Goose Gossage enjoyed Rangers, but nothing tops world title with Yankees

Posted Wednesday, Jul. 17, 2013  comments  Print Reprints

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In 1991, Richard “Goose” Gossage brought his pitching talent to Dallas-Fort Worth as a member of the Texas Rangers.

Recently, the Hall of Famer returned to North Texas to manage what would ultimately be the winning team in the Heroes Celebrity Baseball Game in Frisco. The game was hosted by Dallas Mavericks star Dirk Nowitzki

Gossage spent 22 years in the major leagues, beginning his career as a starting pitcher. He became one of the game’s first full-time closers, finishing his career with 310 saves. He was a nine-time All-Star, which was the record for a relief pitcher until Yankees closer Mariano Rivera surpassed him in 2008.

As a member of the New York Yankees, Gossage won his only World Series championship in 1978.

What was the highlight of your career? Winning the world championship with the Yankees was awesome. Winning a would championship — that’s why we put the uniform on. I grew up in Colorado Springs and my family was huge Yankees fans. I got to play for nine different teams and loved every moment of every team, but winning that world championship and playing those six years with the Yankees was very, very special. I mean, I played down here in Texas for the Rangers and I loved it in ’91. I loved it down here. You’re in the big leagues, it doesn’t matter who you’re with. I grew up a Yankee fan, so going into the Hall of Fame with a Yankee hat was pretty special.

Were you ever a fan of basketball growing up and did you play? Basketball is my favorite sport to play. I love being on the mound, but I didn’t like those four or five days off between starts. Basketball, as fast as it was, I love playing it and Dirk is my favorite player.

Were the animated conversations between you and (former Yankees catcher) Thurman Munson always about baseball? Not really. Pretty girls behind the seats. He’d have me throw balls off the screen so he could go check them out.

How did you get the moniker Goose? I had a roommate the first year in the big leagues and he called me ‘Goss’ for about a week. He said, ‘I don’t like ‘Goss.’ He said, ‘You look like a goose.’ I asked him how he got that, and he said it was the way I stuck my head out when I took signs.

Is there any truth to the struggle of pitching in Texas heat and humidity? We used to play here when the Rangers first came to Dallas in the early ’70s. We played those 1 o’clock day games. I was telling the driver on the way over here we would take an egg out and put it on the dugout and fry it; that’s how hot it was. I think it’s an issue, but you deal with it. I like what Nolan [Ryan] is doing down here, and they’ve had some great teams. I was really disappointed when they came so close to the World Series. I felt like I was a part of that team because I was really pulling for Nolan and all the guys down here. And all of the fans, this is a great sports city, and Fort Worth is one of my favorite cities in the country.

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