Former Member of Two Mets Pennant Seasons Who Never Got To Play in the Post Season: Jim Gosger (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 team mate 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. 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, getting some mention for muttering the word "yea sure" in Jim Bouton’s famous baseball book Ball Four. His time was brief in Seattle, batting just .109 with one HR & one RBI after 38 games.
1969 Mets: He then found himself traded from a last place club, to a surprising winning young New York Mets team. He was traded in exchange for Greg Goossen in early July. At that point the Mets were surging 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 impressed the organization enough to get a September call up to the 1969 Amazing Mets.
He debuted at Shea Stadium on September 7th, 1969 in a game against the Philadelphia Phillies as a pinch hitter. 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.
He would play in just ten games as a ’69 Met, batting .133 (2-15) hitting two doubles. 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. 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 heart broken & said he returned the check back to clubhouse rep. Ed Kranepool.
After the Mets won the 1969 World Series they sent Gosger & Bobby Heise to the San Francisco Giants for pitcher Ray Sadecki & outfielder Dave Marshall. Gosger appeared on 1970 Giants baseball card but he never played for them, as he had his contract purchased by the Montreal Expos in early April 1970. He had a decent season in Montreal batting .263 with 5 HRs 11 doubles & 37 RBIs in 91 games.
Trivia: In a game against his old Mets team mates 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 he said " I didn't see it".
In 1971 he hit just .157 in 51 games & was traded back to the Mets in December for four minor leaguers. He spent the 1972 season at AAA Tidewater batting .244.
In 1973 he was brought up to an injured Mets squad in early May playing left field for an injured Cleon Jones. He got two hits against the Cincinnati Reds, in his Mets return on May 3rd and then reached base on 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 a 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 '74 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 & basket ball referee. He has also done college basketball & baseball as well.
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 another blunder for the Wilpon Clowns & the 21st Century Mets, they mistakenly put Gosger & Jesse Hudsons' name up on the scoreboard for deceased players from the 1969 Championship team, in a 50th Anniversary celebration at Citi Field. 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 ca't they Google & see I'm still around?"