Rich "Goose" Gossage pitched for nine different teams during a 22-year playing career. He helped to define the image of the modern dominating closer during the late 1970s and early 1980s. Gossage led the American League in saves three times, and by the end of the 1987 season he ranked second in Major League history in career saves, trailing only Rollie Fingers. When he retired, he ranked third in Major League history in career games pitched (1,002), and he remains third in wins in relief (115) and innings pitched in relief (1,556⅔). His 1,502 strikeouts place him behind only Hoyt Wilhelm among pitchers who primarily pitched in relief. He was elected to the Baseball Hall of Fame in 2008.
10 random facts about Rich "Goose" Gossage:
- He recorded the final out to clinch a division, league or World Series title seven times.
- On October 2, 1978, he earned the save in the Yankees' one-game playoff against the Boston Red Sox for the AL East title, entering with one out in the seventh inning and a 4-2 lead following Bucky Dent's famous home run.
- He missed some of the 1979 season with the Yankees due to a thumb injury sustained in a locker-room fight with teammate Cliff Johnson.
- In 1980, Gossage finished third in AL voting for both the MVP Award and Cy Young Award as the Yankees won the AL East title.
- On July 23, 1991, while Gossage was with the Texas Rangers, a statistical coincidence was noted when he recorded his 308th career save to preserve Nolan Ryan.s 308th win.
- Gossage became the second man to record 300 saves.
- Gossage holds the Yankees' career record for ERA (2.14) and hits per nine innings (6.59) among pitchers with at least 500 innings for the team.
- He is the career leader in blown saves (112).
- In 1995, the city of Colorado Springs dedicated the Rick "Goose" Gossage Youth Sports Complex in his honor.
- His eight All-Star selections as a reliever were a record until Mariano Rivera passed him in 2008.