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Goose Gossage edged over the 70% mark in the most recent Hall of Fame vote. His election in the next year or two now seems likely. Would he be a good choice?

Goose was drafted in the 9th round by the White Sox in 1970 out of the University of Southern Colorado just before his 19th birthday, and reported that summer to Rookie League. Three starts and twenty-one srikeouts in sixteen innings later, it was clear that the Sox had a good one. Goose was promoted to Appleton of the A ball Midwest League where he struggled for 10 starts. In 1971, Goose dominated the Midwest League going 18-2 with 15 complete games among 24 starts. He struck out 149 in 187 innings.

The White Sox had a good club in 1972 with Wilbur Wood throwing 376 fine innings and Dick Allen winning an MVP award, and decided to skip the rest of Gossage's pitching education. It didn't do them or Gossage any good. Gossage was used in middle relief and put up a 7-1 record, but as you might expect, was hardly the dominant pitcher that he would later become, walking 44 and striking out 57 in 80 games. The Sox finished 5 and 1/2 games behind the A's. Gossage made 4 starts for the Sox at the beginning of 1973, was battered about and then sent down to triple A Iowa twice, once in June and again in August. He made 9 pretty good starts there, posting a 3.68 ERA. He did throw well in September in Chicago, giving hope for the future, but his overall ERA for the season of 7.43 in 49.2 innings is a blight on his career record. The Sox finished 17 games out and would not contend for the rest of Gossage's time there.

In 1974, Gossage was placed in a middle relief role in the majors and threw 89 serviceable innings and struck out 64. Chicago then made the only move of Gossage that worked out, converting him to their ace in 1975. Gossage responded with 140 great innings- 130 strikeouts and a 1.84 ERA. The club finished at .500. Gossage wasn't broke, but the Sox tried to fix him by moving him to the rotation in 1976. He threw 15 complete games, but went 9-17 with a 3.94 ERA and only 135 stirekouts in 224 innings. After the 1976 season, the White Sox traded him (and Terry Forster) to the Pirates for Richie Zisk (and Silvio Martinez). Zisk actually gave the Sox a good season, including a memorable homer in a certain franchise's first ever game, but I digress. Chuck Tanner, who had managed Gossage in Chicago, knew history and returned him to the pen in 1977. He responded with another great season (133 innings, 151 strikeouts and a 1.62 ERA) The Pirates were in contention until late August when the Phils of Schmidt, Luzinski, Hebner, Carlton and McGraw pulled away.

Gossage was a free agent after 1977 and signed with the Yankees. in 1978, Gossage threw another 130 excellent ace innings and pitched very well in the post-season as the Bronx Zoo Yankees repeated as champions. From 1979-1983, Gossage remained an excellent closer for New York, but his workload was reduced to 85-100 innings per season. He moved on to San Diego as a free agent, and gave them one good season as a closer, followed by one excellent one in 1985. He turned 34 in mid-season, and his run of excellence was over. He pitched for another 8 seasons in MLB and one in Japan. Each year he threw 40-60 innings and he was essentially average with mild fluctuations each year.

Uncooked Goose- evaluating him using the career method

There are many ways to look at Goose's career. We will start with the simple starting/relief breakdown using the adjustments described in Part 1 of this series, and compare him with Hoyt Wilhelm, Dave Stieb, and Ron Guidry. Why Stieb and Guidry? Well, as it turns out they are starters with relatively short careers who pitched with about the same effectiveness as Gossage. Don't worry about Bert Blyleven, we will catch up with him later in this piece.

Pitcher IP K/9 K/9+ W/9 W/9+ HR/9 HR/9+ ERA+
Gossage-start 252.7 5.77 121
3.70 91
0.75 107
Gossage-relief 1556.7 7.75 150
3.63 91
0.57 137
Gossage-relief adj. 1556.7 6.97 135
3.99 82
0.63 123

Wilhelm-start 383.3 5.87 111 2.70 130 0.59 153 140
Wilhelm-relief 1871 6.54 123 3.18 110 0.60 150 147
Wilhelm-relief adj 1871 5.89 111 3.50 100 0.66 135 133

Stieb 2895.3 5.19 101
3.21 103
0.70 124

Guidry 2392.0 6.69 137
2.38 137
0.85 106

It's very hard to argue that Goose was a better pitcher than Wilhelm, Stieb or Guidry over their careers unless it is by virtue of having a very high leverage. With adjustments, his strikeout and walk ratios are just not that impressive, and his ERA+ is comparable to that of Stieb or Guidry in many fewer innings. And that's throwing his starting innings in the disposal bin.

