Orioles Card "O" the Day

An intersection of two of my passions: baseball cards and the Baltimore Orioles. Updated daily?

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Mike Mussina, 1994 Topps Stadium Club #488

This is my favorite Mike Mussina card, notable for its inexplicable and ridiculous composition. I guess Mike Mussina's got a cool, icy demeanor, but come on. What's with the three tiny ice picks near his right shoulder? The heavy-duty gloves and tongs next to his butt? Even in the midst of this goofy photo shoot, Moose plays it straight, ever the consummate professional.

I've been saving this card for a special occasion, and the news of Mike Mussina's retirement will do nicely.

Just when my animosity toward the O's greatest ex-pat started to thaw, he turned and headed home. Although he just won 20 games for the first time in his 18-year career, I expected him to retire. Actually, it's because of that great season that I anticipated this decision. Mike Mussina is a smart man, one of the brightest to play the game. Having reached 270 career wins, the temptation to hang on for 300 was surely great. But one of his finest performances came just a year after his worst - an injury-marred 11-10, 5.15 campaign. Moose was savvy enough to know that the chances for another 2007 were probably greater than the chances for another 2008. He left on his own terms, secure in his legacy. He won more games than Jim Palmer and Bob Gibson, struck out more batters than Warren Spahn or Don Drysdale. There was no need to tempt fate and risk serious injury and spend another year away from his family. Mike Mussina had the best conclusion to his career that a player can hope for, short of a World Series ring.

I don't think we'll hear from Moose much in his post-baseball life. But he'll pop up again in about five years. I believe deep down that he'll be wearing an Orioles cap on his bronze plaque, but I guess we'll just have to wait and see.


deal said...

I agree I think Mussina will stay retired and out of public life.

I have followed a lot of his career and have great memories of several of his games - definitely bums me out a little.

dinged corners said...

That is one odd photo.

Not surprised that Moose is going out with class.

Laurens said...

Never a fan of the Orioles except for the Cal Ripken Jr. bandwagon in the mid 1990s, I think Mussina symbolized the athlete whom he thought he can sign a big free agent contract and win some championships with the New York Yankees.

In a twisted way, I get satisfaction that guys like Mussina and Jason Giambi [in-particular], never really were able to have their best moments in New York, winning at least one World Series.

Mickey said...

8 years later, Mussina to me is the Orioles Ace. He was never a Yankee. He was the Orioles Ace, and the Yanks bought him. Only an idiot would've said no to their money.

Quietly one of the best of his generation.