The 5 Best Yankees Mustaches: Goose Gossage
With the latest Yankee- Matt Carpenter- sporting some hair above the lip, let's take this week to look at the best Yankees mustaches!
Before the Mustache:
Richard "Goose" Gossage was born in Colorado Springs, CO on July 5th, 1951. He would live in the area, attending Wasson High School while playing on the baseball and basketball teams. He played well and got drafted by the Chicago White Sox in the 9th round (204th Overall) of the 1970 MLB First Year Player Draft.
Gossage was assigned to the Gulf Coast White Sox to start his professional career in 1970, and after just 16 innings of work he was moved to the Appleton Foxes in Class-A. He would spend the whole of the 1971 season with the Foxes again, earning Midwest League Player of the Year honors. This helped him get invited to Major League Spring Training before 1972. While there, he not only got the nickname "Goose" thanks to roommate Tom Bradley, but he also pitched his way onto the MLB club.
Goose Gossage would make his MLB debut on April 16th, 1972 and spend the whole of 1972 with the Chicago White Sox, though he did have some control issues. In 1973, those issues only got worse and he spent the second half of the season down in Triple-A with the Iowa Oaks and then the winter with the Ponce Leones in the Puerto Rico league. He started the season again in the MLB in 1974 and outside of a short rehab stint back to Appleton, Gossage would stick around the MLB full time for the rest of his career.
Gossage would spend the next two years (1975-1976) with Chicago, earning All-Star honors in both seasons, before becoming a Pittsburgh Pirate for one year in 1977 after getting traded with Terry Foster for Silvio Martinez and Richie Zisk. He would again be an All-Star and become a free agent after the season.
As a free agent, Gossage signed with the New York Yankees. In his first three years in the pinstripes, Gossage would twice be an All-Star, register Top-5 in the AL Cy Young voting, and twice earn MVP votes as well. All of these honors came in 1978 and 1980. Alongside Ron Davis, the two would form a tandem that started the formation of the modern closer during the late 1970's and into the 1980's. However, going into 1981 Gossage would do something different.
Career Stats (before the Mustache): 423 Games Pitched, 61 Wins (61 Losses), 134 Saves, 3.06 ERA (123 ERA+), 1009.1 Innings, 821 Hits, 836 K's, 452 Walks, and a 1.261 WHIP.
After the Mustache:
Goose Gossage would come into the 1981 season sporting the facial hair style- called a Fu Manchu- that he would wear for the rest of his career, and still wears today. In an interview in 1997, Gossage stated that he grew the mustache both out of spite around the Yankees facial hair policy and to annoy owner George Steinbrenner as the Fu Manchu did break Yankees team rules about how his mustache extended past his lips.
Gossage would spend another 3 years (1981-1983) with the Yankees, again earning 2 All-Star appearances, a Top-5 Cy Young finish, and a handful of MVP votes. At the end of 1983, Gossage's time in New York ran out and he became a free agent for the second time in his career.
Gossage's next stop was with the San Diego Padres, where he stayed for 4 seasons (1984-1987), earning All-Star appearances in his first two seasons and a Top-5 NL Cy Young finish in his first season, though slowing down by the end. Before the 1988 season he was traded with Ray Hayward to the Chicago Cubs for Mike Brumley and Keith Moreland. He lasted one season in Chicago and was released before the 1989 season. In 1989, Gossage spent half the season with the San Francisco Giants- signing with them as a free agent- and went back to the New York Yankees in mid-August to the end of the season after being selected on waivers.
The next stop for the Goose was over in Japan, where he played for one season while playing for the Fukuoka Daiei Hawks. He spent a year in Japan before coming back to the USA while pitching for the Texas Rangers in 1991. After spending a year there, Gossage would sign one year deals with the Oakland Athletics at the end of each season for three straight years from 1992 to 1994 and spend his final year in 1995 with the Seattle Mariners.
Career Stats (after the Mustache): 579 Games Pitched, 63 Wins (46 Losses), 176 Saves, 2.95 ERA (130 ERA+), 800.0 Innings, 676 Hits, 666 K's, 280 Walks, and a 1.195 WHIP. (*Not counting his stats in the NPB.)
After his playing career was over, Gossage would get inducted in the Baseball Hall of Fame after 9 years on the ballot with 85.8% of the vote. In 2014 he was presented with a plaque in monument park.