Yankees Rumors & News
This entry was posted on Wednesday, November 28th, 2007 at 10:26 am and is filed under Baseball, Yankees Rumors & News. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. Both comments and pings are currently closed.

goose.jpgThe names of those who are on the 2008 Baseball Hall of Fame ballot have been released, which means it is time for me to once again stump for the election of Rich “Goose” Gossage.

With Tim Raines and David Justice, neither of whom belongs in the Hall, being the biggest new names on this year’s ballot, this could finally be the year for Gossage, Jim Rice and Bert Blyleven.

I still can’t figure out why Hall of Fame voters have overlooked Gossage for so long. The “Goose” was the most fearsome, dominant reliever of his generation, and a key part of the terrific New York Yankee teams of the late ’70s and early ’80s.

With the elections of Dennis Eckersley in 2004 and Bruce Sutter in 2006, the bias that had long worked against closers seems to finally be melting away.

I can’t comprehend, though, how Sutter got elected while Gossage is still in the bullpen waiting for the Hall of Fame phone to ring.

Sutter, in a 12-year career, compiled 300 saves and a 2.83 career ERA. Only once, in 1984 when he saved 45 games, did he top 40 saves.

Gossage pitched for a staggering 22 years, compiling 310 saves and a 3.01 career ERA. His career numbers are skewed because he spent 1976 as a starter.

The prime parts of their careers overlap, so let’s compare. Looking at 1977 thru 1984 Sutter saved 250 games and pitched approximately 800 innings. Twice his ERA was above 3.00, including once above 4.00. During that same time period Gossage saved 201 games, pitched about 750 innings and never pitched to an ERA above 2.90. Sutter’s only advantage is in total saves.

These were the two best at what they did during a time period when closers were looked at differently than they are now, often entering games as early as the 7th inning. Sutter with his splitter and Gossage with his menacing demeanor and high-octane, unhittable fastball.

Many will try to make cases for Jim Rice and Bert Blyleven. Rice (382 home runs) and Blyleven (287 career wins) may or may not be deserving, but Gossage definitely belongs.

He should be there already.

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