The Canadian Press - ONLINE EDITION

Yankees honour Goose Gossage with Monument Park plaque on 68th annual Old-Timers' Day

  • Print

NEW YORK, N.Y. - On a day when dozens of Yankees greats were back on the field in pinstripes, Goose Gossage was overwhelmed to be the centre of attention.

The Hall of Fame reliever with the blazing fastball and bushy moustache was honoured by the team on Old-Timers' Day with a plaque to be put in Monument Park.

"This is the greatest day I've ever had," he told the sellout crowd of 47,493 at Yankee Stadium.

Joined on the field by his family and old-timers from Yogi Berra to Bucky Dent, Gossage unveiled his plaque at home plate and grabbed the microphone Sunday to chants of "Goooose" before New York hosted the Baltimore Orioles.

"I played for nine different teams, and putting on the pinstripes was like the closest thing to an out-of-body experience I've ever had," Gossage said.

"Outside of the day my kids were born and going into Cooperstown, it doesn't get any better than this. It's awesome," he added later. "Just an amazing day. I can't even put into words what it means."

Gossage pitched for the Yankees from 1978-83, helping them to a World Series title during his first season in pinstripes. He returned for 11 games in 1989.

Back in his day, closers routinely pitched multiple innings — and Gossage was no different. He went 42-28 with a 2.14 ERA and 151 saves for the Yankees, leaving him third on the club's career list behind Mariano Rivera (652) and Dave Righetti (224).

"What he did in his era was just incredible," former New York pitcher David Wells said.

After spending so much time in the bullpen at the previous Yankee Stadium, just a few steps from Monument Park, Gossage said he never could have imagined having his own plaque out there with all the others.

The inscription on his marker begins by calling Gossage "one of the most intimidating pitchers ever to don pinstripes."

It becomes the 28th plaque grouped behind the centre-field fence, where seven monuments commemorate such all-time greats as Babe Ruth, Lou Gehrig, Joe DiMaggio and Mickey Mantle, along with late owner George Steinbrenner.

The tribute came one day after the Yankees presented Tino Martinez with a Monument Park plaque in a similar celebration.

Gossage tipped his cap to the crowd, and a video montage of his Yankees highlights preceded his speech. Diana Munson, the widow of former batterymate Thurman Munson, gave the pitcher a framed replica of his plaque, and the team presented him with a flashy No. 54 ring outlined in diamonds.

"I can't tell you what it means to me and my family," said Gossage, recalling that Old-Timers' Day was always his favourite day of the year during his Yankees tenure. "I don't even really know what to say. It's totally overwhelming to me."

When the ceremony was over, the old-timers took the field for a four-inning game.

Ron Guidry was on the mound, Rickey Henderson led off with a double and Mickey Rivers made a smooth catch in right-centre to rob Martinez of extra bases.

Jesse Barfield homered into the left-field corner off David Cone, who trotted from first to third right alongside the ex-slugger.

"I always wanted to run the bases," Cone said. "The only way I could do it was to piggyback off Jesse."

Johnny Damon and Hideki Matsui each made their first appearance at Old-Timers' Day, both drawing a big hand. Matsui came in from left field to pitch to Reggie Jackson in a made-for-Hollywood matchup of Godzilla vs. Mr. October.

Berra and fellow Hall of Famer Whitey Ford, both in their 80s, waved from a golf cart and received standing ovations.

Later on, still wearing his full uniform, Gossage threw out the ceremonial first pitch before the Yankees played the Orioles.

Fact Check

Fact Check

Have you found an error, or know of something we’ve missed in one of our stories?
Please use the form below and let us know.

* Required
  • Please post the headline of the story or the title of the video with the error.

  • Please post exactly what was wrong with the story.

  • Please indicate your source for the correct information.

  • Yes

    No

  • This will only be used to contact you if we have a question about your submission, it will not be used to identify you or be published.

  • Cancel

Having problems with the form?

Contact Us Directly
  • Print

You can comment on most stories on winnipegfreepress.com. You can also agree or disagree with other comments. All you need to do is be a Winnipeg Free Press print or e-edition subscriber to join the conversation and give your feedback.

You can comment on most stories on winnipegfreepress.com. You can also agree or disagree with other comments. All you need to do is be a Winnipeg Free Press print or e-edition subscriber to join the conversation and give your feedback.

Have Your Say

New to commenting? Check out our Frequently Asked Questions.

Have Your Say

Comments are open to Winnipeg Free Press print or e-edition subscribers only. why?

Have Your Say

Comments are open to Winnipeg Free Press Subscribers only. why?

The Winnipeg Free Press does not necessarily endorse any of the views posted. By submitting your comment, you agree to our Terms and Conditions. These terms were revised effective April 16, 2010.

letters

Make text: Larger | Smaller

LATEST VIDEO

Trucks power through flooded underpass at Main St and Higgins

View more like this

Photo Store Gallery

  • A baby Red Panda in her area at the Zoo. International Red Panda Day is Saturday September 15th and the Assiniboine Park Zoo will be celebrating in a big way! The Zoo is home to three red pandas - Rufus, Rouge and their cub who was born on June 30 of this year. The female cub has yet to be named and the Assiniboine Park Zoo is asking the community to help. September 14, 2012  BORIS MINKEVICH / WINNIPEG FREE PRESS
  • Hay bales sit under a rainbow just west of Winnipeg Saturday, September 3, 2011.(John Woods/Winnipeg Free Press)

View More Gallery Photos

Poll

Who has been the Bombers MVP so far this season?

View Results

View Related Story

Ads by Google