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His best outing came in 2001 at Boston, when he came within one strike of a perfect game before Carl Everett singled. Mussina's proudest moment came in Game 7 of the 2003 ALCS, when he made the first relief appearance of his career and threw three scoreless innings against the Red Sox.
"My numbers match up well with guys who are in the Hall of the Fame," he said, adding other pitchers have won more games and been left out.
Said Yankees captain Derek Jeter: "Moose's accomplishments in the game over the last 18 years represent a Hall of Fame player."
Mussina said he couldn't envision himself working in baseball in the foreseeable future, though he was open to someday helping out young pitchers.
Money isn't an issue. He left Baltimore to sign an $88.5 million, six-year contract as a free agent with the Yankees before the 2001 season and finished with a $23 million, two-year deal.
Mussina graduated early from Stanford with an economics degree -- he won the College World Series with the Cardinal -- and came to the Yankees with a reputation as an ace pitcher with a prickly personality. He softened over the years, and by the end became a chatty clubhouse spokesman who kept reporters chuckling with his witty observations and thoughtful answers.
Mussina frequently sat in front of his locker doing crossword puzzles. In fact, he appeared in the 2006 documentary "Wordplay" and kept a thesaurus in his stall for knotty problems.
No words, however, could change his mind on calling it a career. Mussina said he decided last January that he had one more season.
"Good or bad, this is going to be the last year," he told himself. "That's just how I felt."
Mussina said most of his teammates knew his plans. More relaxed, he called it a fun year.
Now, he said, it was time to stay home. Spring training would have to come and go.
"I think February is going to be a little strange," he said. "It'll be different. It'll be weird."
Copyright 2008 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.
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