LL Graduate/Board Member Mike Mussina Announces Retirement from Major League Baseball
Mike Mussina, a Little League graduate and member of the Little League International Board of Directors – one of the most respected figures in Major League Baseball over the past two decades – announced his retirement today.
“On behalf of the International Board of Directors, I want to first congratulate Mike on an outstanding career not only as a great pitcher, but as a great role model to Little Leaguers everywhere,” Dennis Lewin, Chairman of the Little League International Board of Directors, said. “The Yankees’ loss is Little League’s gain, since Mike will be more available to contribute towards our success than ever. We look forward to Mike’s continued service to Little League, and we wish him well in his retirement.”
Mr. Mussina grew up in Montoursville, Pa., just a few miles from Little League International. He played in the Montoursville Little League and went on to star at Stanford University, where he graduated in three years before embarking on his professional baseball career. His parents were named Little League Parents of the Year in 1996 during the 50th Little League Baseball World Series.
Mr. Mussina established himself as one of the most dominant and steady pitchers in Major League Baseball history. Playing for the Baltimore Orioles and New York Yankees, he pitched 18 years in the big leagues, with 270 wins (tied for 33rd all-time) and only 153 losses, 2,813 strikeouts (19th all-time), a 3.68 earned-run average, and five All-Star assignments. His first 20-win season came in 2008.
During a telephone news conference today from his home in Montoursville, Mr. Mussina said he actually made the decision last spring that this would be his last season, regardless of how it turned out.
“I have young children and … I’ve been away a long time,” Mr. Mussina said. “I just want to be involved more. I’m certainly not getting younger, they’re not getting younger and you can’t get that time back. It’s just the right time for me.
“I’m assuming I’m going to be pretty busy come baseball season around here,” he said of his hometown. “Both of my boys (ages 10 and 5-1/2) are old enough to play now. I’m going to make a guess that from April through the beginning of June, I’m going to be at the ballpark probably five or six days a week.”
He is the first pitcher to voluntarily retire after winning 20 games in a season. Hall of Famer Sandy Koufax retired after winning 20 games in 1966, due to an injury.
“Mike told me once while visiting my office that he’s probably pitched a thousand games since he started in Little League,” Stephen D. Keener, President and Chief Executive Officer of Little League Baseball and Softball, said. “And he’s had some memorable games and seasons, and attained some nice personal milestones. But he’ll always remember pitching at the home of the Little League World Series, Lamade Stadium, when Montoursville Little League played a regular season game there.”
In 2001, Mr. Mussina became the first Major League player elected as a member of the Little League International Board of Directors. The volunteer Board is responsible for management of the property and affairs of Little League Baseball and Softball, the world’s largest organized youth sports program.
A lifelong resident of Montoursville, Mr. Mussina has also supported various local charities, and has helped coach Montoursville High School sports teams.
“Mike also was instrumental in helping us to develop the pitch count regulation, which is designed to help young pitchers avoid arm problems that can lead to severe injuries and surgery,” Mr. Keener said. “I look forward to working more with Mike to further strengthen Little League. I know how important his family is to him, and we’re glad that Mike will now have the time he’s always wanted to spend with them.”
(Mr. Mussina’s comments regarding the Little League Pitch Count Program can be seen and heard here: http://www.littleleague.org/Learn_More/rules/mussina.htm)