The Hall of Fame reliever with the blazing fastball and bushy mustache was honored by the team on Old-Timers' Day with a plaque to be put in Monument Park. ''This is the greatest day I've ever had,'' he told the sellout crowd of 47,493 at Yankee Stadium.
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Gossage debuted in the majors in 1972 at age 20. He saved three games in his first three seasons before notching 26 saves in 1975. The next year he was made a starter and, though he made the All-Star team, struggled to a 9-17 record before being traded to the Pittsburgh Pirates in the offseason.
3 of 11Cliff Welch/Icon SM
Gossage earned his moniker from former White Sox roommate Tom Bradley, who said he looked like a goose when peering in to get the sign from his catcher. Goose flew to the top of the closers crop during the late '70s, saving 20 or more games eight times in nine years, beginning in 1977.
4 of 11John Iacono/SI
A wild follow through was part of Gossage's identity and it helped add to his persona as an intimidator. He was far from wild with the ball in his hands, however, finishing his career with more than twice as many strikeouts (1,502) as walks (732).
5 of 11Peter Read Miller/SI
After helping the Yankees to three AL East titles, two pennants and the 1978 World Series championship in six seasons in the Bronx, Gossage joined fellow ex-Yankee Graig Nettles in title-starved San Diego for the 1984 season. The New York expatriates helped lead the Padres to their first NL West crown, with Gossage collecting 10 wins and 25 saves during the regular season.
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The Padres first postseason appearance was Gossage's last. He saved the pennant-clinching 6-3 win over the Cubs with two shutout innings in the decisive Game 5, then celebrated the last out with catcher Terry Kennedy.
7 of 11John Iacono/SI
After leaving the Padres following the 1987 season, Gossage settled into a role as middle reliever for hire, bouncing among six teams, including the 1991 Texas Rangers, with whom he went 4-2 with a 3.57 ERA.
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Gossage's career came to an end with the Seattle Mariners in the strike-shortened 1994 season. He recorded his 310th and final career save on Aug. 8 versus the Rangers, pitching the last three innings of a 14-4 win.
9 of 11Ronald C. Modra/SI
Gossage works at his farm in Colorado Springs following his retirement from baseball in 1994.
10 of 11David Seelig/Icon SMI
After retiring, Gossage spent time as a part-time spring training instructor with the Colorado Rockies, his hometown team.
11 of 11Mike Groll/AP
Richard Michael Gossage was inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown, NY, on July 27, 2008.
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