Mike Mussina started his Hall of Fame speech by saying "What in the world am I doing here?" and "How did it happen?" Over the next 12 minutes, Mussina, pretty much like he pitched, eloquently and efficiently described everything, from his boyhood days playing wiffle ball in Montoursville to his final game with the New York Yankees, getting his 20th win in 2008.
"I told my story," Mussina said of his speech. "I just kind of wanted to walk through my career without taking 18 years to walk through it again. So, that's what I did and tried to the important parts of the story."
Mussina's strong roots in his hometown was evident in that speech.
"(My) baseball journey began in the backyards of our neighborhood back in my hometown of Montoursville, Pennsylvania," Mussina said as part of his induction speech. "Montoursville is located right next to Williamsport, the home of little league baseball and both are connected to Cooperstown by about a 200 mile stretch of the Susquehanna river and as it turned out, my minor league debut was in Williamsport. Just 14 months after they drafted me, the Orioles took a shot and I was called up to Baltimore with about two months left in the 1991 season. Since I received the incredible and surprising news of my election to the Hall of Fame back in January, I spent a lot of time reflecting on my journey to Cooperstown. How did a kid from a small town in rural PA play enough wiffle ball to make it to the major leagues and pitch there for 18 years?"
Mussina still lives in Montoursville. He is the Head Boys Basketball Coach at Montoursville High School and is an assistant coach on the baseball team.
"It's great for our entire community," Montoursville Baseball coach Jeremy Eck said. "Mike's a hometown guy who grew up and played little league in the community, high school ball. For him to be able to do this, it's kind of like the icing on the cake for his career. There's really no other place to go. So, the hall is the end game for Mike and it's the best place you can be."
At the end of his Hall of Fame speech, Mussina mentioned a couple of things he didn't achieve -- a World Series championship, 300 wins, or a Cy Young -- and yet at the end, he said "This time, I made it."
He certainly did.