Goose's uses- the question of leverage

At the beginning of his career, Goose was used in low leverage situations. His leverage indices in 1972 and 1974 , according to Baseball Prospectus, were 0.92 and 0.88. He had a vile year in 1973 described above.

In his first big season in 1975, he had a leverage index of 1.45. Shall we take a closer look at how he was used and how the season went?


Here is Goose's game log for 1975. For those who missed the seventies and wondered how a reliever might throw 140 innings, the answer is in the log. Goose threw 7 innings in a game on three occasions in 1975, each time throwing well into extra innings. One of those times, he had thrown 1.2 innings the day before. He regularly threw 3 innings plus in an appearance. He most commonly came into the game in the 7th inning, but often in the sixth or even fifth innings. He did make a number of low leverage appearances, with the team down several runs, even though he did not particularly need the work.

The White Sox finished 75-86 that season in fifth place, 22.5 games behind the A's. They were 5.5 games out on May 1, 7.5 games out on June 1, 13 games out on July 1, 14 games out on August 1, and 13.5 games out on August 15. By August 25, they were 15 games out and pretty well done. What's most interesting from the game log is that Gossage pitched very well, and in high leverage situations from August 25 to the end of the season. It would be fair to say that his "game leverage" for 2005 is generous to him in light of the low season leverage. It will not be so in all of Gossage's seasons.

In 1976, he started, and we will pass on the leverage issue until 1977. Baseball Prospectus lists his leverage as 1.97. Let's have a closer look.


Here is Gossage's game log for the season. It tells a significantly different story from 1975. There were no 7 inning appearances, but one 5 inning appearance and 3 4 inning appearances. He most often entered the game in the eighth inning, usually in a tie game or with a 1 or 2 run lead. He did not enter the game in the 5th inning all season and only three times in the sixth inning. He definitely earned his high game leverage. His club, the Pirates, were in the race most of the year trailing the division leader by 1 game on May 1, by 1.5 games on June 1, by 9 games (behind the Cubs!) on July 1, by 2.5 games on August 1, by 3.5 games behind the division champ Phils on August 15, by 5 games behind the Phils on September 1 and by 8 games on September 15. Gossage did not allow a run that season after August 26. Overall, it seems fair to acknowledge that he earned every bit of his game leverage over the season.

BP says that Goose's leverage for 1978 with the World Series champion Yankees was 1.51. Hmm.


Here's your season game log. Gossage's work was not as well leveraged in 1978 as it had been in 1977. He threw 7 innings twice and 4 innings or more three other times. He came on more often earlier in the game, and more often down 2 runs or more. 1978 was the year of the Yankees' miracle comeback- making the whole idea of season leverage slightly ridiculous. Gossage threw almost exactly as well down the stretch, as he had thrown the rest of the season. In the play-off with the Red Sox, he came on with a 4-2 lead in the bottom of the seventh. Reggie Jackson homered in the top of the eighth to give the Yanks a 3 run lead, the Sox replied with a couple off Gossage in the bottom of the frame and put 2 runners on for Yaz in the nervous ninth. Gossage induced a pop-up. In the ALCS, Gossage was ordinary, but in the series against the Dodgers, he shone. Six shutout innings, allowing 1 hit and 1 walk. In the 4th game, with the Yanks down 2-1 in the Series and the game tied after 8 innings in Los Angeles, Gossage pitched 2 hitless innings for the win. Overall, I would say that Gossage's "game leverage" for 1978 undersells his contribution.

BP has his leverage for 1979 at 1.67. That was a good year too, so why not look closer?


His 1979 game log reflects an evolution in his usage. He had just one stint over 4 innings, and two-thirds of his appearances were for less than 2 innings. He did not come into the game in the 5th inning or earlier and only once in the 6th, and rarely in the 7th. He came in almost exclusively with the game tied, a one or two run lead or a one run deficit. He was full value for the game leverage. Now, how about the season? The Yanks trailed the division champ Orioles by 3 games on May 1, by 3.5 on June 1, by 12 on July 1, by 14 on August 1, by 14 on August 15, and that was that. Goose had pitched little and poorly the first half of the season due to injury. As you can see from the game log, he had an ERA of 6.23 on July 14, next pitched on July 21 and by the end of the season had lowered his ERA to 2.62. In the case of 1979, the game leverage pretty clearly overstates the importance of Gossage's contributions over the season.

