't won a World Series since he joined the team. But check his postseason performance with other top hurlers of his generation:

POSTSEASON ACES
Pitcher GS W-L IP H BB SO ERA
Schilling 15 8-2 109 79 22 104 2.06
Smoltz 26 14-4 199 161 66 189 2.70
Johnson 14 7-8 108 86 29 124 3.08
Mussina 18 6-6 119 98 28 130 3.16
Wells 15 10-3 113 102 25 79 3.18
Maddux 29 11-14 190 184 48 122 3.22
Martinez 11 6-2 79 63 26 80 3.40
Clemens 30 10-7 180 152 63 164 3.54
Glavine 32 12-15 201 176 80 137 3.58
Pettitte 30 13-8 186 201 52 118 4.05
Brown 13 5-5 81 76 31 71 4.30


Among those games: beating the Big Unit twice in the 1997 ALDS, allowing one run and striking out 25 in two starts in the '97 ALCS (but getting no wins), a 1-0 victory in Game 3 -- the "Jeter Flip Game" -- of the 2001 ALDS (Yankees trailed 2-0 in the series), and three scoreless innings of relief as the Yankees rallied to win Game 7 of the 2003 ALCS.

So he has pitched well when it matters. And as for the lack of 20-win seasons? Isn't 20 just an arbitrary number anyway? In the 1970s, there were 91 different 20-wins seasons; from 1992 to 2004, there were just 49. If voters are going to discount hitting performances in the Steroid Era, don't they have to adjust pitching performances as well? Mussina won't win 300, but he might win 260.

Still, I think he'll draw a short straw in the final vote. Although maybe when Ripken and Derek Jeter get on the Veterans Committee, the Moose will get in.

Speaking of which …

8. Derek Jeter
He's nowhere near as great as Tim McCarver thinks he is, and nowhere near as overrated as Yankee-haters want you to believe. But he's a clear Hall of Famer, on his way to 3,000 hits and 2,000 runs scored, and you know, he plays the game the right way.

9. Alex Rodriguez
Baseball loves its history. Consider the Top 10 pantheon immortals: Ruth, Bonds, Mays, Aaron, Williams, Cobb, Musial, Gehrig, DiMaggio and Mantle. Bonds is the only player from the last 30 years to crack the list. Does A-Rod add his name? I'm not 100 percent sure that will happen.

10. Albert Pujols
I do predict, however, that Pujols will crack it.

11. Vladimir Guerrero
Vlad already has Hall of Fame-caliber nicknames -- Vlad the Impaler, Vladdy Daddy -- and will eventually have Hall of Fame-caliber numbers, assuming he doesn't permanently ruin his back carrying Darin Erstad and Steve Finley into the postseason this year.

12. Miguel Cabrera
Yes, it's completely ridiculous to project somebody who has just two years in the big leagues as a Hall of Famer, but that's the fun part of this exercise. Next to Pujols in the 25-and-younger set, Cabrera has clearly established the most high-end potential. Of course, in 1975, that list would have included Jeff Burroughs and Claudell Washington.

Continued...


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