Year Inducted: 1968 (Veterans Committee)
The Washington Senators, for many years, were a second division team through the 1920’s. This is even with the greatest pitcher possibly of all-time in Walter Johnson on the staff. But owner Clark Griffith knew they were missing something to take them into contention; they needed a big bat. Griffith was friends with the owner of the Baltimore Orioles, who were an International League team, Jack Dunn. Dunn had secretly found a special prospect from SoCal that he wanted to sign for $5,000. Griffith discovered the name of this prospect from a golfing buddy, flew immediately to SoCal and offered Goose Goslin a $6,000 contract. Goslin would go on to help the Senators win their first World Series title in 1924, and eventually a Hall of Fame career.
Goslin would play 18 years in the Majors, mostly with the Senators. Goslin would dominate offensively, hitting .316/.387/.500 with a wRC+ of 127. Goslin hit 248 homers, 500 doubles and 173 triples. Goslin was famed as a clutch hitter, driving in 1609 runs and scoring 1483 times. One thing that Goslin was not great at was running the bases. Goslin stole only 187 bases and was a slightly negative base runner in his career.
There were many things Goslin could do offensively to help a ballclub. However, when he was in the minors he developed a reputation as a poor defender in the outfield. In fact, the day he was signed by Griffith, the owner got to see his new outfielder take a flyball off the top of his head. His nickname Goose came from how some writers would describe his flapping arms and his poor routes to outs in the outfield. When first in the Majors, he would get called out by his manager and his owner for his poor fielding. Eventually, he would become a decent outfielder and was worth 50 fielding runs above average.
Goslin’s numbers aren’t eye-popping, especially compared to other left fielders like Willie Stargell or Jim Rice that have already been covered. However, when compared to his contemporaries his dominance becomes clear. Upon his retirement, Goslin ranked 9th in homers and 7th in RBI, clear indications of his dominance at the plate. He may not have been a great overall fielder, but he still was a great player.
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