It’s that time of year, when old pitchers and catchers report how much better they were than kids these days. Goose Gossage is a Hall of Famer in that category, and he’s back to again go on an epic rant against baseball these days.
Here’s part of it, where he bemoans the one-inning save and demonstrates his knowledge of math.
Gossage: “Ah! … And let me tell you something, these guys that pitch one inning with the three-run lead (and get a) save. It shouldn’t even be a save for one inning and a three-run lead. This is not a knock against Mo. I’m just trying to make a point that I’d like to know how many of Mo’s saves are of one inning with a three-run lead. If everybody in that (bleeping) bullpen can’t save a three-run lead for one inning, they shouldn’t even be in the big leagues. I’d like to know what percentage of Mo’s 650 saves  or whatever he’s got are one inning. I’ll bet it’s over 20 percent. Look it up.”
It’s at this point where I feel compelled to post a video of George Brett’s home run in Game 3 of the ALCS. Gossage would have gotten one of those old-timey 3-inning saves except he gave up a three-run home run and gave up the lead for good.
Anyway, getting back to Gossage’s comments:
NJAM: So when people say Mo is the greatest reliever ….
Gossage. “(Bleep). That’s bullshit. Do what I did and we’ll compare apples to apples. Or Sutter or Rollie Fingers, the guys that set the bar. I’ll tell you what, setup guys have a harder role today than closers today.”
NJAM: Why is that?
Gossage: “They come in with inherited runners. They come into jams.”
Now, on this point, even though I think he’s cantankerous and barking up the wrong tree in his rant on Mariano Rivera, Gossage has a point. More managers should use their best relievers as firemen, and in the highest leverage situations, even if it is before the 9th. The Royals and the Indians have made playoff runs by utilizing the best reliever before the 9th, even if he wasn’t nominally the “closer.”