Looking ahead to the 2014 Hall of Fame controversy

Now that most of the smoke has cleared from yesterday’s Hall of Fame voting - if not the stench from the steroid scandal - we can look ahead to the 2014 ballot and the inclusion of a former Orioles pitcher who was inducted into their Hall of Fame over the summer.

Yes, Mike Mussina will be eligible for induction in Cooperstown.

Put your bitterness aside and tell me whether he’s deserving based on his numbers.

Mussina was 270-153 with a 3.68 ERA in 537 games. He struck out 2,813 batters in 3,562 2/3 innings over his 18 seasons. He was a five-time All-Star. He finished in the top six in Cy Young voting nine times, placing second in 1999. He won seven Gold Gloves.

Mussina’s critics will point to how he never won the Cy Young. How he won 20 games only once, in his final season. How he never won a World Series.

His candidacy has been debated for years, long before he retired. It’s going to heat up again.

Mussina was clean, but is he a Hall of Famer?

Other first-timers on the 2014 ballot will include Greg Maddux, Tom Glavine, Frank Thomas and Jeff Kent. Each one deserves serious consideration. Maddux, at least, deserves induction on the first ballot. That’s got to be automatic.

As for other potential first-times, baseball-reference.com lists Luis Gonazalez, Kenny Rogers, Moises Alou, Ray Durham, Shannon Stewart, Jon Lieber, Esteban Loaiza, Hideo Nomo, Keith Foulke, Geoff Jenkins, Matt Morris, Jose Vidro, Paul Lo Duca, Richie Sexson, Sean Casey, Eric Gagne, Dmitri Young, Shawn Estes, Todd Jones, J.T. Snow, Joe Borowski and former Orioles closers Armando Benitez and Mike Timlin.

Hey, if Aaron Sele can get a vote, anything is possible.

Shameless plug alert: I’m joining Jim Hunter on “Hot Stove Baseball” tonight from 6-7 p.m. on WBAL Radio. The show usually airs on Saturdays, but the Ravens’ playoff game has forced a change in the schedule.

Right fielder Nick Markakis will call into the show.

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