Tuesday, January 8, 2008Gossage voted into baseball Hall; Rice just misses
ESPN.com news services
NEW YORK -- Rich "Goose" Gossage became only the fifth relief pitcher elected to the Hall of Fame, earning baseball's highest honor Tuesday on his ninth try on the ballot.
Known for his overpowering fastball, fiery temperament and bushy mustache, the Goose received 466 of 543 votes (85.8 percent) from 10-year members of the Baseball Writers' Association of America.
"It was very emotional, off the charts. I can't describe the feeling," Gossage said.
Former Boston Red Sox outfielder Jim Rice was on 72.2 percent of the ballots, just 16 votes shy of the 75 percent needed. He has one more year of eligibility left on the ballot.
Last year, Gossage was on 71.2 percent of ballots and Rice appeared on 63.5 percent.
Former Montreal Expos and Chicago Cubs outfielder Andre Dawson was third in this year's voting, appearing on 358 ballots, or 65 percent. Pitcher Bert Blyleven was on 336 ballots, or 61.9 percent.
Dawson's teammate in Montreal, outfielder Tim Raines, was alone among 11 first-ballot candidates in qualifying to remain on the ballot, with 24.3 percent or 132 votes. Candidates must receive 5 percent to remain on the ballot for the next year.
Rice will appear on the writers' ballot for the 15th and final time next year, when career steals leader Rickey Henderson will be among the newcomers.
Mark McGwire, a casualty of the Steroids Era in some writers' minds, received just 128 votes -- the exact total he had last year. His percentage increased slightly to 23.6 percent, up from 23.5 percent last year when he was on the ballot for the first time.
Gossage, who fell short by 21 votes last year, joins Hoyt Wilhelm (1985), Rollie Fingers (1992), Dennis Eckersley (2004) and Bruce Sutter (2006) in Cooperstown's bullpen.
Gossage was sitting in a recliner in his living room overlooking the Rocky Mountains when he received the call. He turned to reporters in the room and said, "Oh my God, I've been elected.''
"A shock wave went through my body like an anvil just fell on my head,'' Gossage said about his reaction. "I think having to wait makes it that much more special.''
His mother died in 2006, Gossage said with tears welling up in his eyes, and he had hoped she would live long enough to see him inducted.
Gossage was a nine-time All-Star who pitched for nine major league teams from 1972-94 and had 310 saves -- 52 of them when he got seven outs or more.
The first time he appeared on the Hall ballot in 2000, Gossage received only 33.3 percent of the vote.
He will be inducted July 27 in Cooperstown, joined by five men elected last month by the revamped Veterans Committee: former commissioner Bowie Kuhn, former Dodgers owner Walter O'Malley, managers Dick Williams and Billy Southworth and ex-Pirates owner Barney Dreyfuss.
Williams managed Gossage on the San Diego Padres.
"There isn't anybody I'd rather go in with than Dick Williams,'' said Gossage, who spoke with his former manager right after getting the news.
The Associated Press contributed to this story.http://sports.espn.go.com/mlb/hof08/new ... id=3186626