Mike Mussina pitched the first major league game that I ever went to. It was early in September 2001, at Fenway, and he came within one strike of throwing a perfect game (I’ll stop myself right there, before I get upset again). It was after that that I learned that his nickname was “Mr. Almost.”
Ever since then, he’s been my favorite pitcher who is not named Mariano Rivera on the Yankees. Not only was he talented, but he gave some of the most dryly funny interviews that I’ve ever heard from a ballplayer. And he further endeared himself to me with his amazingly clutch relief performance in 2003 (especially significant when coming from a player with a bit of a reputation for being a hothouse flower).
So I extend my heartiest congratulations to Moose for becoming the oldest player (at 39) to win 20 games in a season for the first time. He gave us fans something to root for in a season where there wasn’t a lot to be happy about, and kept us on the edge of our seats. J and I had the privilege of getting to watch one of those 20 wins in person on July 5th (although J might argue whether it was a privilege or not), and it was a pleasure (for me) to watch him shut down the Sox. I can understand why he’d want to retire after this season, after a long career, but the fan in me wants to get to make the Moose call for a couple more years. 20 wins is a huge accomplishment, and I’m so glad that Moose finally reached that goal.