Rich “Goose” Gossage continues to moan and groan about the state of modern relief pitching, this time to the Peoria Journal Star’s Mike Nadel :
“Compared to what guys like Rollie Fingers, Bruce Sutter and I did, it’s an easy job now,” Rich Gossage says. “It’s apples and oranges, not even the same position. Anyone can get 30 saves now.”
“I get a kick out of the radar-gun readings they show now,” Gossage said. “If these guys throw 100 miles an hour, I musta thrown 110.”
“It’s a different era,” said Gossage, who pitched for the White Sox from 1972-76 and for the Cubs in ’88. “Saves are so easy to get now that the numbers we put up in the ’70s and ’80s have become devalued.
“But they should be comparing these guys today to us, not comparing us to them. Frankly, it’s insulting to even be mentioned in the same breath as them.”
Gossage insists that today’s set-up men and other bullpen specialists are at least as important as closers.
“They’re the ones who put out fires in the seventh and eighth innings,” he said. “By the time closers get in, it’s the ninth inning and nobody’s on base.
“It’s an efficient way to run a game, but it put stats all out of whack. Thirty saves used to be huge. Now, that’s nothing. I wish I could have pitched like these guys do; I might have had 610 saves.”
I annually include Gossage and Bruce Sutter on my Hall of Fame ballot. And, with no shoo-ins up for election next December, both have a decent chance at finally getting in.
“I hope so,” Goose said. “But even if it doesn’t happen for me, I’m comfortable with my place in baseball history. I set the standard, me and Rollie Fingers. If you built a prototype, it would have been me.”