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Rich Gossage Reminds Us To Keep Our Principles

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Rich Gossage pitched in the Major Leagues with nine teams over 22 years. Gossage stayed humble and stuck by his principles over his many years in baseball.

Gossage appeared in 1,002 games and led the American League in saves on three occasions. Not only did Gossage save 310 games, but he also compiled 124 wins. Gossage was a nine-time All-Star, who in a seven year period (1977-1983), never had an ERA above 2.62. Rich Gossage was inducted into Baseball’s Hall of Fame in 2008.

“I was brought into situations God couldn’t get out of, and I got out of them.” Rich “Goose” Gossage

The “Goose” was a great pitcher, a tough guy, and a fierce competitor! Gossage is quite outspoken about the way baseball has changed over the years. He makes a valid point about his opposition to players who used steroids getting into the Hall of Fame. Gossage also is correct when he points out that it now takes two or three pitchers to get the same number of outs that Gossage got when he was a “closer.” Gossage frequently came into games in the 7th and 8th innings when there were two or three men on base. 125 of Gossage’s saves required six or more outs. The game has changed with “set up” men pitching and quite often dominating the 7th and 8th innings. Closers usually only pitch one inning these days. Gossage and his fellow Hall of Fame relief pitchers Bruce Sutter and Rollie Fingers were masters of the difficult multi inning saves. Mariano Rivera, Dennis Eckersley and others also were great with one-inning saves.

rich gossage

© Flickr user drumminhands

Gossage has also shown how humble he is in some of his interviews. New Haven Register discussed his desire to see George Steinbrenner and Marvin Miller in the Hall of Fame with him:

“He and Marvin Miller probably changed the game more than anybody the last 100 years,” Gossage said Friday. “George was amazing, in wanting to win, the free agency and the way he utilized it. Wow.”

Gossage admits that, even though he played for several other organizations, nothing really compares to the Yankees.

“I played for eight other organizations so I have a good sense of how those other organizations are operated, and it was nothing like the Yankees,” Gossage added. “They were great organizations. I’m not knocking them, but nobody demanded that excellence like George did.”

Gossage is “old school”. He is a tough guy, and when I share this next story, you will understand why I feel that he is a really good man. When Gossage joined the New York Yankees in 1978, his manager, Billy Martin, told him to hit Texas Rangers outfielder Billy Sample in the head, with a pitched ball. Many pitchers will not disobey a manager’s orders, especially when that pitcher has just joined the team. Gossage realized he could seriously hurt Billy Sample and told Billy Martin that he would not hit him with a pitched ball. Gossage realized it would adversely affect his relationship with Billy Martin, but in the end Gossage did the right thing and showed he was a man of principle.

Your relationships with coworkers and employees matter. Gossage realized this, too, and rather than risk another players’ health, he chose to go against his manager’s wishes. In any career path, be it baseball or even office work, sticking to your principles is important. Sometimes, you need to learn how to say no to others. You can’t always be the “yes man” at work, nor should you be! You have to put up boundaries and those around you must learn to accept those lines and learn to not cross them. Gossage set an example we should all follow in our work and home lives.

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Howard Kellman

Howard Kellman

Howard Kellman is the longtime radio and television “voice” of the Indianapolis Indians and a professional speaker. When he’s not broadcasting, he travels around the country inspiring audiences.
Howard Kellman


Play-by-play broadcaster for the Indianapolis Indians Professional Speaker 2009 inductee Indiana Sportscasters Hall of Fame
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