Gossage overwhelmed by enshrinement in Hall of Fame
COOPERSTOWN, N.Y. (AP) — As a kid, Rich Gossage’s dreams never matched those of his father.
“My dad always said, ‘You’re going to play in the big leagues some day,’ ” Gossage recalled. “I pooh-poohed that. I would be like, ‘Aw, dad, please don’t say that.’ And sure enough, here I am.”
Gossage did more than just play in the major leagues. He became a dominant relief pitcher in a 22-year career that will receive its finishing touch on Sunday when he is inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame.
For Gossage, a shy, humble guy from the Rocky Mountains, what has transpired since those talks with his dad, Jake, is simply mind-boggling.
“I can’t even really comprehend my career,” said Gossage, elected in January on his ninth try. “Really, I just can’t believe that a kid from Colorado, just a big fan of the game — it’s totally overwhelming being elected to the Hall and to have had the career that I had.”
What’s even more difficult to believe is that it took so long. The “Goose” was as significant a pioneer as anybody in the evolution of today’s relief pitcher.
Gossage finished his career as a Seattle Mariner in 1994 with a 124-107 record, 1,502 strikeouts and 3.01 ERA in 1,002 games. He ranks third in both wins in relief (115) and innings pitched in relief (1,556). Of his 310 career saves, Gossage worked more than two innings 52 times (by comparison, prior to the 2008 season, Yankees closer Mariano Rivera had done that just once in 443 saves and San Diego’s Trevor Hoffman, the career saves leader, has never done it) and recorded at least six outs in 125 saves.