BP lists Gossage's 1980 leverage as 1.62. I have a hunch that he might be due for a rebound, until George Brett comes to the plate. Shall we see?


Here is Gossage's 1980 game log. There are again fewer long appearances of 4 innings or more (only 1), but 27 of 64 appearances are 2 innings or more. He does often enter the game with 3 and 4 run leads and 3 run deficits. The game leverage is, if anything, generous to Goose. Moving on to the season, the Yanks ended up winning the division by 3 games over the Os. The Yanks trailed the division-leading Blue Jays (ah, sweet taste of sunshine) by 1/2 game on May 1, led by 4.5 on June 1, by 5.5 on July 1, by 7.5 on August 1, by 3.5 on August 15, by 1.5 on September 1, and by 5 on September 15. In August and September, Gossage pitched brilliantly not allowing any runs in 19 appearances between August 9 and September 21. Alas, in the ALCS, he made only one appearance. He came on with a 2-1 lead in the 7th inning and the Yanks down 2-0 in the Series to the Royals, got one out and surrendered a 3 run blast to Brett and that was the season. Overall, I would give him some modest credit for additional "season leverage".

1981 is a different story altogether. Baseball Prospectus has Goose's leverage at 1.35, but that is an underestimate, trust me. Can a pitcher who goes 46 innings, allowing 22 hits and 6 runs in a season with an ERA+ of 465, be better than these statistics? Yes.


It was a weird season, with 2 halves and a "strike down the middle". The two half-season champions met in the playoffs. The first half ended in mid-June. The Yankees trailed narrowly in April, May and got hot in June to win the first-half championship by two games. The first-half games all had high "season leverage" for the Yankees, whereas the second half games had no season leverage as they had clinched a place in the playoff. Here is Gossage's game log for 1981. As you can see, Gossage was used in very high leverage situations in the first half, and pitched superbly allowing 2 runs in 21 appearances and 32 innings. In the second half, he was used regularly in low leverage situations with large leads. He still pitched well, but not as spectacularly as he had in the first half. In the playoffs, he continued as before, not allowing a run in 14 and 1/3 innings over 8 mostly high leverage appearances.
The game leverage of 1.35 and the 46 regular season innings grossly understates what Gossage did in 1981. He threw 60 high leverage excellent innings when the course of the season is accounted for.

Would it continue in 1982? Baseball Prospectus has Gossage's game leverage at 1.80. Somehow, without checking, I suspect that this is too high. Let's see.


Gossage did not dominate in 1982 the way that he had in 1981, but who could? Here is his gamelog. Shorter stints than in the 70s, and usually with a 1 or 2 run lead, most often coming in during the eighth inning. The Yanks finished 16 games out in 1982. They were 5 off the pace on May 1, 5.5 on June 1, 8.5 on July 1, 7 on August 1, 11 on August 15 and 11 on September 1. Gossage did not allow a run in 8 appearances after August 15. Overall, I would say that the 1.80 game leverage overstates Gossage's contribution to the team's chances of winning over the season.

In 1983, Gossage's leverage was, according to BP, 2.06, the most of any ace reliever in the majors that year. Hmm, I wonder.


Here is the Gossage gamelog for the season. It reflects a similar usage pattern to 1982, except that he came in during more tie games, which properly accounts for the increased game leverage. He started off the season horribly, and then from the beginning of May, he allowed only 7 runs the remainder of the season. The Yankees finished 7 games behind the World Champion Orioles that year. Despite Gossage's early struggles, they were 2 games back on May 1, 1/2 game behind your Toronto Blue Jays on June 1, 1 and 1/2 games behind the Moseby/Upshaw/Stieb crew on July 1, 3 and a half back of the Os on August 1, 4 and a half back on September 1, and 6.5 back on September 15. Gossage did not allow a run and pitched very well in 4 appearances after September 15. The game leverage might overstate Gossage's contribution, but, if so, just by a bit.

Gossage was a free agent after 1983 and signed with the Padres, who immediately upon his arrival made it to the World Series. It is a little coincidence. Gossage's game leverage was, according to BP, 1.64 for the season. You know the drill.


