When someone dies at the age of 90, it’s hardly tragic, but that doesn’t mean it’s not sad – and that’s exactly the emotion that Goose Gossage felt Tuesday when he learned that Yogi Berra had passed away.
“I kind of compared it to when my mom died, oh, seven or eight years ago,” the legendary Yankees pitcher said on CBS Sports Radio’s Tiki and Tierney. “You know it’s inevitable. She was 93, and yet, when they die, it’s like there’s an emptiness and a sadness and happiness and all kinds of things. Emotions come flooding back – and that’s how I felt with Yogi.”
Berra was a bench coach during Gossage’s six years with the Yankees (1978-1983).
“All of us that know Yogi personally and hung out with him and golfed with him – and he was, you guys said it earlier, (a) character,” Gossage said. “Man, he was a character, to put it mildly. One of a kind. I mean, he was genuinely one of a kind. My God, he was hilarious. In any conversation that you ever had with him one-on-one, you had to listen because he was going to come up with a Yogi-ism right there in almost every conversation. You had to laugh at things that he would say. That was Yogi in a nutshell.
“My favorite day of the season was Old-Timers’ Day,” Gossage continued. “Being in that clubhouse with that generation and that era of players was just amazing. The first day, I was like a kid in the candy store looking around. (Joe) DiMaggio and (Mickey) Mantle and all of those greats. If I had to pick one generation or one era to play, it would have been that golden era of baseball.”
Gossage felt that era was more pure.
“It wasn’t about money,” he said. “Money’s ruined the game, I believe. When we didn’t make any money, they didn’t care about us. Now they’re babying the hell out of these guys and the whole game has changed. It was such a pleasure and honor to be in that clubhouse with those guys. It was amazing. I wish that every great Yankees fan could do what I did because it was just amazing.”