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Sunday, September 25th, 2016

GOSSAGE: MOST DOMINANT CLOSER?

9

Jayson Stark has this to say about Goose Gossage:

I’m going to unfurl this rant one final time: Goose Gossage was the most dominating closer ever. Ever. And I don’t care who else you want to throw up there against him. Go right ahead. Want to take Mariano Rivera? Great. Let’s compare them.

Stacking up save totals doesn’t work, because Gossage was pitching in a time when managers were mysteriously using their closers in an attempt to (gasp) win games, as opposed to just helping them pile up save totals. So let’s toss out saves and stack up Rivera’s 11 full seasons as a closer versus the Goose’s first 11 full seasons as a closer. Want to pick a category? Be my guest. ERA? Gossage 2.21, Rivera 2.35. Strikeouts? Goose 8.54 whiffs per 9 innings, Rivera 8.09. Unhittability? Gossage 6.59 hits per 9 innings, Rivera 7.17. So … any more questions? And remember, the Goose was unleashing all that domination even though he was routinely being asked to pitch 100 to 141 innings (yep, 141) a year.

One thing Stark doesn’t point out is league ERA. For his career Goose was 3.01 and the league’s was 3.78. Rivera’s career ERA is 2.35 against the league’s 4.56. Huge difference. As for Goose “routinely” being asked to pitch over 100 innings, he did it 4 times in a 22-year career. Why we should only look at Goose’s first 11 years when he pitched 22 is beyond me. We are either rewarding his longevity or not. Rivera will be looked at the same way when he is done.

If Gossage was truly the most dominant closer ever, he would have been in already. I have a really hard time believing he’s better than Eckersley, Fingers, Rivera or even Trevor Hoffman. Goose was a special player but doubtfully the best ever at his position.

  • dhaab

    If Gossage was truly the most dominant closer ever, he would have been already.

    What exactly does that sentence mean?

    As for Goose, I think Stark makes some very good points and he DEFINITELY should have been inducted into the HOF by now. He was just as dominant as any of the 4 relievers you mentioned and pitched more innings than any of them not named Eck. Plus the guy pitched well for over 20 fricking years!! How many former MLB pitchers can say that?

  • http://zonersports.com The Zoner

    Corrected to say he would have been in already.

    He should be in and Stark does make great points. I just don’t think he was the most dominant ever. How Sutter got in before him is insane.

  • http://www.meaninglis.com Lis

    Goose was good and prolly deserves the hall.

    He was right about one thing that struck a cord with me. Back in the day closers were asked to close innings 7 to 9. You hardly see that anymore. Closers usually come in the top of the 9th with no men on. Compared to the middle of the 7th w/ bases juiced. That’s a big difference over the span of a career.

  • http://xmmlbchat.blogspot.com susan mullen

    As a rule, Jayson Stark has 2 methods to minimize Rivera. One, eliminate the entire year of 1996 in which Rivera was a late inning reliever, had some wins and saves, 8 appearances of 3 IP in the regular season, at the end of which he was expected to leave plenty in the tank for the post season. Rivera pitched 3 days in a row in the World Series. Stark fails to mention things like that. Second, Stark eliminates Rivera’s 13 continuous years of post season performance. Jayson Stark should not have a job for his chronic misrepresentation of Rivera. Hall of Fame includes post season and all star. It so happens, Gossage had his post season “opportunities,” and didn’t do very well. Gave up 2 homeruns in the deciding Game 5 of the 1984 World Series. Even after his manager told him to give an IBB to Gibson. ESPN should tell its hacks that the Hall of Fame includes post season.

  • http://zonersports.com The Zoner

    Susan–

    Welcome and thanks for the comments. We could also certainly compare eras. Rivera pitched throughout an offensive explosion and Goose pitched in 70s and 80′s.

    And we all know the Padres shouldn’t even have been in the 84 World Series! The Cubs got rooked by TV and got a home game taken away! I hate you Steve Garvey!

  • http://www.meaninglis.com Lis

    LOL Steve Garvey LOL!!!

  • dhaab

    One person in the media doesn’t fawn all over Rivera and that makes him a poor journalist?

  • Schmidty

    Debate over…Goose gets in. I think the Cubs are going to fly a flag in right field for him in honor of his stellar years on the north side. :) Too bad the Hawk can’t join him.

  • http://zonersports.com The Zoner

    Twas never a debate about his hall worthiness. Just about his being the most dominant closer ever.

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