This was a middle of the road season for Gossage in terms of use. He mostly came in during the 8th inning, and almost exclusively with a lead. The oddity is that he came in 15 times with a 4 run lead or more. He did have 3 outings of 4 innings or more. San Diego who won the division by 12 games, trailed by 1 on May 1 and by 1.5 on June 1, and then led by 4 on July 1, by 8.5 on August 1, 9.5 on August 15, 9 on September 1, and 9.5 on September 15. Gossage pitched about evenly throughout the season. Gossage did not pitch very well in the playoffs. In the NLCS, the Cubs won the first 2 games in Chicago, and Gossage came on in all three Padre victories in San Diego. He pitched a scoreless ninth in a blowout in Game 3, then came on with a 2 run lead in the 8th inning and surrendered the tying runs, and then threw 2 scoreless innings to protect a 3 run lead in Game 5. In the World Series against the Tigers, he had one significant appearance in the 7th inning of Game 5 with the Padres down 3-1 in the Series and trailing by a run in the game. Gossage surrendered 4 runs and that was that. I suppose that if we give credit for the excellent post-season performance of 1981, we have to acknowledge that 1984's would be a demerit. Overall, the game leverage figure of 1.64 might be about right, taking into account the fairly high season leverage of the games into August.

In 1985, Gossage had his last big season, 79 innings, 17 walks, 52 strikeouts and only 1 homer allowed with a 1.82 ERA. Baseball Prospectus lists his leverage index as a whopping 2.41 for the year. We must check this out..


The gamelog makes clear that the leverage index is not a misprint. Goose was brought in mostly in the eighth inning of a tie game, or with a one run lead, and most often threw between 1 and 2 innings. He did not pitch 3 innings or more all season in an outing. Ladies and Gentlemen, that is how to manage the use of one's best reliever, particularly one who is 33 years old. Dick Williams always was a good one; incidentally, playing for Chuck Tanner, Billy Martin and Dick Williams in order, as Gossage did, is quite a pattern for a player. The Padres finished 12 games behind the Dodgers on the season, despite being tied for the lead on May 1 and leading by 2.5 on June 1 and 4.5 on July 1. They trailed by 4.5 on August 1, by 9 on August 15, by 6 on September 1 and 13 on September 15. Gossage pitched well in July and was on the DL in August, so it seems to me that, if anything, the game leverage understates Gossage's contribution.

So, to summarize my comments about Goose's leverage during his prime years (I have included the post-season innings in the chart):

Year IP Leverage Comments
1975 141.7 1.45 too high
1977 133 1.97 about right
1978 144.3 1.51 too low
1979 58.3 1.67 too high
1980 99.3 1.62 too low
1981 61 1.35 much too low
1982 93 1.80 too high
1983 87.3 2.06 a little high
1984 109 1.64 about right
1985 79 2.41 a little low

Overall, the game leverage (1.75) over the entire period is about right, but it is, in my view, dangerous to use the leverage indices for one or two years to assess his peak.

After 1985 in San Diego, Goose was used in high leverage situations (posting game leverages of 1.98 and 1.94 in 1986 and 1987), but his performance was not of sufficient quality to make this a significant factor.

Taking into account the effect of chaining, described earlier, his adjusted leverage would be in the 1.5 to 1.6 range. Multiplying his relief innings by his adjusted leverage, he appears to be similar in quality to Guidry and noticeably behind Stieb.

Prime Goose

How about a different approach? Goose was called up at least a year early and possibly two by the White Sox, and his career had a long slow slide. How about looking at the prime of his career and see if he qualifies as "the Sandy Koufax of relievers"? He worked about 1000 innings during his prime, and that is the normal career length of the closers after 1985 or so. His prime will prove to be, if nothing else, a useful barometer for measuring the modern day careers of Trevor Hoffman, Mariano Rivera, and Billy Wagner. So, we will compare these four and starters with the strongest 1300-1500 inning prime that I could think of who are not in the Hall of Fame, Bert Blyleven, Billy Pierce, and Dave Stieb.

For Goose's prime, I will use 1975, throw out his year as a starter in 1976 and then continue with 1977-1985. It's a long prime of 10 years. We'll take Blyleven's prime to be 1973-77 and 1984-85. For Pierce's prime, I'll take 1951, 1952, 1953, 1955, 1956 and 1958. while Sir David was at his best from 1982-85 plus 1988 and 1990. We will include post-season work in the calculation.

