NEW YORK – Goose Gossage became only the fifth relief pitcher elected to the Hall of Fame, earning baseball's highest honor Tuesday on his ninth try on the ballot.
Known for his overpowering fastball, fiery temperament and bushy mustache, the Goose received 466 of 543 votes (85.8 percent) from 10-year members of the Baseball Writers' Association of America.
Jim Rice was passed over yet again, getting 392 votes (72.2 percent), up from 346 (63.5 percent) last year and 16 short of the 75 percent needed. He will appear on the writers' ballot for the 15th and final time next year, when career steals leader Rickey Henderson will be among the newcomers.
Andre Dawson was third at 358 (65.9 percent), followed by Bert Blyleven at 336 (61.9 percent).
Mark McGwire, a casualty of the Steroids Era in some writers' minds, received just 128 votes — the exact total he had last year. His percentage increased slightly to 23.6 percent, up from 23.5 percent last year when he was on the ballot for the first time.
Gossage, who fell short by 21 votes last year, joins Hoyt Wilhelm (1985), Rollie Fingers (1992), Dennis Eckersley (2004) and Bruce Sutter (2006) in Cooperstown's bullpen.
Gossage was a nine-time All-Star who pitched for nine major league teams from 1972-94 and had 310 saves — 52 of them in which he got seven outs or more.
He will be inducted July 27 in Cooperstown, joined by five men elected last month by the revamped Veterans Committee: former commissioner Bowie Kuhn, former Dodgers owner Walter O'Malley, managers Dick Williams and Billy Southworth and ex-Pirates owner Barney Dreyfuss.