Just heard this maybe a half hour or so ago on SportsCenter: Mike Mussina is retiring, apparently. Tim Kurkjian is discussing whether The Moose is Hall of Fame material:
“He is to me. More so than the 100+ above .500 (Note from EE: Part of the lead-in to the question of “Is he a Hall-of-Famer?” was the fact that his career record is 100+ games above .500. 20 other pitchers have that statistic; the 16 that are eligible for the Hall are all in [The other 4 are either still active or not retired long enough to be eligible]), is his winning percentage. He has a .638 winning percentage; the average during his time in the league is .501!”
I’ll let those of you who follow baseball point and laugh at Mr. Kurkjian.
For those of you who may not be in on the joke, I’ll explain. In every game (We’ll forget the 2002 All-Star Game debacle for purposes of this discussion), a team wins, and a team loses. Also in each game, there is a winning pitcher, and thusly, there is also a losing pitcher. In short, of course the league average winning percentage is going to be very close to .500 (I have no idea how it isn’t .500 on the nose, actually. My guess is that you have the occasional situation where some poor reliever gets tagged with the loss for whatever reason)–there will be an equal number of wins and losses in a season (And pitchers with said wins and losses)–making it an entirely useless statistic to compare Mussina’s winning percentage to in terms of Hall of Fame consideration.