There are a few other pitchers, who I gave some consideration to- Mort Cooper, Urban Shocker, Orel Hershiser and Mike Garcia. As it turns out their primes were not as impressive as those of Blyleven, Pierce, and Stieb. If the reader would like to look them up, Mort Cooper's prime would be 1939-40 and 1942-46. Urban Shocker shined from 1918-1923, Orel Hershiser had his prime during the years 1984-85, 1987-89 and 1995-96 and Mike Garcia had a straight run from 1949-54. Here's the chart:

Pitcher IP W/9 W+ K/9 K+ HR/9 HR+ ERA ERA+
Gossage 1006 3.27 100
8.52 171
0.46 171
2.06 185
Gossage-adj 1006 3.60 90
7.67 154
0.51 154
2.27 166

Rivera 994.3 2.18 157
7.87 125
0.43 260
2.12 216
Rivera-adj. 994.3 2.38 141
7.08 112
0.47 234
2.33 195

Hoffman 898.3 2.55 134
9.80 148
0.82 137
2.71 149
Hoffman-adj 898.3 2.81 121
8.82 133
0.9 123
2.98 134

Wagner 713 3.02


Gossage threw 1000 great innings with an adjusted leverage of about 1.5. Even if you take a 15% closer discount on his ERA, he was comfortably ahead of Blyleven, Pierce and Stieb during their primes (Blyleven had a far more impressive career, but that topic has been covered). Shall we quickly digress on why closers' ERA are so much lower than starters'? There are essentially three reasons:

  • Pitching in shorter stints leads to improvement in rate performance (walk, strikeout and home run) as we covered in Part 1.
  • The scoring treatment of inherited runners favours the reliever, and especially the closer, who usually is not followed by another pitcher. When inherited runners score, none of the blame is attached to the reliever.
  • When the closer pitches in the bottom of the ninth or subsequent inning, he has "limited liability". To take an extreme example, if a closer comes on in the bottom of the ninth in a tie game and does not give up a homer, the most runs he can allow is 1. So, if the inning begins single-triple, the closer takes a one run hit to the ERA, whereas a starter will usually take a two run hit.

So, quick, Gossage, in or out? He has always been on the line for me. A closer look at his career path, and in particular the effect of the White Sox' unwise decision to promote him from Low A straight to the majors on his career statistics lead me to the view that the quality of his long prime performance is more relevant to his evaluation. I am comfortable now with the idea that the 3 best closers of the period 1970-2005 in time-sequence order were Goose Gossage, Dennis Eckersley and Mariano Rivera, and that the line can be drawn after Goosage rather than before him.

Blyleven is a clear choice to me. Gossage, who is by no means a clear choice, should be the next pitcher after Blyleven.

Next up: Mariano Rivera. And no, the question is not whether he is a Hall of Famer, but where he stands among the great pitchers in the game.

Hall Watch Retrospective- Goose Gossage | 9 comments | Create New Account
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Craig B - Tuesday, February 13 2007 @ 09:42 AM EST (#163480) #
He worked about 1000 innings during his prime, and that is the normal career length of the closers after 1985 or so.

This seems like it would be a very long career for a closer, though perhaps not for a HOF-caliber closer.  Assuming that a closer in the modern era works about 70 innings a year, that's 14-15 seasons, so a closer who debuted at age 22 would work full-time every year until he was 36, and a closer who debuted at age 23 would work full-time every year until he was 37.  Such a closer would rack up at least 450 career saves, which only two men have done.  Of course, a typical closer wouldn't close his whole career either, so maybe I'm barking up the wrong tree.

Thanks for a great article, Mike.  Goose is definitely a good candidate but I've always been underwhelmed by his numbers (especially compared to the image I had of the Goose when I was a young fan).
Mike Green - Tuesday, February 13 2007 @ 10:06 AM EST (#163483) #
You're right, Craig. Most post-1985 closers, even those of potential Hall of Fame caliber, will probably throw somewhat less than 1000 innings, perhaps 800-900.  Many will have somewhat higher leverage than Gossage, so Gossage's prime provides a nice marker. 
John Northey - Tuesday, February 13 2007 @ 10:14 AM EST (#163484) #

Always loved the Goose.  Fun guy to watch, was viewed as the best of the best when I was a kid (the early days of the Jays).  To me the HOF should honour those who are viewed as the best of an era,  via statistical analysis and observation.  This costs guys like Blyleven who need to be very clearly in via stats since people didn't view him as a HOFer during his career for whatever reason.  For Goose - he is helped by observation but hurt by how the stats have changed.  Goose, Fingers, and Sutter were viewed (rightly or wrongly) as the best pre-Eck closers. 

Now, what happens with closers as the save rule is now fully used and it seems 500 is the magic number vs the old days when we thought 300 would be should be interesting. 

