Friday, January 13, 2006


"This individuality stuff is a bunch of crap. The bilious bastards who wrote that stuff about individuality for the Saturday Evening Post don't know anything more about real battle than they do about fornicating."

---General George S. Patton, Third Army

By an earlier post, the Rhino mentioned that I thought Sutter getting into the Hall of Fame while Goose Gossage was again passed over was utter lunacy. I stand by that.

I think the members of the Baseball Writers Association of America (the BBWAA), who select Hall of Famers, dropped the ball. I won't rehash what Tom Verducci said because he mostly got it right. The bottom line is that the Goose was the original gunslinger. I think 23 other managers would have loved to have that guy on their rosters in the '70's. Goose had a fastball and location---not much else but a lot of guts. Every batter he faced with the game on the line knew what pitch he was going to throw. Neither his manager nor his catcher had to call it. Munson just had to drop his glove down and wait. Everyone in the stadium and watching on TV knew what was coming. He didn't care. He just pumped it in. If you beat him, you beat him. You beat his good stuff. No excuses. No second guesses.

The game and relievers have changed. Saves ain't what they used to be. Tony LaRussa and The Eck saw to that. There have been a number of relievers since about whom it's been said , "have great stuff." Baseball writers who say that are talking about the fabled "out pitch." Writers like to talk lovingly about guys who "learn to pitch," as contrasted with "throwers." They're talking about guile---using other pitches to set a strikeout pitch up. I admit, the Goose wasn't long on guile. I don't think he had that luxury. See, unlike today's closers who pitch their 60 or so innings (much of which are in uncontested 9th innings with no scoring threats), Goose was busy logging multiple innings in games with runners on base. He and other relievers of his era were busy putting out fires. That's why those guys became known as "firemen." That doesn't happen too much today. And most of today's relievers don't have half of Gossage's guts.

Can you imagine the Goose , in game 7 of the 1997 World Series, having his moment of doubt and shaking off his catcher while trying to find his "out pitch" for a banjo hitter? I can't. But that's what Joe Table did and he was supposedly one of the best closers in baseball that year. He just forgot one thing: you gotta throw strikes but you gotta have balls.

Now, back to the BBWAA. You qualify for that august body by being a baseball writer for at least ten years before you vote. That means that, before you get to join in on the big personality contest called Hall of Fame balloting, you have to be a clubhouse spread warrior. You need to do your research by wandering down to the clubhouse buffett and gorging yourself before and afer each game. In the old days, cold cuts and fried chicken were generally served. Now, healthier choices are provided. Anyway, enough about the BBWAA's gruelling work days and nights.

They just don't get it. No one has put forth a rational argument why the Goose and Bert Blyleven (more on him in a later post) haven't been elected. They're really no-brainers. Just compare them to other guys who have been elected.

Let's face it. My hero Patton's statement is right on the money when it comes to baseball writers. They're generally a bunch of pimps and panderers. Worse, they're a bunch of lemmings. The first time one of the bunch comes up with an original thought will be akin to a revolution. Well, the writers had their big day. I guess it doesn't matter how wrong they are, as long as the cold cuts keep coming.

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