I have made no secret of the fact that I have never been much of a fan of Mike Mussina - until this year, that is. I found his personality a little offputting, and I didn't appreciate his sighing demeanor in postgame interviews, or the way he seemed to criticize his teammates.
But this year, other than that bad pitch to Manny Ramirez, I really enjoyed watching this season of the Moose. And it wasn't just the fact that he had his best year ever. It was that Moose finally seemed to let loose with his personality, and seemed to be more personable than ever before. He was downright likeable, and him winning 20 games proved to be one of the few highlights of this dismal season.
Maybe his friendliness - and his ability to let loose - had to do with him planning on retiring all along. As he told the media yesterday:
"I lied to all of you. I knew that  was going to be my last year from the first day of spring training," Mussina said during Thursday’s conference call to officially announce his retirement. "I didn’t want to make it part of the season. I just wanted it to be baseball season … and just enjoy it."
I'm glad he "lied," if you can call it even that. Better that than the endless "retirement" tour, a la Roger Clemens circa 2003.
Should Moose be in the Hall of Fame? I would say yes, but he shouldn't be a first-year pick.
The Baltimore Sun asks whether if Mussina gets into the HOF, should he be an Oriole or a Yankee. I would say Yankee, not just for him winning 20 games as a Yank, but because of the playoff games and the near-perfect game.
But even if Moose does get into the Hall and as a Bomber, I don't think the Yanks should retire his number. Inconsistent, I know, but given how many Yankee numbers are already retired, I just don't think Mussina merits it.
Coming soon - my thoughts on Prince Hal. But in the meantime, tell us what you think about Mike Mussina.