Thursday, March 5, 2009
Kind-of Cubs Hall of Famer: Rich Gossage
Rich Gossage was one of the more well-traveled Hall of Famers. He pitched for nine different teams, something I never realized until I started researching him for this post. One of his many stops was with the Cubs.
Goose had previous experience in Chicago, although on the other side of town. He was a White Sox farm system product and broke in the majors with the Sox in 1972 at the young age of 20. He worked out of the bullpen his first four seasons.
Gossage's Rookie Card, Topps 1973
This is an autographed program from 1972.
In 1976, the Bill Veeck group took over the team and converted Gossage to a starter. It was an underwhelming success as he posted a 9-17 record. Being one year away from free agency, and figuring that they couldn't afford him, Gossage and Terry Forster were sent to the Pirates for slugger Richie Zisk, another player a year away from free agency. This was Bill Veeck's first "Rent-a-Player" trade.
After a year in Pittsburgh, Gossage signed with the Yankees as a free agent and had his glory years. A free agent again in 1984, he signed with the Padres and helped lead them to the World Series, shutting down the Cubs in the playoffs.
After the Padres, he began the bounce-around phase of his career by signing with the Cubs in 1988. The Cubs had just traded Lee Smith and needed a new closer. Signing Gossage figured to fill that need. It didn't. Gossage saved only 13 games and was released by the Cubs at the end of spring training, 1989.
Two from Topps, 1988 and 1989 - He was "Rich" to Topps
Two more from Fleer, 1988 and 1989 - "Goose"
1989 Donruss, Score, and Upper Deck
His one year return to Chicago was less than glorious, but Gossage hung on. He spent time with five more teams over the next five years before finally hanging it up after the 1994 season.