Dwight Gooden

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Dwight Gooden.jpg

Dwight Eugene Gooden
(Doc or Dr. K.)

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Biographical Information[edit]


Dwight Gooden was signed as a 1st round pick in the 1982 amateur draft by the New York Mets and scout Carlos Pascual. In his only complete season in the minors, at age 18, Gooden was 19-4 with 300 strikeouts in 191 innings.

Gooden, nicknamed "Doc" or "Doctor K", was a sensation when he first came up with the Mets, leading the National League in strikeouts in his first two seasons. He was the 1984 National League Rookie of the Year (the youngest to win the honor) and followed that up by being the 1985 National League Cy Young Award and Triple Crown winner. His 1.53 ERA that year is one of the lowest of the live-ball era. He finished the 1984 season 8-1 with a 1.07 ERA, was 24-4 with a 1.53 ERA in 1985, and began the 1986 season 5-0 with a 1.04 ERA. During that phenomenal stretch, encompassing more than 400 innings pitched, most of it before his 21st birthday, he was 37-5 with an ERA of 1.38.

He was the youngest player in the National League in 1984, and by 1989 he was the second highest-paid player in the league.

His career after 1985 was full of ups and downs. He had drug problems and injury problems, but was still able to contribute to the World Series-winning New York Yankees teams of 1998 and 2000, in addition to the Mets' World Series title in 1986. He threw a no-hitter in 1996 against a Seattle Mariners lineup that included Alex Rodriguez, Ken Griffey, Jr. and Edgar Martinez. His two most similar players through 2006, according to the similarity scores method, were David Cone and Tommy Bridges.

In his first autobiography, he claims that he was once held hostage by Kevin Mitchell. He had a number of run-ins with the law in the 1980s and 1990s, most of them related to substance abuse. He seemed to turn his life around after retiring from baseball. In the late 2000s, he served as senior vice-president of the Newark Bears of the Atlantic League, until November 2009. He then accepted a position as a spring training instructor with the Mets, but backed down without offering an explanation; one of his tasks would have been to counsel young players about the dangers and temptations of playing in New York. On March 24, 2010, he was charged with driving under the influence of drugs, child endangerment and leaving the scene of an accident after an automobile accident at 9:00 a.m. in Franklin Lakes, NJ. More concerns emerged about his health in 2016, when his son, Dwight Gooden Jr. issued a message stating that his family was very concerned about his health and his ability to take care of himself; former teammate Darryl Strawberry added that years of cocaine addiction had taken a big toll on Dwight and that he was still battling dependency issues. On July 22, 2019, he was again arrested on impaired driving charges in Newark, NJ, six weeks after another arrest in June on charges of possession of a controlled substance after being arrested for driving erratically.

He is the uncle of Gary Sheffield. Gooden and Sheffield were also neighbors, living on the same block in Tampa, Florida.

Notable Achievements[edit]

NL Rookie of the Year
1983 1984 1985
Darryl Strawberry Dwight Gooden Vince Coleman
NL Cy Young Award
1984 1985 1986
Rick Sutcliffe Dwight Gooden Mike Scott

Further Reading[edit]

  • Chris Donnelly: Doc, Donnie, the Kid, and Billy Brawl: How the 1985 Mets and Yankees Fought for New York’s Baseball Soul, University of Nebraska Press, Lincoln. NE, 2019. ISBN 978-1-4962-0553-7
  • Charles F. Faber: Baseball Prodigies: Best Major League Seasons by Players Under 21, McFarland, Jefferson, NC, 2014. ISBN 978-0-7864-7331-1
  • Dwight Gooden and Richard Woodley: Rookie: The Story of My First Year in the Major Leagues, Doubleday, New York, NY, 1985. ISBN 978-0385230933
  • Dwight Gooden and Elis Henican: Doc: A Memoir, New Harvest, Amazon Publishing, New York, NY, 2013. ISBN 978-0544027022
  • Matt Monagan: "The magic of Doc Gooden's 1983 MiLB season: 'I don't know how to hit this guy,' was a common refrain", mlb.com, September 14, 2021. [1]
  • Marty Noble: "How to Hit Dwight Gooden", in Zander Hollander, ed.: The Complete Handbook of Baseball: 1986 Season, Signet Books, New American Library, New York, NY, 1986, pp. 6-15. ISBN 0-451-14177-6
  • A.J. Perez: "Concern over Dwight Gooden's welfare grows", USA Today Sports, August 22, 2016. [2]

Related Sites[edit]