“The toughest teachers I had were the best!”
That’s a direct quote from “Goose” Gossage who was in Charleston, South Carolina to speak at the Hot Stove Banquet
and fundraiser supporting the MUSC Storm Eye Institute and the baseball teams that support the community (The Citadel, Charleston Southern, and College of Charleston).
Starting out as a rookie in 1972 with the Chicago Cubs, ultimately, he played on 9 major league teams in 22 years, and retired in 1994. “Goose” was known for his 100 MPH pitch, and was the top relief pitcher for the ‘70s and ‘80s. He was known also as the closer, and “feared” by other teams! He was 9 times an all-star, and was with the New York Yankees 6 years. In 2007, he was inducted into the Major League Baseball Hall of Fame! Today, he lives in Colorado Springs, Colorado, and is found often working with the Yankees at their spring training camp.
“Goose” spent the afternoon before the Hot Stove visiting with The Citadel Baseball team, and shared a lot of “himself” and experiences. His enthusiasm for the game continues on today as noted by those lucky to hear him speak!
His best advice was to: “Learn from the good, build on it! Learn from the bad, forget it! I had to experience failure before the success I had. Where else can one work and fail, still keep your job, and be named a star?”
“Baseball parallels life! and I made the decision that I would never look back and think that I should ‘a, would ‘a, or could ‘a. So I did my best! You do your best! This game belongs to the fans!”
This was the 8th year that Tom McQueeney State Farm presented the Hot Stove Event. Tommy, a well-known community wide supporter ( he is the founder of the Medal of Honor Bowl) said, “I believe that giving back to where we live is important and glad to be involved and supporting the MUSC Storm Eye Institute. Our youth baseball teams, support and provide many professional opportunities for these fine young people.” Other presenters included the Charleston River Dogs and The Citadel Brigadier Foundation.
Attendees of all ages, waited in line to meet the “Goose” and Brent Gardner,
former baseball player with the College of Charleston, now with the New York Yankees. Brent was the special guest for the Hot Stove, and spent time circulating with all the attendees.
Several young boys, who came with their Dads, brought their baseballs for the signatures.
Aidin, Jacob and Chase all agreed: “We love baseball! This is the best night ever for us!”
Seated at a table were the Wando High School Baseball Team and another for the DADS of the Wando Baseball Team! They were called the Wando Dads!
“We are here to support the team, and also the game of baseball! All of the Dads here are often found in the afternoons, pitching and catching, and supporting our youth!” shared Glenn Hill, whose son (shown in the middle of this photo) plays on the Wando High School team.
Kep Brown (shown far left) is another player on the Wando High School Baseball Team, and has been offered a baseball scholarship at the University of Miami, and the rumor is, that he is also being looked at by scouts for the big leagues! His essay for college admittance focused on his love of baseball!
Dean Stephens, local anchor ABC-News 4, Charleston, was the emcee of ceremonies, and opened with a historical fact about our nation’s love of baseball. First he asked, how many of you in this room of 500 were taught how to play baseball by your father or grandfather?. Seems that our love of baseball over the years has been passed down father to son! Since 1903, 217 fathers, then sons, have played professional baseball!
“Goose” spoke at the Hot Stove, sharing his upbringing in Colorado and first playing baseball in an open dirt field, and then offer to go with the big league after his father’s death.
“There’s not a single thing in my career that I would change!”
He reminisced often about his mentors along the way, and the importance of the team spirit, and perhaps one of the funniest was his telling of Yogi Berra asking him to shave off his trademarked mustache! Seems that the New York Yankees owner, Mr. George Steinbrenner, had instructed Yogi to tell the “Goose” to shave it off, and by the end of the season, which happened to be a winning one thanks to the “Goose”, somehow the mustache remained on his face, and became a part of his iconic look.
The evening came to a close when Bill Murray, the Director of Fun for the Charleston River Dogs joined the dais and while he is often “off the wall with humor!” this night he was somber as he announced the passing of the all-time great baseball player, Ernie Banks, “Mr. Cub” and “Mr. Sunshine” in Chicago this past week. Ernie Banks was with the Cubs his entire career and considered one of the best baseball players of all time!
Bill went onto share his personal experiences watching “Goose” play with the Yankees!
It was the relief pitcher and the closer and a world class comedian and actor, Director of Fun, bantering about!However, as he closed his comments and reflected on the “game” today and importance of engaging youth, Bill Murray shared with all of us a most poignant comment:
“Hope is our best go-to pitch!”
To learn more about Hot Stove, please visit: MLB.com
To learn more about the Charleston River Dogs, please visit: milb/1233/
For a complete photo album of the “Goose” Gossage visit to Charleston, South Carolina, which includes The Citadel Baseball Team, the Charleston River Dogs Hot Stove Banquet and Fundraiser, please visit our facebook.com/backpackjournalist