The Goose Is Loose: An Autobiography

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Every baseball fan knows Goose Gossage as one of the great relief pitchers of all time. But in his amazingly rich memoir, Gossage reveals that he is also one of the best--and funniest--writers in sports. Wisecracking, warmhearted, endlessly entertaining, Gossage has a million hilarious stories, and in The Goose Is Loose he tells them all with incomparable wit and style.

Goose Gossage's major league career commenced inauspiciously in 1972 when the skinny twenty-year-old kid from ...

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Every baseball fan knows Goose Gossage as one of the great relief pitchers of all time. But in his amazingly rich memoir, Gossage reveals that he is also one of the best--and funniest--writers in sports. Wisecracking, warmhearted, endlessly entertaining, Gossage has a million hilarious stories, and in The Goose Is Loose he tells them all with incomparable wit and style.

Goose Gossage's major league career commenced inauspiciously in 1972 when the skinny twenty-year-old kid from Colorado nearly decapitated Chicago Cubs legend Ernie Banks. Twenty-two years later, the Goose--a veteran of nine ball clubs--had become a legend himself: a dominating relief pitcher whose live fastball registered at the upper limit of the radar gun. But Goose also emerged as a genuine character with his trademark Fu Manchu mustache, unflinching stare, and the ecstatic shouts of "GOOOOOOSE!" that greeted him whenever he took the mound.

Now Gossage recounts the highs and lows of those twenty-two incredible years. Here are his encounters with legends like Ernie Banks, Dick Allen, Mickey Mantle, Carl Yazstremski, Nolan Ryan, and Ken Griffey, Jr. Here is the story of how the Goose became a hot property at the age of twenty-six, only to stumble badly when he started playing with the Yankees. But Gossage bounced back and rose to the heights of Yankee stardom during the wild and crazy "Bronx Zoo" years of the late seventies and early eighties.

It's all here. Shower fights with Cliff Johnson; the running feuds with Billy Martin and George Steinbrenner; the big move from the Yankees to the Padres; the notorious "beer in the clubhouse" showdown with Padres owner Joan Kroc; the constant antics with fun-loving teammates like Terry Forster and Thurman Munson. Baseball's lore, gossip, and salty tales come alive with an insider's savvy and a stand-up comic's flawless sense of timing.

What a piece of luck for readers and sports fans alike that baseball's unrivaled relief pitcher should also have perfect aim as a writer.

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Editorial Reviews

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The Barnes & Noble Review
A rotund cannon with a Fu Manchu mustache, herky-jerky delivery, and 98-mile-per-hour fastball, relief pitcher Richard "Goose" Gossage brought showmanship and competitive drama to his role as closer. In his entertaining autobiography, The Goose is Loose, Gossage recounts his 22 years of major league experience with honesty, candor, and the sheer personality that made him famous.

The Goose debuted with the White Sox in 1972 and finished his career with the Seattle Mariners in 1994. In between, he toured the majors: Pirates, Yankees, Padres, Cubs, Giants, Rangers, A's, and even the Daiei Hawks in the Japanese League. Over his career, Goose amassed 310 career saves to go along with 124 wins, a 3.00 ERA, and 1,502 strikeouts in 1,809 innings. In his first year of Hall of Fame eligibility, he and Bruce Sutter were the top vote getters among relievers, though each fell short of the 375 votes needed to qualify (Sutter received 192 votes, Goose 166).

Goose respected the game of baseball and couldn't stand losing. His voracious appetite for life was renowned, as was his pedal-to-the-metal style. The night that San Diego won the 1984 pennant, Goose hosted the team celebration. Three guesses who corralled Padres owner Joan Kroc (complete in evening gown and coiffed hair) and tossed her into the deep end of the swimming pool.

On occasion, Goose got outpranked. Once, while with the Cubs, he was sitting on the can and enjoying his Sporting News -- which Ryne Sandburg proceeded to stealthily light on fire. And in a scene that has to be read to be believed, Goose was lured into a mud-wrestling engagement with a female version of himself.

