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Ben and Sam talk to Jay Jaffe about the 2014 Hall of Fame voting results, election-season mud-slinging, the 2015 ballot, and more.

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Which players came close to milestones but bowed out before reaching them?

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November 24, 2008 1:50 pm

Prospectus Today: Moose Tracks


Joe Sheehan

An early retirement leads to questions about performance levels and an instructive comparison to Jack Morris.

It was something of a surprise that Mike Mussina retired last week. Mussina, famously coming off of the first 20-win season of his career, seemed to have a lot of innings left in his arm. He was one of the ten best starters in the AL last season, and had established a new approach to his craft that could have allowed him to be an effective pitcher with a diminished fastball. ESPN's Keith Law had him at 29th on his free-agent list, which would seem to have portended an eight-figure salary for two seasons, at least.

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Derek has a rundown of a Game You May Have Heard About.

So the question is, why are we back with these two teams? They came into this weekend series a game and a half apart in the standings atop the AL East. So far, the Yankees have taken the first three games-sweeping a Friday doubleheader that featured an afternoon blowout and the longest nine-inning game in major league history in the nightcap, then blasting past the Sox in the late innings of Saturday's game. With two games left in the series, the Red Sox have the opportunity to salvage the series, or to watch a prime chance slip through their fingers. With the level of competition we are seeing in the AL Central, the loser of this division race is anything but guaranteed a playoff spot via the wild card.

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I tried to get inside Roger Clemens' head before his last final start, which turned out to be a mistake. I won't do that this time; I have no idea how this being his current final start will affect him. None. I do know that, this being Game Four, it is his final final start. There can't be a next final start unless.you know, I don't even want to imagine what kind of scenarios Bud Selig and Jeffrey Loria might concoct to bring us a Game Eight. I do know that he was up in the zone in his Division Series outing against the Red Sox, which was his seventh or eighth "final start" after his final regular-season start, his final start at Fenway Park (which was only his next to final start at Fenway Park), his final start in the All-Star Game, his final start at Yankee Stadium (also just his next-to-final), his final start in a foreign country, his final start in front of a record-low crowd and his final start with nasty heartburn. This matchup isn't as bad for the Marlins as Mike Mussina was. Clemens works up and down with the splitter and fastball, and has shown a fairly persistent reverse platoon split since joining the Yankees. With a bunch of right-handed hitters who can drive a good fastball but who will chase once they fall behind in the count, Clemens' success will again come down to getting ahead in the count and avoiding leaving his fastball up in the zone. There's not a lot of middle ground here; look for a 3.2-7-6-6-4-2 line, or a 7-4-1-1-2-10 one.

Mention his name in some quarters, however, and be prepared for a torrent of abuse. Mussina has seen his reputation sullied by the vagaries of the support he's received, particularly in the postseason. After last night, his career postseason ERA is 3.06 in 15 starts and one relief appearance, but he has just five postseason wins. In some circles, that's enough to diminish what has been a great career.

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As pitchers and catchers report to sunny climes this week--soon to be joined by hitters, beer vendors, and spring breakers--much will be made of the battle for the five slots in the New York Yankees' starting rotation.

As pitchers and catchers report to sunny climes this week--soon to be joined by hitters, beer vendors, and spring breakers--much will be made of the battle for the five slots in the New York Yankees' starting rotation.

The Yankees, you see, have seven handsomely--paid starters--what hubris!--any of whom could start on opening day for the Newark Bears or the Rancho Cucamonga Quakes, or if you give them a mulligan on Sterling Hitchcock, about half the teams in the major leagues. It is the greatest waste of talent, so it would seem, since Ocean's Eleven.

Here is our cast of seven, in most probable order of appearance:

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ANAHEIM ANGELS Placed RHP Al Levine on the 15-day DL (shoulder tendinitis), retroactive to 6/27; recalled RHP John Lackey from Salt Lake. [6/28] I don't disagree with the idea of bringing up John Lackey to move into the rotation. Lackey is the organization's best upper-level prospect, and he's obviously ready to go.

Recalled RHP Matt Wise from Salt Lake; optioned RHP John Lackey to Salt Lake. [6/25]

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The Internet has spoken. Your choices for this year's Internet Baseball Awards.

It's time to announce the winners of the tenth annual Internet Baseball Awards. More than 2,000 cyberspace baseball fans--a new record--participated in this effort to select the baseball players whose 2001 seasons were most deserving of honors.

This year marks not only our tenth year of balloting (we started in 1991, but sat out the 1994 season in protest of baseball's rude behavior), but also our fifth year of Web balloting. A few of our readers probably remember the good old days of e-mail ballots (as we remember all the fun it was counting ballots by hand), but most of you have been treated only to the extraordinarily comprehensive user-friendly Web ballots designed by BP's Webmaster, Dave Pease. Our thanks go to Dave, who puts in a ton of work to make this process go smoothly.

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November 7, 2001 12:00 am

Staff Ballots


Baseball Prospectus

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The full results of the voting are in.

Welcome to the festivities!

We're here to announce the winners of the 8th Annual Internet Baseball Awards. Over 700 knowledgeable cyberspace baseball fans - a new record - participated in this effort to select the baseball players whose 1999 seasons were most deserving of honors.

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