Friday, January 4, 2008

Gossage makes my hall of fame

The 2008 class of the Baseball Hall of Fame will be announced Tuesday, and if I had a vote - I don’t, but if I did - the first name on my ballot would be Rich Gossage.

The former closer, who helped the 1978 New York Yankees to the World Series, helped revolutionize the way managers used their bullpens. With his overpowering fastball and his success at blowing away hitters in the ninth inning, teams began searching for that hammer at the back end of the bullpen.

Before Gossage found his niche in the mid-1970s, managers often called upon their best reliever whenever they felt the game was on the line. That could be as early as the sixth inning.

After Gossage took over, managers began waiting until at least the eighth inning to go to their closer.

Here is Gossage’s bio as found on the Hall of Fame’s Web site:

Ninth year on the ballot ... Pitched 22 seasons ... Led the AL in saves three times (1975, '78, '80) ... Two seasons with 30-plus saves ... Named The Sporting News AL Fireman of the Year in 1975 and '78 ... Named to nine All-Star teams (1975-'78, '80-'82, '84-'85) ... Finished in top 10 in AL MVP voting twice in 1980 (third) and '81 (ninth) ... Received Cy Young Award votes in 1975 (T-sixth), '78 (fifth), '80 (third), '81 (sixth) and '84 (fifth) ... Ranks 17th all-time in saves and 13th in games pitched ... Ranks sixth in games finished ... One AL Division Series (1981); three saves and no earned runs in 6 2/3 ALDS innings ... Four League Championship Series (1978, '80, '81, '84); owns 4.91 ERA and three saves in 11 LCS innings ... Three World Series (1978, '81, '84); owns 2.63 ERA and two saves in 13 2/3 WS innings ... Member of 1978 WS championship team.

No comments: