New Orioles Hall of Famer Mike Mussina said he understood that some Baltimore fans were mad at him when he signed with the Yankees. But he said time heals some of that and he was pleased with the reception he got tonight as he entered the Orioles’ Hall.
“I think time settles things down,” Mussina said. “I think it was a nice reception today. I think the people were glad to see me come back. It was nice to be on the field again. It was a nice reception and I think right now most people are OK with it.
“It’s nice to be thought of in the same breath with Cal (Ripken) and Eddie (Murray) and (Jim) Palmer. I’m proud and honored that people felt I deserved to be with them and what I did here for 10 years was worthy of being remembered. I’m glad to be back. It’s my first trip to Baltimore since I retired.”
In his 10 seasons with the Orioles, Mussina compiled 147 wins and a 3.53 ERA, pitching more than 200 innings seven times. He said there were a lot of special memories from those days.
“I got to be involved with this team going back to the playoffs,” he said. “I got to see Cal with 2,131. I got to see him get 3,000 hits. Got to see Eddie Murray hit his 500th home run. All of it is great, but it’s about the guys I got to play with. To see Brady (Anderson) again, to see (Chris) Hoiles again makes you feel young again for a little while. This whole experience was great.”
Mussina was asked about the chance to make the National Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown.
“I can’t say that I haven’t thought about it. Have I done well enough to be considered? Yeah, I’ve done well enough to be considered, but that doesn’t mean I will make it,” he said. “We’ll have to see. I did the best I could to make them think about. As long as I’m in the conversation, that is all I can do. There are a lot of other good guys going up when it’s time for my first ballot. It could be a while, it could be never.”
Former O’s second baseman Rich Dauer also was inducted to the Orioles Hall of Fame tonight during a pre-game, on-field ceremony.
“I grew up an Oriole and the organization has meant so much to me for so many years,” Dauer said. “I follow them all the time. My family was here. My wife and I had two children here. We have a lot of friends here and this is really special.”
Dauer spent all 10 seasons in the majors with the Orioles and accumulated a .985 career fielding percentage. He was a part of the World Series championship team in 1983.
He said he is glad to see the current Orioles winning and with a shot at the playoffs.
“Absolutely,” he said. “They have finally got some talent and they’ve kept it here. It also looks like they’ve got more organization and Buck (Showalter) does a great job. They’ve won 22 one-run games and the character of your team is always built on winning the close games. Winning those kind of games will help you in September, when baseball really gets fun. We always felt if we were within five games of the division lead, that you could start printing those playoff tickets.”
Also tonight, Walter Youse went into the O’s Hall as the Herb Armstrong Award recipient, given to non-uniformed personnel for distinguished service to the Orioles and the game of baseball.
Youse played a pivotal role in Baltimore baseball as an amateur coach before becoming a full-time scout with the Orioles in 1959. He passed away on April 15, 2002 at the age of 88.