Nov 15, 2019

Dwight Gooden (Part Three) Post Mets Career & Retirement

Dwight Gooden would get caught dirty again, while serving his 60 day MLB suspension in 1994. He would have to sit out all of the 1995 season. 

Though drug abuse and criminal activity is commonly blamed for Gooden's pitching troubles, a lot must be said for the work load put on his pitching arm. It is estimated that Gooden threw over 10,800 pitches from 1983-85, by that time he was just 20 years old. 

By the time he reached his 21st birthday, Gooden had 928 strikeouts between both the minor and major leagues. 

After his suspension he signed with the AL New York team for 1996. His first game was in Texas, the fourth game of the season. He pitched five innings giving up five runs while taking the loss. He would lose his first three starts, before earning his first win on May 8th. In that game he pitched eight innings, giving up three runs on three hits. 

On May 14th, he went into the history books once again. In a game at home against the Seattle Mariners, he threw his first career no hitter. He only struck out five & walked six batters but finally had his no no. He had a strong period from June to mid July winning six straight decisions. 

The rest of the year wasn't as good but he ended up 11-7 with a 5.01 ERA, making 29 starts striking out 126 batters, walking 88 batters in 170 innings. He did not pitch in the post season.

The next season he was 9-5 with a 4.91 ERA. He also pitched a game in the ALDS, getting no decision in a loss to the Cleveland Indians. 

In 1998 he went to the Cleveland Indians as a free agent, making his first start in June. He would lose his first two games, then beat the Minnesota Twins for his first Indians win. Overall he had a good year for the first place Indians, going 8-6 with a 3.76 ERA in 23 starts. 

Post Season: He made the post season again & pitched one inning of relief against the Boston Red Sox, allowing two runs on two walks & a hit. In the ALCS he lost to the AL New York club giving up three runs in 4.2 innings. 

The next year he was 3-4 with an ERA over six, pitching in 26 games, making four relief appearances.

In 2000 he played his final season. moving around from the Houston Astros (1 game) , Tampa Bay Rays (8 games 2-3 with a 6.63 ERA) & the AL New York team (18 games / 4-2 with a 3.36 ERA) overall he was 6-5 with a 4.54 ERA in 26 games.

He pitched in both the ALDS against the Oakland A's & the ALCS against the Seattle Mariners earning no decisions. He did not pitch in the Subway Series.

In a 16 year career Doc Gooden won a Cy Young Award & made four All Star teams. He played in six post seasons, winning three Championships.  

On the mound he finished with a 194-112 record (131st most wins all time). He struck out 2293 batters (58th all time) with 24 shut outs (187th all time) & 2800 innings pitched (175th all time). 

He made 410 career starts (122nd all time) with a 3.51 ERA, 68 complete games & 954 walks (132nd all time). He made 224 put outs on the mound (71st all time) posting a .950 fielding %. 

He did try to make it at Spring Training 2001 but was cut from the roster. He worked for the AL team briefly & then as a P.R. Man for the Newark Bears in the Independent League.

More Drama: In 2002 he was arrested in Tampa while driving while intoxicated. Less than a year later he was arrested again for driving without a license. Two years later, in Tampa he was arrested again, this time for punching his girlfriend.

In 2006 he drove away from a traffic stop & refused to get out of the car. He was arrested again & then again later after violating his probation. He showed up high on coke after arriving late for a meeting with his parole officer. He chose to serve time in jail instead of rehab, hoping it would help his addictions. 

Quotes: "I cant come back here, I'd rather get shot than come back here. If I don't get the message this time, I never will".

Retirement: He made a triumphant surprise return to Shea Stadium in 2008 for the closing ceremonies of Shea Stadium. He received a huge ovation from the Shea crowd & his appearance was one of the day's biggest highlights. He had missed the 20th anniversary celebration of the 1986 Mets because he was in serving time in prison.

On April 13th, he was on hand for the Opening of the Mets new Ballpark, Citi Field. Also In 2009 he was an honored guest at the 1969 Amazing Mets 20th anniversary autograph shows at the Huntington Hilton.

On August 1, 2010, he was officially inducted into the Mets Hall of Fame along with Darryl Strawberry, Frank Cashen, and Davey Johnson. That day he also threw out the ceremonial first pitch to his former battery mate, Gary Carter.

Drama: In his life Gooden has battled many demons. He had his troubles with domestic violence, traffic violations & drug abuse. 

In 2010 he had another setback getting arrested in New Jersey for leaving the scene of an accident, as well as driving while under the influence & endangering a child.

In 2011 he entered the VH1 Celebrity Rehab with Dr. Drew. He stated that many of the clebs were there for the exposure, but he believed in the program. He said it was there that he realized, as a child he witnessed a shooting while hiding in a closet in the family house. And that these were the reasons for his addictions.

In 2013 he released his incredible book; Doc which gives a true insight to the man inside Doctor K. It is a must read for Mets fans. 

In 2013 he appeared in Mets gear,  representing the Mets at the 2013 All Star Game Festivities around New York City. 

He played in the celebrity All Star softball game at Citi Field on that Monday, appearing with former Mets Mike Piazza, Daryl Strawberry, John Franco.

During the 2015 Mets post season run, Doc tweeted out many congrads to the team keeping up the Mets tradition & spirit.

30th Anniversary of 1986 Championship: Gooden was on hand at Citi Field for the 30th Anniversary celebration of the '86 Champs.

In 2016 he appeared on an ESPN 30 for 30 television special with former team mate Darryl Strawberry filmed at the Goodfellas Diner in Maspeth, Queens.

Even More Drama: In June of 2019, he made the headlines once again, disappointing his fans. 

He was arrested in Holmdel Township, New Jersey for cocaine possession after being stopped for driving too slo & having illegally tinted windows. Little over a month later, he was arrested again for DWI in Newark, New Jersey.

As all fans we wish him well & hope he can overcome his demons.

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