Goose Gossage pitched for nine teams over a 22-year career and helped redefine the role of reliever. Arriving with the Chicago White Sox in 1971, he had clearly established himself as the team fireman by 1975. After an unsuccessful experiment as a starter during the 1976 season, he was traded to the Pittsburgh Pirates and never started another game in his career. He won the World Series with the Yankees in 1978, striking out four in six innings of work and notching the win in Game 4. Using his tremendous heat, Gossage clocked 20 or more saves ten times in his career, leading the league in the category three times. When he retired after the 1994 season, he had the fourth most saves in MLB history.
As evidence of the different role of the closer in his era, of Gossage’s 310 lifetime saves, 193 of them took longer than one inning.
July 22, 2011