July 5th, 2010

July 5 – Happy Birthday Goose Gossage

I never agreed with the the Yankee’s decision to sign the Goose as a free agent during the 1977 post season. Sparky Lyle had just won the AL Cy Young Award the season before and the Yankees had won the World Series. They did not need a closer and adding another one to the team was the type of overkill that could only end up disrupting team chemistry in the long run. When I read about Gossage’s signing, I figured Lyle was a goner and I had always been a fan of the “Count.”

I was wrong about Lyle being a goner in 1978. The Yankees did figure out a pretty effective way to keep Lyle in the mix but Gossage emphatically took over the closer’s role and remained the ace of the Yankee pen for a half-dozen seasons, saving 150 games and winning 41 more in the process.

The Yankees finally traded Lyle in 1979, sending him to Texas in a multiplayer deal that put Dave Righetti in Pinstripes. Goose’s shower room brawl with Cliff Johnson helped ruin the Yankee’s 1979 season but in 1980, a big young right-hander named Ron Davis became the Yankee’s set-up man and he and Gossage teamed to deliver what I still consider to be some of the best relief pitching I have ever seen. Unfortunately, George Brett’s three-run shot of Goose in the third game of the AL playoffs that season was not a great moment in Yankee history.

Goose was indeed a monster on the mound and deserves being in Cooperstown but I still think his signing was a matter of greed and not need on the part of Yankee management. Goose was born on this date in 1951, in Colorado Springs, CO.

Goose shares his July 5th birthday with this 1965 winner of the AL Rookie of the Year Award, this former Yankee pitcher and pitching coach and this one-time Yankee starting pitcher from the late thirties. 

Year Tm W L W-L% ERA G GS GF CG SHO SV IP H R ER HR BB SO WHIP
1978 NYY 10 11 .476 2.01 63 0 55 0 0 27 134.1 87 41 30 9 59 122 1.087
1979 NYY 5 3 .625 2.62 36 0 33 0 0 18 58.1 48 18 17 5 19 41 1.149
1980 NYY 6 2 .750 2.27 64 0 58 0 0 33 99.0 74 29 25 5 37 103 1.121
1981 NYY 3 2 .600 0.77 32 0 30 0 0 20 46.2 22 6 4 2 14 48 0.771
1982 NYY 4 5 .444 2.23 56 0 43 0 0 30 93.0 63 23 23 5 28 102 0.978
1983 NYY 13 5 .722 2.27 57 0 47 0 0 22 87.1 82 27 22 5 25 90 1.225
1989 NYY 1 0 1.000 3.77 11 0 6 0 0 1 14.1 14 6 6 0 3 6 1.186
22 Yrs 124 107 .537 3.01 1002 37 681 16 0 310 1809.1 1497 670 605 119 732 1502 1.232
NYY (7 yrs) 42 28 .600 2.14 319 0 272 0 0 151 533.0 390 150 127 31 185 512 1.079
CHW (5 yrs) 29 36 .446 3.80 188 37 80 16 0 30 584.2 534 269 247 34 288 419 1.406
SDP (4 yrs) 25 20 .556 2.99 197 0 157 0 0 83 298.0 255 109 99 19 92 243 1.164
OAK (2 yrs) 4 7 .364 3.78 69 0 25 0 0 1 85.2 81 37 36 11 45 66 1.471
SFG (1 yr) 2 1 .667 2.68 31 0 22 0 0 4 43.2 32 16 13 2 27 24 1.351
PIT (1 yr) 11 9 .550 1.62 72 0 55 0 0 26 133.0 78 27 24 9 49 151 0.955
TEX (1 yr) 4 2 .667 3.57 44 0 16 0 0 1 40.1 33 16 16 4 16 28 1.215
CHC (1 yr) 4 4 .500 4.33 46 0 33 0 0 13 43.2 50 23 21 3 15 30 1.489
SEA (1 yr) 3 0 1.000 4.18 36 0 21 0 0 1 47.1 44 23 22 6 15 29 1.246
Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Original Table
Generated 7/5/2013.