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Little League, college hold ‘Send-Off to Cooperstown’ for Mussina


Little League International and Pennsylvania College of Technology sponsored a lively “Send-Off to Cooperstown” event Tuesday night for Montoursville’s own Mike Mussina, who will take his place among the ranks of baseball immortals next month.

Mussina, who will be inducted into the National Baseball Hall of Fame on July 21 for a stellar 18-year pitching career with the Baltimore Orioles and New York Yankees, was honored in a 90-minute session at the Thompson Professional Development Center on the Penn College campus.

Little League International Board Chair Hugh E. Tanner (right) joins artist Fred Gilmour (left) and Mussina alongside a composite painting.
Little League International Board Chair Hugh E. Tanner (right) joins artist Fred Gilmour (left) and Mussina alongside a composite painting.

The event featured comments from Little League International President and CEO Steve Keener, Penn College President Davie Jane Gilmour (who noted Mussina, a fellow Little League International Board member, showed her how to properly autograph a baseball) and Penn College Board Chairman Sen. Gene Yaw.

Video tributes came from a host of dignitaries and those who played pivotal roles in Mussina’s development into a 270-game winner and five-time American League All-Star.

Yaw (right) presents Mussina with a state Senate proclamation.
Yaw (right) presents Mussina with a state Senate proclamation.

Yaw presented Mussina with a Pennsylvania Senate congratulatory proclamation signed by all 50 senators. Penn College faculty emeritus and local artist Fred Gilmour presented Mussina with a composite artwork tracing his path from Little League, to Montoursville Area High School, to Stanford University to the Major Leagues. Smaller versions of the work were presented to Mussina’s family.

The imminent Hall of Famer talks with (from left) President Gilmour, Keener and Yaw.
The imminent Hall of Famer talks with (from left) President Gilmour, Keener and Yaw.

Among those providing video tributes were Baseball Commissioner Rob Manfred; National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum President Jeff Idelson; Mussina’s manager with the Yankees, Hall of Famer Joe Torre, who now serves as Major League Baseball’s chief baseball officer; his former Yankees teammate and current Yankees manager, Aaron Boone; and the man who caught Mussina’s Major League debut (a 1-0 loss to the Chicago White Sox with the Orioles in 1991), current Oakland A’s manager Bob Melvin.

Keener (left) conducts a Q&A with an ordinarily reticent all-star.
Keener (left) conducts a Q&A with an ordinarily reticent all-star.

Closing out the evening, Keener, noting Mussina’s well-known aversion to speechmaking and to being thrust into the spotlight, sat with him for a wide-ranging question-and-answer session in which the seven-time Gold Glove winner talked about his path to Cooperstown and those who supported and challenged him to excel along the way.

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