Colorado Springs native and 1970 Wasson High School graduate Rich Gossage spend 22 remarkable seasons in Major League Baseball as one of the game’s all-time premier closers. Drafted by the Chicago White Sox in 1970 in the 9th round (198 overall), Gossage was assigned to Chicago’s Single A team affiliate in Appleton, Wisconsin where he led the league in wins while posting an 18-2 record and a 1.83 earned run average catching the attention of White Sox General Manager Roland Hemond and Manager Chuck Tanner. Blessed with an overpowering fastball (98-102mph) Gossage was on his way to the big leagues.
Manager Tanner knew from the start that his talents should be utilized to close out games. Pitching the last few innings of the game to preserve victory. At age 20 Gossage made his Major League debut on 4/16/1972 with the Chicago White Sox. Pitching with the White Sox through the 1976 season. Teammate Dick Allen, one of the most feared hitters of his era, told Gossage, “Don’t be afraid to throw one under their chin. Everyone watching will know you’re an intimidator.” Gossage responded by becoming one of the most intimidating relief pitchers of the 70s and 80s. Due to a managerial change Gossage spent 1976 as a starting pitcher. Chicago then traded Gossage to the Pittsburgh Pirates where he was reunited with Manager Chuck Tanner. Gossage returned to the closer role, where he began a 12-year streak of double-figure save totals. Gossage was quoted as saying, “I love the feeling of coming to the ballpark every day and knowing I’ve got a chance to work. I’d go crazy as a starter. Imagine having a bad game and then having to sit around four or five days before you pitch again. You’d be thinking about it all the time. That would be terrible.” His return to the “closers role” was a natural. Gossage dominated for the Pirates in 1977. Unfortunately, the team was unable to sign Gossage in the off-season.
Gossage signed a free agency contract with the New York Yankees in November 1977. His six years as the New York closer included four All-
Star teams, 150 saves and a 2.10 ERA. In 1978, the New York Yankees earned another World Series Championship by defeating the Los Angeles Dodgers four games to two. Gossage pitched in three games, finished three games, earned one win, pitched six innings and gave up just one hit and zero runs to help close out the Dodgers!
After the 1983 season, Gossage signed a free agency deal with the san diego Padres providing immediate dividends by recording 10 wins and 25 saves to help San Diego to its first-ever World Series in 1984.
When Gossage, a nine-time All-Star retired after the 1994 season, his resume speaks for itself. A 22 year big league career with nine different clubs, second MLB pitcher to reach the 300 save mark, pitched in 1,002 games and finished 681 of them. 9 time All-Star (3 National League, 6 American League), career 3.01 ERA, 1809.1 innings pitched, 1502 strikeouts, 115 relief wins, led the American League in save three times, and was named Rolaids Relief Pitcher of the Year. Goose Gossage was inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame in 2008.
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