Sunday, June 22, 2014

Remembering Yankees of the Past: Goose Gossage

Rich Michael Goose Gossage signed with the New York Yankees as a free agent before the 1978 season and immediately won a World Series with his new club under Billy Martin/Bob Lemon. Gossage led the American League in saves in 1978 with 27 and then again in 1980 with 33 saves. Gossage also recorded the save in the one game playoff against the Boston Red Sox for the AL East title, Gossage was the man that pioneered the closers position.

Gossage was on the mound for the Bucky "F'in" Dent home run in 1978 after entering with one out in the seventh inning of that playoff game. Gossage was also on the mound a mere five days later in 1978 to clinch the ALCS and the AL pennant over the Kansas City Royals after a four game sweep. Gossage was on the mound ten days later when the Yankees clinched the World Series over the Los Angeles Dodgers for their second consecutive World Series title.

Gossage missed some time in 1979 after suffering a thumb injury he sustained in a locker room fight with teammate Cliff Johnson. While Gossage had his ups in a Yankees uniform he had his downs as well while giving up the series clinching home run to George Brett in 1979 after the Royals swept the Yankees out of the ALCS. Goose was also on the mound three years later, almost to the day, when the "Pine Tar Game" occured with Brett's home run that wasn't.

The Yankees were back in the playoffs in 1981 and Gossage was on the mound to save all three Yankees victories in the Division Series over the Milwaukee Brewers, not allowing a run in 6.2 innings. Gossage was on the mound when the Yankees clinched the 1981 AL pennant over the Oakland Athletics as well before losing in the World Series.

Gossage spent the 1983 season with the Yankees mostly fighting with the Yankees owner George Steinbrenner. He did find time to break Sparky Lyle's team record for saves with 141 saves, held the career record for ERA with 2.14, and had the fewest hits per nine innings with 6.59 H/9. Gossage was unhappy with "the fat man upstairs" after disapproving of the way manager Billy Martin handled Gossage. Gossage was a free agent after the 1983 season and vowed not to return to New York.

Gossage bounced around until 1989 when he was claimed off waivers by the Yankees in August before moving on after the 1989 season once again. Gossage was and is still a legend in New York and always will be. Congratulations to him on this well deserved achievement and honor.

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Sorry for the Capatcha... Blame the Russians :)