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Silver Anniversary Award winner: Mike Mussina

The lessons the pitcher learned at Stanford set him up for greater success in professional baseball

If Mike Mussina could do it all over again, he would do it the same way.

“I owe so much of what I accomplished in my professional career to the people who helped me grow at Stanford – my coaches and my teammates,” said Mussina, a five-time all-star pitcher who recorded 270 wins over an 18-year career with the Baltimore Orioles and the New York Yankees.

Mussina, a three-sport high school athlete, was drafted by the Baltimore Orioles out of high school, but he chose to defer signing and instead accepted a baseball scholarship to Stanford.

“You could throw one pitch and your career could be over,” Mussina explained. “I knew there was a better than average chance of needing another career once my playing days were over.”

At Stanford, Mussina’s education wasn’t purely academic. Living 2,800 miles from his Pennsylvania home forced him to mature. And while being a student-athlete typically entails a bigger workload, his team also provided him an immediate support system as he struggled to acclimate to a new environment.

“We were from all over the country,” Mussina said.  “We could teach each other a lot because of where we came from.”

Like many former student-athletes, Mussina admits it took some time away from Stanford, where he earned a degree in economics in three years, to realize all that he had gained from his college experience and how those years changed him.

“Those three years at Stanford helped me develop in ways I never could have had I gone straight into the minor leagues,” Mussina said. 

What he values most, though, of his days at Stanford besides winning the national championship his freshman year are the relationships he established. For one, he still speaks with his former coach, Mark Marquess, several times a year.

“I could list 25 or more people who impacted me [from] my days at Stanford,” Mussina said. “You don’t run into people like that very often.”