Tuesday, January 8, 2008
Couldn't let the day pass without acknowledging Goose Gossage's induction into baseball's Hall of Fame. Here's what I wrote two years ago, over at Inside Pulse, as part of my elongated feature on the HOF:
"And, sometimes there's more to a superstar than statistics. In an era where closers routinely went three innings and weren't pampered, Gossage was unquestionably the most powerful and intimidating presence of them all. So, is there a reason why the writers haven't voted him in yet?
310 saves doesn't seem like much these days and Goose hurt his per season save average by spending his final five years in middle relief. He averaged less than two saves in each of those seasons, which was a far cry from his heyday. From 1977 until 1985, no one could touch this guy. Six of those seasons were spent in New York, where he topped out at 33 saves in 1980 and registered an ERA of 0.77 the following (strike-shortened) year.
C'mon, people...has the magnificence of Mariano Rivera made us forget the impact that Gossage had on the game, while pitching in pinstripes?
In 1985, while with the San Diego Padres, Gossage notched 26 saves, with an ERA of 1.82 and gave up just one home run in 79 innings. At 33, it would be his last great year, but, by that point, he had already written up enough of resume to get into The Hall. Goose played eight more seasons at half-speed and those years have obviously done him more harm than good. And, that's just wrong. Verdict: In"
You can ogle Goose's stats for yourself at the world's greatest baseball reference site.
Since Gossage's peak occurred during the infancy of both my baseball fandom and ESPN, I can't say I remember much about his glory days. He did spend a few years with my A's in 1992-93. My only memory of his tenure is chatting with m'man Smitty about an appropriate nickname for Goose and his knack for turning a 7th inning 3-2 lead into an 11-3 immolation. We settled on "Goose Gas Can".
Anyways, everyone knows that Gossage's induction was just the opening act for 2009, when Cooperstown welcomes the greatest of all time. I've already told Mrs. Bootleg that I'll be attending those ceremonies.
Who's with me?!