From the New York Times’ Joe Lapointe. (link courtesy Paul Sommerstein)

When Rich Gossage (above) joins 49 former Yankees scheduled to be at Old Timer’s Day today at Yankee Stadium, he will tell stories about Thurman Munson, Reggie Jackson and Billy Martin. But Gossage also has a recent story to share about solving a 25-year-old family mystery.

While Gossage was signing at an autograph show at a Shop-Rite in Flanders, N.J., last month, a woman approached him and gave him $50. The woman told Gossage that she had stolen the money from his wife’s wallet at a restaurant in Wyckoff, N.J., in 1980 and had been waiting for a chance to make amends.

Sure enough, Gossage vaguely recalled how his wife, Corna, left her wallet in the restaurant’s bathroom, returned to retrieve it about 10 minutes later and found a rose in its place.

“She said she was into drinking and drugs at the time and that’s why she did it,” Gossage said of the woman. “She wanted to return the $50. I gave her a big hug and told her I was happy for her. Conscience-wise, I’m happy she’s free now.”

Since the woman, whose name the Gossages did not learn, was thoughtful enough to leave behind a rose, Corna Gossage always believed she must have been a good person who had a weak moment.

“I think she was probably a nice person who didn’t normally steal,” Corna Gossage said. “I wasn’t surprised she had felt bad all this time. “

Says Paul,

I hope whoever stole Randy Johnson’s fastball returns it soon.