Jim Gosger: Former Member of Two Mets Pennant Teams Who Never Got to Play in the Post Season (1969 / 1973-1974)


James Charles Gosger was born November 6, 1942, in Port Huron, Michigan. The five foot eleven, left hand hitting outfielder, got signed by the Boston Red Sox as an amateur free agent in 1962. 

Gosger hit 19 HRs with the low-level minor-league Winston/Salem club getting a cup of coffee with the ’63 Red Sox team.

In 1965 he hit 14 HRs & batted .299 with AAA Toronto making it to Fenway Park with the Red Sox again by the summer. That summer he drove in ten runs in a minor league game as a teammate of his friend Tony Perez.

After going 0-5 in his first game, he hit HRs in the next two games, driving in 15 runs in 22 games that July. Gosger did well as he hit 9 HRs with 15 doubles in 324 at bats batting .256 in 81 games with Boston that year. He was fortunate enough to have Ted Williams as his hitting instructor while with Boston.

In June of 1966 he was traded along with future Met Ken Sanders to the Kansas City A’s where he would play for the next three seasons. 

In 1968 Gosger moved with Charlie Finley's ball club to Oakland, California, where he saw playing time in 88 games hitting just .180. The A's were getting good on their way to the dominating Dynasty they had in the early seventies & but Gosger wasn't in their plans. 

Seattle Pilot: That winter he was chosen by the Seattle Pilots in the expansion draft as the 55th overall pick. He was an original Seattle Pilot, in the team's only year of existence 1969. His name got some attention in Jim Bouton's book, "Ball Four" for muttering the word "yea sure". 

His time was brief in Seattle, batting just .109 with one HR & one RBI after 38 games. 

1969 Mets Championship Season: He then found himself traded from a last place club to a surprising young New York Mets team that was battling for first place. 

He was traded in exchange for Greg Goossen in early July. At that point the Mets were surging but still four games behind the Chicago Cubs.

He was sent to AAA Tidewater where he hit .341 with a .423 on base %, bashing 10 HRs & 31 RBIs playing outfield in 58 games. He got a September call up to the Amazing Mets.

Mets Debut: He debuted at Shea Stadium on September 7th, 1969, as a pinch hitter.in a game against the Philadelphia Phillies. 

On September 12th, he played in both ends of a historic double header at Forbes Field in Pittsburgh, in which the Mets won both games 1-0 with the winning pitchers (Jerry Koosman & then Don Cardwell) driving in the runs in each game. In that nightcap Gosger doubled, the win put New York two games up in first place.

 On September 28th he drove in his only Mets run in a 2-0 Mets win, where Gary Gentry tossed a four-hit shutout against the Phillies. 

He would play in just ten games as a ’69 Met, batting .133 (2-15) hitting two doubles. Gosger did not make the post season roster but earned $100. 

After all was said & done, he wanted nothing more than to get a Championship ring. But the Mets never gave him one, telling him it would cost him $3500. He was heartbroken & said he returned the check back to clubhouse rep. Ed Kranepool.

After the Mets won the 1969 World Series, they sent Gosger along with Bobby Heise to the San Francisco Giants in exchange for pitcher Ray Sadecki & outfielder Dave Marshall. 

Post Mets Career: Gosger appeared on 1970 San Francisco Giants baseball card, but he never played fa game or them. In early 1970 his contract purchased by the Montreal Expos. He had a good season in Montreal, batting .263 with 5 HRs 11 doubles & 37 RBIs while playing in 91 games.

Trivia: In a game against his old Mets teammates, he was sent to pinch hit against the hard throwing Nolan Ryan. He swung at the first two pitches & let the third strike go right by him. When his manager Gene Mauch asked him why he didn't swing at the pitch he said " I didn't see it".

In 1971 he hit just .157 in 51 games for Montreal, then as traded back to the Mets for four minor leaguers, that December. 

Second Mets Career: He spent the 1972 season at AAA Tidewater batting .244.

1973 Mets Pennant Season: In 1973 he was brought up to an hurting Mets squad in early May, filling in at left field for an injured Cleon Jones. 

On May 3rd, in his Mets return, he got two hits against the Cincinnati Reds, then reached base drawing three walks, the next day. Over the next two weeks he would drive in seven runs helping the team to victories in four of those games. 

On May 11th he broke a 2-2 tie against the Pittsburgh Pirates when he singled off Doc Ellis to drive in Cleon Jones. 

 He remained on the roster until early July batting .239 with ten RBIs. He found himself back at AAA Tidewater the rest of the year as the Mets won the 1973 pennant. That year he did get an NL Championship Ring.

For the second time in four years, he was part of the Mets minor leagues, having played a part in two pennant seasons although he was not with the club during the post season.

After batting .268 at AAA Tidewater in 1974 he was called up to the Mets on August 3rd. He played in 26 games for the fifth place 1974 Mets but only hit .091 (3-33).

Gosger finished off his ten-season career batting .226 with 411 hits 30 HRs 67 doubles 16 triples 177 RBIs & a .309 on base %.

Retirement: After the Mets released him in 1974, Joe McDonald asked him if he wanted to be a batting instructor at AAA Tidewater. He thought it was a great idea, the problem was the Mets never called him for the job. 

After baseball he has been a high school football & basketball referee.

Family: Gosger has been married twice & has five children. He resides in the same house he grew up in at Port Huron, Michigan with his wife Kathleen.

2019: In the 50th Anniversary celebration of the 1969 Mets celebration at Citi Field, the former Mets owners known as the Wilpon's, proved once again they had no business running a baseball team. 

They mistakenly had the organization put Jim Gosger & Jesse Hudsons' name on the scoreboard as deceased players from the 1969 Championship team. A public apology was quickly sent out to correct the error.

Quotes- Jim Gosger: "They called & said 'Jim, we're awful sorry about the screw up. Stuff like that happens, I guess. It upset me more than anything. I'm pretty easy going but stuff like that, when it gets personal...….I know that it probably wasn't intentional, but can't they Google to see I'm still around?"

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