HippyGilmore - Tuesday, February 13 2007 @ 04:11 PM EST (#163506) #
Is the Gossage-to-Starter transition perhaps comparable to what the Sox are trying with Papelbon? Gossage spent a season as a lights-out reliever, then became a starter and was well below league average, with all of his rate stats going downhill. While Gossage's first season in relief wasn't quite as good as Papelbon's (I'm not sure any other pitcher in baseball history had such a good rookie year as a closer), it certainly provides a useful example, showing that the transition to starter might not be smooth sailing for Paps.
Mike Green - Tuesday, February 13 2007 @ 04:55 PM EST (#163510) #
The issues in relief to start conversions are to my mind:

  1. whether the pitcher has the stuff to succeed in the starting role,
  2. whether the pitcher's build and mechanics make him a likely candidate to withstand the increased innings load
In Gossage's case, the first point seems to have been paramount.  His stuff (i.e. the blazing fastball and less in the way of secondary stuff) seemed to be more suited to the relief role.  In Papelbon's case, I am not really sure on both counts.  He did succeed at double A in a starting role in 14 starts, and in the FSL in 24 starts, giving probably a better indication than was present in Gossage's conversion attempt that the stuff was there for the starting role. Whether starting or relieving is easier on a "transient subluxation of the throwing shoulder",  I have no idea. It certainly is a gamble.

John Northey - Wednesday, February 14 2007 @ 12:09 PM EST (#163528) #

To me the closer to starter thing is a lot like deciding that your first baseman is a good athlete so lets move him to shortstop, or more likely to happen third base.  A move that could work and pay big dividends, but rarely does work out.

The starter to closer works more often because it is more like moving your shortstop to first base.  Odds are he is overqualified but things can go wrong (perhaps your SS is too short to catch those throws or something).  How often does a starter to closer flop vs the other way around?  I figure it may not be as extreme as 1B to SS but it is there.

A key for teams is to recognize where a player is best suited.  Some guys are best used in a platoon role (Mullinorg for example), others as a DH only (Cecil Fielder was a good case of this, despite Jimy Williams putting him at first base, then third base and even second base then platooning him for who knows what reason).  Pitchers are the same, some have skills best suited for closing, others for starting, others for facing just left handed batters.  Used properly you can get yourself a few hundred innings with an above average ERA from guys who in the past would've been AAAA players only, much like platooning made useful players out of Mulliniks and Iorg.  Teams that recognize this can win with scrub talent, teams that don't require $100 million payrolls.

Mick Doherty - Friday, February 16 2007 @ 02:29 PM EST (#163576) #

Mike, this is really an outstanding piece. Kudos on all the work done.

And IMNSHO, Goose should've been in the Hall a long time ago and may have hurt his chances by continuing to pitch for so long. If he retires around '87 instead of doing that Cubs-Rangers-Mariners-and-more tour, I think he'd have gone in on remembered dominance, though falling just shy of 300 saves might have hurt him.

Interesting -- I wonder what other players hurt their chances for the HOF by being great for a long time and then being only okay for a while. Voter memory is a tricky thing to mess with.

Gordi - Saturday, February 17 2007 @ 12:01 AM EST (#163584) #
The heck with stats. Good job with them though.

When Gossage took the mound babies cried. Kids were sent off to bed. Yankee fans cheered. Opposition fans called their congressmen. It had to be illegal. On the field he was just about the toughest reliever next to Lee Smith.

Tug McGraw was an artist. Lee Smith threatened to fall on top of you (he was really big). Eckersley would slice the batter up. Henke would cut the batter.  Gossage on the other hand would chomp  at and eat  them. Spit out their bones. Then eat the bones. He was the Freddy Kruger of relievers. It was a Roman spectacle.

And more often that not, what is not in the stats is that Gossage pitched to a hitter's strength. He seemed to follow the path of the great Dizzy Dean philosophy who if told that a hitter would hit inside, deliver the heat inside. I swear I saw him dust off the umpire once when he got a call he didn't like.

The only problem is that the modern baseball writers aren't that old or interested in baseball. Its a job. They vote stats.  Stats are okay if you never seen the player. Sutter was okay. If Sutter got in, it makes the HOF a laughing stock not to put in Gossage.

Mike Green - Saturday, February 17 2007 @ 12:32 PM EST (#163588) #
Gordi, I'm old.  I remember Goose Gossage very well, and I agree that he was a better pitcher than Bruce Sutter.  The statistics say that too. What is more difficult is comparing Goose Gossage with Billy Wagner or Dave Stieb or Billy Pierce (whom I never saw).  And for that, impressions only carry us so far.
Hall Watch Retrospective- Goose Gossage | 9 comments | Create New Account
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