“I was brought into situations God couldn’t get out of, and I got out of them.”
Rich “Goose” Gossage
Rich Gossage pitched in the Major Leagues with nine teams over 22.years. Gossage appeared in 1,002 games and led the American League in saves on three occasions. Not only did Gossage save 310 games, but he also compiled 124 wins. Gossage was a nine-time All-Star, who in a seven year period (1977-1983), never had an ERA above 2.62. Rich Gossage was inducted into Baseball’s Hall of Fame in 2008.
The “Goose” was a great pitcher, a tough guy, and a fierce competitor! Gossage is quite outspoken about the way baseball has changed over the years. He makes a valid point about his opposition to players who used steroids getting into the Hall of Fame. Gossage also is correct when he points out that it now takes two or three pitchers to get the same number of outs that Gossage got when he was a “closer.” Gossage frequently came into games in the 7th and 8th innings when there were two or three men on base. 125 of Gossage’s saves required six or more outs. The game has changed with “set up” men pitching and quite often dominating the 7th and 8th innings. Closers usually only pitch one inning these days. Gossage and his fellow Hall of Fame relief pitchers Bruce Sutter and Rollie Fingers were masters of the difficult multi inning saves. Mariano Rivera, Dennis Eckersley and others also were great with one-inning saves.
Gossage is “old school”. He is a tough guy, and when I share this next story, you will understand why I feel that he is a really good man. When Gossage joined the New York Yankees in 1978, his manager, Billy Martin, told him to hit Texas Rangers outfielder Billy Sample in the head, with a pitched ball. Many pitchers will not disobey a manager’s orders, especially when that pitcher has just joined the team. Gossage realized he could seriously hurt Billy Sample and told Billy Martin that he would not hit him with a pitched ball. Gossage realized it would adversely affect his relationship with Billy Martin, but in the end Gossage did the right thing and showed he was a man of principle.