AD Quality Auto 360p 720p 1080p Top articles1/5READ MOREGift Box shows no rust in San Antonio Stakes win at Santa Anita I propose we put up a hall to honor the Goose Gossages of the world, all of the vivid characters, the cut-ups and the one-day wonders whose memories liven sports history but whose cold career statistics fail to impress the snooty Hall of Fame voters. Athletes from all sports, all levels, will be eligible. They’ll be judged on whether fans still talk about them fondly years after their retirements. Call our shrine the Hall of Famousness, and just to establish the tone up front, put a bar in the lobby with a big blonde on every other stool. You’ve heard the old saying that a player belongs in the Hall of Fame if you can’t write the history of his sport without mentioning him. Well, try writing the history of baseball without Roger Maris, the history of football without Alan Ameche, or the history of basketball without Dennis Rodman. Yet none of those guys is in a Hall of Fame. Not that Sutter doesn’t deserve his spot in a Hall of Fame that sets out to recognize serious career achievement. But there should also be a place for Gossage that rewards his role as a glowering, brash-talking, pinstripe-wearing icon of the game. If for nothing else, he should get a plaque somewhere just for being called Goose. This week’s news reminds us how badly sports needs another Hall of Fame, a new kind of Hall of Fame to honor an attribute that the stuffy old halls of fame too often overlook. Namely, fame. Bruce Sutter, the relief pitcher who helped to popularize the split-fingered fastball, was elected to baseball’s Hall of Fame on Tuesday. Goose Gossage, the relief pitcher who threw the ball 98 bleeping mph, came up a few dozen ballots short. We’ll consider ’em for the Hall of Famousness. Google “Roger Maris” and you’ll find 330,000 mentions of a man who can’t get into the traditional hall. Google “Tom Seaver” and you’ll get 289,000 mentions for the man who got into the traditional hall with the highest vote percentage ever. So, did Seaver really achieve more fame than Maris? Maybe all of those athletes who dream of being Hall of Famers would have been better off as not-quite-Hall of Famers. The athletes on the cusp, the ones who just miss year after year, seem to inspire more talk. Bobby Thomson, whose shot was heard ’round the world, but not in Cooperstown, is hereby nominated for the Hall of Famousness. And Wally Pipp, who got more famous for not playing than most do for playing. And, of course, Pete Rose, belly on up – we’ve got a horse tip for you. The Hall of Famousness isn’t just for baseball. Football players who leap to our nostalgic mind: Max McGee, Billy “White Shoes” Johnson, Anthony Davis, Dickie Moegle, Tom Dempsey, Bill Carpenter (The Lonely End). Basketball players: Spencer Haywood, Rudy Tomjanovich, Dick Barnett, Darryl Dawkins, Marvin Barnes, Tree Rollins, Ernie DeGregorio. If you can be identified by one name (Goose, Bucky, Fernando), or an initial (Ernie D.), a sort of plant life (Tree) or a household appliance (Refrigerator), you’re in line for the Hall of Famousness. If your name ever appeared on a high-profile court docket (Curt Flood, as in Flood v. Kuhn, or Denny McLain, as in The People v.), you’re a candidate for the Hall of Famousness. If your name is synonymous with something (Tommy John, as in the surgery), you’re asked to begin preparing a speech for the Hall of Famousness. If you could have been a Hall of Famer but were stopped by injury or tragedy (Tony Conigliaro, Bo Jackson, Len Bias), you’re what we’re looking for at the Hall of Famousness. If you’re better known for your grooming (Joe Pepitone) than your playing, welcome. If you had one huge moment (Gar Heard), greetings. If you had style, made people shut up and watch (Chuck Foreman, David Thompson, Dick Allen, Jack Clark, Andre Dawson), swagger on in here. If people keep quoting you, whether they’re laughing with you or at you (Marvin Barnes), we’re listening. I see A.J. Pierzynzki in the Hall of Famousness someday. If fans somewhere are still cursing your name five years after your retirement, that’s a point in your favor. Baseball’s Hall of Fame in Cooperstown, N.Y., football’s in Canton, Ohio and basketball’s in Springfield, Mass. – not to mention the various hockey, golf, tennis, bowling, horse racing and motorsports halls of fame – do a fine job of what they mean to do. They preserve in plaques and busts the legacies of dozens of men (and women, in basketball’s case) who had enormous impacts on their games. The trouble is that dozens aren’t enough, and statistics aren’t the only measure of impact. So, a new Hall. Goose Gossage is our first nominee. Further suggestions will be accepted at the bar. Kevin Modesti’s column appears in the Daily News three days a week. He can be reached at [email protected] 160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set!