Tuesday, January 08, 2008

Welcome to the Hall, Goose.......

Posted by: Miss October

After nine tries, former Yankee closer Rich “Goose” Gossage was finally elected into the Baseball Hall of Fame. Although I only remember watching him on TV during his later years – not his true Yankee “glory days,” I’ve seen him on tons of specials and Old Timers Days and of course the YES Network Yankeeography. From what my Dad tells me, no one could match him, and his Hall of Fame induction today was long overdue.

His bushy moustache can’t be mistaken in public, which makes him easily recognizable to most Yankee fans (at least I’m guessing that is the case.) A few years ago, I went to a Matchbox Twenty concert and prior to the show, as my friend and I grabbed something to eat near the concession stands, I spotted the Goose there – of all places! I wasn’t sure if it was him, but I kept staring... My friend Lori noticed I had a strange look on my face....

"Ok, who's here that you know?"
"I think that guy over there played for the Yankees... but why would he be here? I don't think he lives around here or anything..." I said.
"Do you remember his name?"
"He went by 'Goose' Gossage when he played."
"I remember him ... I think I had his baseball card back when my brother and I would collect them," Lori said. "Do you know his real name? Go up and ask him!"
"Yeah... it's Rich... but I don't want to bother him..."

After a couple of minutes, I decided to go over and say hi -- even though he was in the middle of eating a hot dog.

I went up and asked “Is your name Rich?”
“Yes, do I know you?” he asked.
“No, but I know who you are…. I just had to ask, or else my Dad would have been mad at me.”
“Do I know your Dad?”
“No, but I know who you are,” I said, not wanting to make a scene.
“I’m sorry, I still don’t know who you are,” he said, with a very puzzled look. He actually seemed a bit embarrassed!

After this amusing exchange, I explained that I of course knew that he was a pitcher for the Yankees. He then looked at me strangely and asked “How old are you?” …which made me laugh. I then told him how I remember my Dad telling me how when he went to see the Yankees in a playoff game, he sat right near home plate, and when Goose was on the mound, he pitched so fast he couldn’t see the ball.

Without missing a beat, Goose replied… “It’s amazing what you can do when you’re scared to death!”

It turns out Goose was there with a friend who knew members of the band (my friend and I of course hoped that our new ‘friend’ would invite us to come backstage with them, but alas, there would only be one celebrity encounter that night)… We talked for about 20 minutes, about the game, and what he’s doing now. The coolest thing was, no one else recognized him. I asked him if anyone else had come up to him, and he quipped, “look how young these kids are! They have no idea who I am!”

Goose graciously posed for a picture with me and offered to buy Lori and I some food or drink... (as you can see in the picture, I let him buy me a water!) I immediately called my Dad afterwards to tell him about my run-in, which he thought was awesome. I think I may actually send a congratulatory note and see if I can get him to sign and send back the photo we took. I’m not sure if he’ll remember the encounter, but, it’s something I won’t ever forget… It’s nice when good things happen to good people.

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