April 24, 2014

The Goose’s Greatest Hits

July 26, 2008 by · Leave a Comment 

Goose Gossage is being inducted into the Hall of Fame tomorrow. Here are some highlights from his 22 year career.

April 16, 1972, vs. Kansas City

The game was tied 1-1 in the bottom of the fifth inning when White Sox starter Stan Bahnsen put runners on the corners with no one out. In came the 20-year-old Gossage for his big league debut. After intentionally walking Lou Piniella, he allowed an RBI groundout before getting an inning-ending double play. Unfortunately, that one run proved the difference in the game, as the Royals won 2-1.

May 5, 1976, vs. Baltimore

1976 was Gossage’s only season as a starter. He went 9-17 with a 3.94 ERA, yet still made the All-Star team. Only Nolan Ryan lost more games on the season in the A.L. On this day, he threw a complete game and recorded ten strikeouts, the only time in his career he reached double digits in a single game. He lost the game thanks to a run-scoring error on a Reggie Jackson grounder in the eighth.

May 15, 1976, vs. Kansas City

Just ten days later, the Goose threw a 12 inning complete game against the Royals, the longest appearance of his career. Unfortunately, he took another loss, this one on a walk-off home run by John Mayberry.

May 14, 1977, vs. Houston

After 1976, Gossage was traded to the Pirates, where he resumed his role as a reliever. On May 14, he entered the game with two outs in the sixth and proceeded to strike out  seven batters, including three in the ninth inning to secure the save.

May 19, 1977, vs. Los Angeles

Five days later, Gossage outdid himself by striking out 8 of the 11 men he faced in the eighth, ninth and tenth innings, including two whiffs of Steve Garvey. The Pirates won on a tenth inning bases loaded single by Rennie Sennett. All of the May dates on this list are no coincidence—over his entire career, he had a 2.48 ERA in May, compared to his overall mark of 3.01.

October 2, 1978, vs. Boston

After his one season in Pittsburgh, Gossage was back in the A.L. and wearing pinstripes. He recorded a wild save in the famous Bucky Dent game, despite allowing six baserunners in two and a third innings. For the final out, he coaxed an infield pop fly out of Carl Yastrzemski with runners on the corners and a one run lead.

October 14, 1978, vs. Los Angeles

In Game 4 of the World Series, Gossage came in for the ninth and pitched two scoreless innings. He got the win when Lou Piniella singled in the game-winning run in the bottom of the tenth. The Goose was also on the mound at the end of the clinching Game 6 victory. He made it to the World Series again in 1981 with the Yankees and in 1984 with San Diego, but lost both times.

September 22, 1980, vs. Cleveland

In the ninth inning, Gossage allowed a run to score before finishing out his 31st save of the season. It was his first run allowed since August 8, a span of 29.1 innings pitched. He closed out the game when pinch-hitter Ron Hassey hit a line drive down the third base line which struck baserunner Toby Harrah, resulting in an automatic out. Gossage had another 29 inning scoreless streak with Chicago in 1975.

October 7, 8, and 11, 1981, vs. Milwaukee

The Goose shined during the 1981 regular season, with a stingy 0.77 ERA and 20 saves. It was more of the same during the divisional series against Milwaukee—Gossage got the save in all three games. In the decisive fifth game, he sealed the deal by getting Paul Molitor, Robin Yount and Cecil Cooper out in order in the ninth inning. Over the series, he gave up three hits and no runs in 6.7 innings, striking out eight. In fact, Gossage did not allow a run to score throughout the 1981 playoffs.

May 14, 1982, vs. Oakland

With the Yankees holding a 6-4 lead, Gossage came into the 8th inning with one out and a man on first base. He struck out Dave McKay and Mike Heath to end the inning. In the 9th, he struck out Tony Phillips, Wayne Gross and Rickey Henderson in order. In the retrosheet era, only 11 other pitchers have struck out each batter faced when pitching to at least five of them; most recently, Washington’s Chris Schroder struck out all six hitters he saw on September 17, 2006.

July 10, 1984, vs. American League All-Stars

In his eighth of nine All-Star game selections, new Padre Gossage came on with a 3-1 lead in the top of the ninth inning. He got through Eddie Murray, Don Mattingly, Dave Winfield, and Rickey Henderson to get the save. It was a long time removed from his 1978 appearance, in which he allowed four runs in the 8th inning to break a tie and lose the game for the A.L.

October 7, 1984, vs. Chicago Cubs

In the deciding game of the NLCS, Gossage got himself into and out of trouble two times in picking up the save. In the eighth, he had men on second and third base, but struck out Gary Matthews to end the inning. In the ninth, Luis Salazar led off with a triple, but was caught stealing home during the next at-bat. The Padres lost the World Series to the Dodgers; it was the last time the Goose made the playoffs.

May 26, 1985, vs. Philadelphia

In the ninth inning, Gossage came to the plate against Rocky Childress and drew a walk. Four batters later, Steve McReynolds hit a home run, and the Goose came home to score the only run of his career. He was on base 13 times in total, including an RBI double on April 16, 1977—his only extra-base hit and one of career two runs batted in.

August 8, 1994, vs Texas

Gossage made his final appearance with Seattle in late 1994, earning his only save of the season by pitching three innings in a blowout victory over the Rangers. He retired nine batters in order, finishing with Jose Canseco. At shortstop was for the Mariners was 18-year-old phenom Alex Rodriguez, who wasn’t born until Gossage had already racked up 229 strikeouts in the major leagues. Their manager that year, Lou Piniella, had led the league in doubles in 1972—but was only 2-11 in his career against the Goose.

AL Batting and pitching leaders in Gossage’s rookie year, 1972: Dick Allen, MVP; Gaylord Perry, Cy Young winner.

AL Batting and pitching leaders in Gossage’s final year, 1994: Frank Thomas, MVP; David Cone, Cy Young winner; Kenny Lofton, 60 steals.

Gossage vs. selected Hall of Famers

Rickey Henderson: 0-9, 9 strikeouts
Carlton Fisk: 7-35, 11 strikeouts
Rod Carew: 7-35, 5 strikeouts
Robin Yount: 6-37, 7 strikeouts
Dave Winfield: 0-10, 1 strikeout

sources: www.baseball-reference.com, www.baseballlibrary.com

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