Orioles announce plans for Mussina to throw out first pitch

Mike Mussina is coming back to Baltimore before heading to Cooperstown, N.Y.

The Orioles announced today that Mussina will throw out the ceremonial first pitch before their June 30 game against the Indians at Camden Yards.

Mussina spent the first 10 seasons of his 18-year career with the Orioles after they selected him in the first round of the 1990 draft out of Stanford University. He currently owns the best all-time winning percentage by a qualifying pitcher in franchise history with a minimum of 140 decisions at .645.

He also ranks among the all-time leaders in strikeouts (second with 1,535), wins (third with 147), ERA (fifth at 3.53), starts (fifth with 288), innings pitched (sixth with 2009 2/3), shutouts (eighth with 15) and complete games (10th with 45).

Mussina Throws Camden Yards.jpgAll five of Mussina’s All-Star Game selections came during his time with the Orioles. He won seven Gold Gloves, the first four with the Orioles. He finished in the top six in Cy Young Award voting on nine occasions, including seven with the Orioles.

Mussina’s list of team accomplishments included three one-hitters and two games when he struck out 15 batters. He went 2-1 with a 2.53 ERA in six postseason starts over 42 2/3 innings.

The parting was bitter, with Mussina accepting a six-year, $88.5 million offer from the Yankees in 2000. The Orioles’ highest offer was a reported $78 million over six years, with $12 million deferred without interest.

“I loved playing in Baltimore, but sometimes you need to make a change,” Mussina said after signing his contract. “It seemed like (the Yankees) cared more.”

A frosty relationship slowly began to thaw over the years. The crowd greeted him warmly upon his induction into the team’s Hall of Fame in August 2012, including the familiar “Moose” calls that accompanied his starts.

Mussina will be inducted into the National Baseball Hall of Fame on July 21, joining former Orioles Harold Baines and Lee Smith, along with Edgar Martinez, Mariano Rivera and the late Roy Halladay.

Mussina was elected in his sixth year of eligibility. He appeared on 326 of 425 ballots to earn 76.7 percent of vote, slightly more than the 75 percent threshold for induction.

“When you start doing this for a living, you don’t ever think you’ll be talking about the Hall of Fame,” Mussina said. “I’m honored and thankful and blessed that a kid from the country got a chance to go out, play a game and accomplish something like this.”

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