Monday, March 11, 2013

17 Jim Gosger Kansas City A's Too good for the Minors

Here is the first Athletic's card in the '67 set which was the last year to feature the team in Kansas City. The card design with it's powder blue lettering are as unremarkable looking as the team was in KC. The Atheltics started in Kansas as a AAA minor league team for the Yankees playing in the Majors. Any time that A's team developed a star (Maris), he ended up with the Yankees. Also, if the Yankees weren't quite ready to lose complete touch with a star, they sent him to KC. Enos Slaughter went from the Yankees to the A's then back to the Yankees after Rizzuto was pushed into retirement. A team like that NEVER had a chance to succeed and eventually the KC baseball fans gave up following the team. The A's were sold to owners who had no link the Yankees and they began to build for the future. Stars like Jim Catfish Hunter and Bert Campaneris were kept and off they went to win a string of World Series' in the '70s

Ironically, the photo of Gosger on this card is clearly taken in Yankee Stadium

1967 was Gosger's most stable year in the Majors. The A's used him in 134 games. His .242 avg was average but he played a good role as a utility outfielder. The A's kept him around for their their '68 move to Oakland but left him open for the Pilots to pick up in the expansion draft. Gosger was the opening day centerfielder for the Pilots but it was one of the few games he played for the one and done Seattle franchise before they let him go. While I did read Bouton's Ball Four, I do not remember what he wrote about him in the book. Wikipedia calls him being remembered as the "Yeah,sure" guy. I only remember the insane things Doug Rader did when Bouton ended up with the Astros.

Lucky for Gosger he ended up with the Mets during their miracle ascension to the world championship. Gosger didn't appear in the post season for the champs. He actually only appeared in 10 games and had 16 at bats.

Gosger went to the Expos where he appeared in 91 games and had his best year as a hitter going .263. He spent a lot of his pro career bouncing from the majors the minors. He was in the Giants farm system for part of 71 and he spent his entire '72 season in the Mets farm system before returing to the Majors again with the Mets in time to be on another NL Pennant winner. Again, he didn't appear in the post season but he was on the team. His career came to a close when he failed to hit in the minors in '74.

Gosger looked to be one of those players who was too good to be in the Minors but never good enough to be a regular starter in the Majors. This is common I'm sorry to say and you can see these players right now during the second half of any spring training game being played right now.

As I said earlier, this card was seen and forgotten almost immediately when I first saw it. I never liked the A's and I knew almost none of the players featured on the cards in this set. Just Hunter and Campaneris.

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