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KEVIN BREWER: Mike Mussina was among the top five starters in the American League seven times — 1992, 1995, 1997, 1999-2001 and 2003. He was among the top 10 in one more season (2006). This does not include 1994, which was hardly a season because it was not finished. He was the second best pitcher in the league.

The 1994 and 1995 seasons will hurt Mussina’s Hall of Fame candidacy. Both were strike-shortened seasons and two of his best. In 1994, he was 16-5 with a 3.05 ERA in a 112-game season. In 1995, he was 19-9 with a 3.29 ERA in a 144-game season. He would have won 20 games both seasons. Instead, he has no 20-win seasons.

But Mussina is better than other very good pitchers of his era — Curt Schilling, Kevin Brown, David Wells. Despite the strike-shortened seasons and three sub-par years with the New York Yankees, Mussina is a Hall of Famer.