Thursday, January 12, 2006

Goose Gets Fleeced As Sutter Gets In The Hall.....

You wonder what Goose Gossage and Jim Rice have to do to get to Cooperstown....

Bruce Sutter was elected to the Hall of Fame on Tuesday, just the fourth relief pitcher given baseball's highest honor.

Sutter, the first pitcher elected to the Hall with no career starts, was listed on 76.9 percent of the ballots cast by 10-year members of the Baseball Writers' Association of America. The split-finger pioneer collected 400 of a record 520 ballots.

"It was a call that you always hope for, but you never really expect it to happen," Sutter said, adding that he cried when he received the notification. "I didn't think it would affect me or hit me as hard as it did."

Players needed 390 votes (75 percent) to gain election. Boston Red Sox slugger Jim Rice fell 53 short, finishing second with 337 votes (64.8 percent), one ahead of reliever Goose Gossage.

Sutter was on the ballot for the 13th time, the first player elected so late since Ralph Kiner in 1975. Rice was appearing for the 12th time and has three years remaining on the writers' ballot. Gossage was on the ballot for the seventh time.

It might be difficult for Rice and Gossage to gain votes next year, when Cal Ripken Jr., Tony Gwynn and Mark McGwire appear on the ballot for the first time. Each voter may select up to 10 players.

The other players in the Hall who primarily were relievers are Hoyt Wilhelm (elected in 1985), Rollie Fingers (1992) and Dennis Eckersley (2004).

Andre Dawson was fourth with 317 votes, followed by Bert Blyleven (277), Lee Smith (234), Jack Morris (214), Tommy John (154) and Steve Garvey (135).

Let me start off by saying that Bruce Sutter's indcuction was long overdue. He was the best closer in the National League in late 70's and early 80's. He was a innovator as well with his use of the split-fingered fastball. A pitch that made virtually unhittable. The only thing that kept him out was the voters ridiculous bias against relievers.

Jim Rice's situation, I understand. If there was a Scumbag Hall Of Fame, he'd be a charter member for the way he treated the media. If he was as good a player as he was a jerk, he would be a first ballot HOFer.

Because his career stats weren't overwhelming, many of the younger voters won't remember the fact that he was the most dominant hitter in the Junior circuit and just look at the stats which in this post-1994 era are hardly overwhelming. Writers who do remember how good Rice was but can't stand him will focus on Rice's inability to reach 500 homers and 3,000 hits....two marks that guarantee induction. If you're a borderline case (ie: Kirby Puckett, Tony Perez), you better have had a good relationship with either the community, the writers or both. Rice had neither so it looks like voters are going to make him sweat just a little bit longer.

The same goes for Bert Blyleven. His 287 wins, 3,700 k's and 60 shutouts count for something with some voters. But his aloof, obnoxious personality as a player has put off enough voters to keep him out as well.

I think the "Hawk" Andre Dawson will eventually get into Cooperstown. He was one of the best all-around players in the National League for a decade and his stats and multiple gold gloves compare favorably with other recent inductees. Why he's not in already is a mystery to me.

But Gossage's omission baffles me. He was the best closer in the American League in the late 70's and early 80's. Even more impressive considering that back then closers went two or three innings to save games and pitched over 100 innings in a season. He won a world championship in 1978 with the Yankees. He has better career stats than Sutter despite having to contend with the DH (Sutter never faced a DH).

To my knowledge, he had a fairly cordial relationship with the press. He played in as high-profile situation as you can have playing here in the 70's and 80's. My only explanation is the media's continued bias against relievers. Which is stupid.

With sure things Tony Gwynn and Cal Ripken up to bat next year, it's going to be tough for Goose and the others in '07. Hopefully the Steroid backlash will turn enough voters against Mark McGwire that they'll give Goose and company another look.


Blogger Joe said...

Yankees suck! So do geese.

6:33 AM  

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