Goose's days with the White Sox, where he alternated between starting and relieving, soured in the infamous 1976 campaign. "Play for a team that wins 64 games (out of 161) in six months and you'll discover just how interminable a baseball season can be. Try keeping your composure, never mind a straight face, when you're forced to play in short pants." From the White Sox, Goose was traded to the Pittsburgh Pirates, where he had a breakout year (11 wins, 26 saves, 1.62 ERA, 151 K's in 133 innings) and established himself as an overpowering closer. The Pirate team was a loose bunch that, several years later, would win the World Series, and who, like the White Sox, sported unfortunate uniforms: "Occasionally, we wore a solid yellow uniform, which made Willie Stargell and Dave Parker look like giant bananas."

During his career, Goose participated in many of baseball's memorable games and pivotal events. Two innings after Bucky Dent hit his "Shot Heard 'Round the World," Goose preserved the 5-4 victory by vanquishing Carl Yazstrzemski with runners on first and third. Several years later, Goose served up George Brett's pine-tar home run. He witnessed Pete Rose's 4,192nd hit, and the following year made Rose's final major league at-bat a three-pitch strikeout (the last pitch was "a nasty backdoor slider. A bastard pitch"). Goose saved the first night game at Wrigley Field, and when Nolan Ryan notched his 308th career win, Gossage closed the game -- for his 308th career save.

In addition to the memorable games, Goose recalls some of baseball's worst tragedies. Goose was vacationing with his wife in Puerto Rico when Roberto Clemente was killed, and he was a friend and teammate of Thurman Munson's when Munson's plane went down.

Goose was forced to undergo a drastic change in lifestyle after a doctor told him he would have to give up booze to keep pitching. "As you may have surmised," writes Goose, "the list of things in life I love more than beer is short. One of the few items on it, however, is baseball. If my being physically able to pitch hinged on giving up beer, so be it. That's what I'd have to do." Effective to the end, Goose didn't retire willingly -- he simply ran out of job offers and has since stayed off the sauce.

Gossage finishes his book by mentioning his chances at going to Cooperstown: "If it happens, fine. If not, that's okay, too. I have many fond memories from my long years of service in the major leagues, and not a single regret." One senses that Goose is graciously understating his feelings about the Hall of Fame, and that Cooperstown would be a fitting place for this well-traveled baseball talent and personality. (Brenn Jones)

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
One of baseball's first great relief pitchers, Goose Gossage amassed 310 saves in a 22-year career. He also collected enough stories to compile a baseball memoir in which he recounts innumerable hijinks, lauds dozens of teammates and coaches and takes readers through his early struggles and his most memorable appearances, such as the 1978 one-game playoff between the New York Yankees and Boston. Though it seems each page has more cliches and desperate similes than a baseball has stitches (on his arrival in Japan, "I stood out like Gulliver among the Lilliputians, towering over the Japanese people like an NBA center"; on the riot following the 1984 World Series in Detroit, "Seeing all those thousands of Tiger fans getting crunched and pummeled by mounted police reminded me of a Godzilla movie"), Pate, who has collaborated on several sports autobiographies, makes up for these bad patches by including handfuls of juicy baseball factoids. Unlike many athletes who chronicle their lives, Gossage is not afraid to throw inside. He takes to task players he considers selfish and lazy, such as Rickey Henderson and Jose Canseco. He paints a harsh picture of people with whom he's clashed, most notably team owners George Steinbrenner and Joan Kroc and managers Billy Martin and Bobby Valentine. As for Gossage himself, readers will have a mixed opinion. Sometimes he criticizes himself for his more shameful or boneheaded escapades; sometimes he gives himself a free pass by making lame excuses or jokes. This book is no Bronx Zoo, just as Gossage was no Sparky Lyle, but its "no BS, let-the-chips-fall-where-they-may" approach makes it as engaging as any sports bio in the game today. (Mar.) Copyright 2000 Cahners Business Information.|
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780345430687
  • Publisher: Random House Publishing Group
  • Publication date: 2/29/2000
  • Edition description: 1 ED
  • Pages: 352
  • Product dimensions: 6.49 (w) x 9.57 (h) x 1.25 (d)

Meet the Author

Russ Pate is a Dallas-based writer and author who has previously collaborated with Cynthia Cooper, Mike Singletary, Bob Watson, Robert Landers, and Doug Sanders.
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Customer Reviews

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 28, 2000

    Couldn't Put the Book Down!

    This book is excellent. Goose tells the story of his 22-year career with all of his major league teams. He tells of the many players he's played with, such as George Brett and Mickey Mantle. I recommend this book highly to all baseball fans. I found it very enjoyable.

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