By William Kates
Associated Press Writer
COOPERSTOWN, N.Y. (AP) — Even after his induction was complete and the crowd had wandered off, Rich “Goose” Gossage was still trying to come to grips with his new status as a Hall of Famer.
“I still have to pinch myself to realize that I’ve had the type of career I’ve had,” said Gossage, after becoming just the fifth reliever enshrined at Cooperstown.
“My whole career is kind of a storybook. If I had to write a script, I wouldn’t change a thing,” said Gossage, who spent 22 years as one of baseball’s most menacing and dominating relief pitchers.
Gossage was inducted Sunday, along with Dick Williams — one of Gossage’s former managers — who managed six teams in a 21-year career, winning the World Series with the Oakland Athletics in 1972 and 1973. He also won league pennants with the Boston Red Sox in 1967 and San Diego Padres in 1984.
But the crowd of 14,000 was decidedly New York Yankees fans, cheering Gossage with choruses of “Goooooose!
“I’m like a kid going on his first ride at Disney World and not getting off for 22 years,” Gossage said during his acceptance speech.
Gossage had to pause twice to collect his thoughts — including once when he was moved to tears talking about now dead teammates Thurman Munson and Bobby Murcer.