Goose Gossage Wasn't Half the Pitcher Mariano Rivera Is

Colin LinneweberSenior Writer IMarch 9, 2010

TAMPA, FL - FEBRUARY 25:  Mariano Rivera #42 of the New York Yankees poses for a photo during Spring Training Media Photo Day at George M. Steinbrenner Field on February 25, 2010 in Tampa, Florida.  (Photo by Nick Laham/Getty Images)
Nick Laham/Getty Images

Baseball Hall of Famer Goose Gossage claimed this past weekend that New York Yankees icon Mariano Rivera is not the best relief pitcher in the history of Major League Baseball (MLB).

“I think he (Rivera) is a tremendous relief pitcher,” said Gossage, a nine-time All-Star who played his last game for the Seattle Mariners in 1994. “He’s the best, current-day, modern reliever. When I was inducted into the Hall of Fame, I was told that I had 53 saves with seven-plus outs. I was told that Mariano had one and Trevor Hoffman had two. So, I think that says it in a nutshell.”

Gossage, who retired with a record of 124-107 and a 3.01 ERA, is an utter “nut” to even insinuate that he is a better pitcher than Mariano Rivera is.

Rivera, a 10-time All-Star selection and instrumental piece of five championship teams, has recorded 526 saves with a minuscule 2.25 ERA since he made his professional debut for the Yankees in May 1995.

Tellingly, Rivera owns a superior lifetime earned run average than Gossage does despite the fact that he pitched in the apex of the dreaded Steroid Era.

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At 39 years of age in 2009, Rivera managed to have one of the finest seasons in his storybook career.

At this juncture, everything indicates that the native of Panama and his mid-90s mile-per-hour cut fastball will remain a force on the hill for years to come.

However, even if “Old Father Time” were to immediately pull alongside Rivera this spring, “The Sandman” would still hang-up his cleats as a far more accomplished hurler Goose Gossage.

Exit light

Enter night

Take my hand

“The Goose” is off to never-never land