A series where I post some thoughts about favorite cards. Previous cards in the series are available here.
Have a look the delivery captured on this card:
The amount of effort that's just been exerted is outrageous. It's all arms and legs moving left, right, up, down, and off
balance. If the scene were in a cartoon, you’d be hearing the
sound of screeching tires and pots and pans clanking around.
But the guy probably just hurled a baseball right at the catcher’s target—and close to 100 miles per hour, too. Figure
that one out.
What doesn't take figuring out is how that intense delivery produced success for Mr. Gossage. If the image above is a snapshot of game action from 1978—the year before this card was printed—then "Goose" was on his way to posting 122 strikeouts in 134.1 relief innings
pitched to go along with a nifty 2.01 ERA and a league-leading 27 saves.
also help the Yankees take their second consecutive World Series title
against the Dodgers that fall, pitching six shutout innings across three games, striking out four batters along the way.
And although that was the only World Series victory he'd experience, his pitching success would go on for years and years (22 seasons, in fact). Goose made nine all-star teams from 1975 to 1985, totaled more career strikeouts than hits allowed, and finished with more than 300 saves. And if Major League Baseball kept stats for the most intense delivery and total number of batters intimidated, Mr. Gossage would be pretty high up on those lists, too. Not sure how I'd feel stepping into the box in the bottom of the ninth and seeing that guy winding up 60 feet away from me.
For rearing back and throwing it as hard as you can, for as long as you can, in any way you can, 1979 Topps #225 has a place in my box of favorite cards.