At his formal introduction on Wednesday as the newest member of the Hall of Fame, Bruce Sutter expressed dismay that he couldn't be accompanied through the shrine's doors by Goose Gossage. Gossage feels the same way. Judging by his immediate reaction upon learning he'd again fallen short in voting by baseball writers, however, the Goose feels more, too. Anger. Disbelief. Frustration.
"I just don't get it. I'm at a loss for words," Gossage told the New York Post after being informed he hadn't garnered enough votes in his seventh year on the ballot. "I just can't believe Sutter got in before me. "He deserved it. I was hoping Sutter and I could go in together. ... I don't know if I ever will make it." Sutter, who himself had to wait until his 13th year of eligibility for election, relates to the irritation voiced by Gossage, admitting he'd also almost given up hope. "As long as you're on the ballot, you have a chance," Sutter said on Wednesday in Manhattan. "Just being on the ballot is such a great honor." Gossage hardly felt honored to realize that he will be on the ballot for an eighth year. After proving himself across a 22-season career in which he recorded 310 saves, he's livid that he still has to defend himself. In the Post, he sounded up for that challenge. "You know what, I never hear from these guys who don't vote for me," he said. "But I'll take on any writer, anywhere, on any show, and I will bury him. "I'm not a campaigner. I'm just asking questions. The only reason I have ever spoken out is that you hate to see injustices." Gossage most resented the fact that such neo-closers as Mariano Rivera and Trevor Hoffman are celebrated while he and such peers as Lee Smith are snubbed. "The job is so easy because they're only pitching one inning," he said. "Writers have forgotten how the role has changed." However, more of them are impressed by how Gossage handled his role, a point he overlooked in his vent to the newspaper. Gossage was named on more than 64 percent of the ballots in the most recent vote, a significant jump from the 55 percent he earned last year and a good omen for his future chances. Sutter scored 66.7 percent last year before breaking through in the results announced on Tuesday, with 76.9 percent.
Tom Singer is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.