Goose Gossage and Dick Williams were inducted to the Baseball Hall of Fame today. Gossage threw hard and harder. He intimidated. Of course the one pitch I remember seeing him throw was a fastball he threw to George Brett in the 1980 ALCS that Brett hit out. A three run homer that put the Royals into the World Series. But, really, Gossage was the Mariano Rivera of his day. But meaner.
Dick Williams was manager of the Expos when I started getting interested in baseball, from 1977 thru 1981 and a lot of what I think about baseball came from him and his teams. At the time I thought that he was a genius. The TV commentators told you that over and over. And I didn't realize that they were PR people for the team, that they weren't always honest. Looking back at the talent on those Expo teams, I can't help but think he should have gotten more out of them. He had great players but then he'd have a couple of just awful players that would drag the team down.
A pattern thru out his career was strange choices with second basemen. With the Expos the he had this love for Rodney Scott. Rodney was just an awful batter. For example, in 1980, the Expos finished in second, one game back of the Phillies. Scott played 154 games and batted .224 with zero home runs. Scott would bat second. Now he was fast, stole 63 bases that year. And we were told, by Williams and by the commentators, what a great fielder he was.
You have to figure that if the he had used a real second baseman, or, at very least, had Scott bat at the bottom of the order they would have finished first.
In '79 with Scott at second base the Expos finished second two games back. Again a with a second baseman that could hit a little they would have been first.
In 1982 Williams moved on to the Padres and he got into a fight with management right away.....he wanted the club to trade for Scott. When they wouldn't, he moved an outfielder to second base. How many times have you seen that happen in the major leagues? It was a pretty strange move.
In the '70's with Oakland he had 3 second basemen and he would pinch hit for each as they came to bat, sort of like using a DH for the second basemen. He did win two World Series with the A's, but he had an amazing group of players.
I'm not sure I would put him in the Hall of Fame.....is tough to pick managers for the Hall. How do you separate the manager from the team. Williams won two World Series'. Well, so has Cito. I wouldn't nominate Cito for the Hall. But then Williams won 1329 games. And that's a good number....I just wish he would have won a few more with the Expos.