January 9, 2000 |
When the baseball writers peek into the sealed envelope Tuesday and reveal their choices for the Hall of Fame, it would be nice if they anointed a couple of members of baseball's least appreciated fraternity--relief pitchers. Here's a vote for Goose and another for Bruce. Those who pass on them should have to face some vintage Goose Gossage gas and flail after one of Bruce Sutter's split-finger fastballs. In their prime, these two bordered on unhittable.
March 8, 1988 |
The newest Chicago Cub pitcher, having just singled, was standing on first base. He grinned, almost as if giggling, then he took a lead. And a bigger lead. Suddenly he gathered together his 6-foot-3, 225-pound frame and took off for second. At that exact time, Padre pitcher Keith Comstock turned and threw to first baseman John Kruk, who threw to second baseman Sandy Alomar Jr. The big man was trapped. A rundown ensued.
September 23, 1987 |
It is the time of year when baseball players fill their Gatorade cups with coffee. On a chilly Midwest afternoon, Goose Gossage stared down into his cup and shook his head. With less than two weeks remaining in this, his 16th and longest season, all the eldest Padre could find were questions. Is Goose still needed? Is Goose still wanted? Is anybody still listening? Tuesday, Gossage took a wondering, worried, often frustrated glance at 1987 and ahead to 1988. A glance is all he can stand.
June 20, 1987 |
Goose Gossage is not a pretty sight on a pitching mound. His facial expressions vary from grimace to frown, the latter being the most pleasant he is likely to display. His demeanor suggests that batters are mere vermin to be exterminated. His chore, as a relief pitcher, always has been to get a game over. He always has interpreted this to mean as quickly as possible. Goose would never be found manicuring the mound or rubbing a baseball while gazing absent-mindedly at the clouds.
February 24, 1987 |
Monday was our first glimpse of the 1987 Goose Gossage, and it looked like (a) he was really throwing hard and (b) he had no hard feelings. Last seen, the 1986 Goose was inserting foot in mouth, but, somehow, got his feet back on the ground over the winter. He and Ballard Smith, the Padre president, have kissed and made up.
September 28, 1986 |
Babe Ruth could not have played for the San Diego Padres. He overate, drank, womanized and swore at his manager, Miller Huggins. Grover Cleveland Alexander could not have pitched for the Padres. Fans know how he came into the seventh game of the 1926 World Series with two down, bases loaded, the winning run on second, to strike out Tony Lazzeri--while half-crocked. Neither could Ty Cobb, who was too mean. Or Ted Williams, who once flipped off the crowd at Fenway Park and never wore a tie.