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Gossage elected to Hall
Pitcher makes it on ninth ballot

NEW YORK - On his first day as a Hall of Famer, Goose Gossage tossed some high, hard ones at Roger Clemens and Barry Bonds.

'I think that if you did do performance-enhancing drugs, you need to come clean and put an end to this,' Gossage said. 'Just fess up.'

After falling short eight times, Gossage received 85.8 percent of the vote Tuesday, easily surpassing the 75 percent threshold for baseball's highest honor and becoming just the fifth reliever in Cooperstown's bullpen.

Angry that the Steroids Era has skewed statistics, Gossage said Bonds and Clemens were in the same situation as far as he was concerned. Both have been accused of using steroids.

'Now we've got to figure out who's telling the truth, and I think that some day we will know the truth,' Gossage said.

Gossage said players shouldn't be afraid of admitting they used performance-enhancing drugs. He cited Clemens' close friend, Yankees pitcher Andy Pettitte.

'Pettitte came clean. There's been other guys that said they did it,' Gossage said. 'Life is going to go on.'

Mark McGwire, his image in shreds since telling Congress in 2005 that he wouldn't talk about the past, received 128 votes from 10-year members of the Baseball Writers' Association of America - matching the total from last year, when he was eligible for the first time. His percentage was 23.6 percent.

'I don't think this steroid thing is over by any means. I'm sure that most of you guys, the writers, don't really know how to approach this,' Gossage during a BBWAA conference call.

Known for his overpowering fastball, fiery temperament and bushy mustache, the Goose received 466 of 543 votes.

'It was very emotional I'll tell you, off the charts. I can't describe the feeling,' he said after learning the news. 'I can't lie. There's been some frustration and some disappointment.'

Jim Rice was passed over yet again in his next-to-last year on the ballot, getting 392 votes (72.2 percent), up from 346 (63.5 percent) last year but 16 short of the 75 percent needed.

'Today's results are obviously a disappointment,' Rice said in a statement. 'I believe my accomplishments speak for themselves, and a majority of the voters seem to agree. It is tough to come this close, but I remain hopeful for the 2009 results.'

Gossage, who fell short by 21 votes last year, was on just 33.3 percent of the ballots when he appeared for the first time in 2000. He joins Hoyt Wilhelm (1985), Rollie Fingers (1992), Dennis Eckersley (2004) and Bruce Sutter (2006) as the only relievers in the Hall.

Gossage was sitting in a recliner in his living room overlooking the Rocky Mountains in Colorado Springs, Colo., when he received the call. He turned to reporters in the room and said, 'Oh my God, I've been elected.'

'A shock wave went through my body like an anvil just fell on my head,' Gossage said. 'I think having to wait makes it that much more special.'