Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Movember - Token American Style - AL East

For background on Movember see my original post.
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When I started my Movember series of blog posts, I didn't originally take time to consider how many I wanted to publish.  I knew I wanted to do more than one or two, so I started to ponder various numbers associated with baseball.  First, I considered nine - one for each inning - until I realized that would mean basically writing a post every other day until the end of the month, at this point that seemed a bit much.  Doing one for each fielding position wasn't an alternative, as there are nine of those as well.  Other numbers, such as games in a series - five or seven - just didn't seem like the right fit as that number may vary depending on the series.  I finally settled on a moustache from each division.  This gives me five posts in the 15 days left in the month.  Which seems reasonable.  I even sat down and chose a someone from each division (not as easy a task as one might suspect!)

Since I started out in the National League East Division with the Phillies, I decided to tackle the American League East Division next.  As much as I may loath to mention the Yankees, I can't help but bring up the mutton-style moustache of Richard Michael Gossage.

"Goose" Gossage

Goose is often credited with creating the role of the 'closer' in baseball, the main difference from today being that he would often pitch the last three innings of a game, compared to only the final inning most closers pitch today.  Gossage played 22 seasons for nine different clubs, spending the best of his years with the New York Yankees and the San Diego Padres.  

Before retiring in 1994, Gossage pitched in 1002 games, finishing 681, which earned him 310 saves.  He racked up 1502 strikeouts in 1809 innings, and three seasons he led the American League in saves (75, 78, and 80).  He also holds the Yankees career record for ERA (2.14) and hits per nine innings (6.59).  These stellar stats earned him nine All-Star appearances, and he took the mound in three World Series.  
Goose was elected to the National Baseball Hall of Fame in 2008. 

In 1983, Yankees owner George Steinbrenner directed then-manager Yogi Berra to tell Gossage that his beard had to go.  In response, Gossage grew and extended his moustache even further down his jaw.  He was known for his "wild facial hair and gruff demeanor to go along with his blistering fastball," thus earning him a spot in my Movember Moustache Hall of Fame.

For those of you wondering how I chose Gossage as an AL East player when he pitched for nine different teams, he is enshrined in the Baseball Hall of Fame as a Yankee, so that was good enough for me.

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