Dwight Gooden- Part Two: After the Championship (1987 -1994) the Final Mets Years

1986 Post World Series Drama: In the first real big sign of trouble in Gooden's young life was when he missed the team victory parade. It wasn't until years later he revealed he was getting high the night before on a cocaine binge & was unable to recuperate for the morning parade. The Mets announced that their star pitcher had overslept, but no one believed it.

Years later he revealed, the Night after winning World Series Doc was in a housing project in Roslyn Long Island getting high with friends & strangers. He partied all night passed out & missed the parade. He started drinking then smoking pot. 

He began using coke in 1985 at his cousin's house trying to score pot. His cousin left him & there were two girls in the apartment in lignite playing together in the bedroom. They invited him in, he tried the coke & the girls & was hooked.

More Drama:
Gooden was soon arrested on December 13th, 1986, in Tampa, Florida after fighting with police. Rumors of drug use started to arise, and then it was proven when he tested positive for cocaine during spring training in 1987. 

He shattered images of his greatness for so many fans by coming up dirty. He entered a rehabilitation center on April 1, 1987, to avoid being suspended and did not make his first start of the season until June 5th two months into the season. 

Gooden's rehab stint was like a vacation in Manhattan. He ate good foods & had newspapers smuggled into him. The rest of the patients in the rehab center did not enjoy the luxury's Dr. K did. He didn't believe he was an addict & didn't believe in the program. 

Obviously in the long run it did not work, he stopped the cocaine for a while but after his first game back from rehab, he started drinking again on the plane ride.

Return to Baseball:
In his first start after rehab, he took the hill at Shea Stadium in front of
51,400 fans against the Pittsburgh Pirates.
centerfieldmaz was there with Darthmaz. Gooden went up against the Pittsburgh Pirates, striking out his first batter, Barry Bonds to the delight of the fans he got a standing ovation. 

Doc went six innings allowing four hits, on one run while striking out five, getting the 5-1 win.

In his book-Doc, he said he was overwhelmingly humbled by the warm reaction he received from the fans after returning.
In his next start he earned his second win in a 13-2 victory at Wrigley Field. He struck out ten batters with an eighth inning, two run, four hit performances in Chicago. On June 15th, he allowed four runs in Montreal taking his first loss, as the Mets got shutout by Dennis Martinez 4-0. 

He then won three straight games where he allowed two runs or less each time. Two of those games were complete game wins. Gooden was 5-1 with a 2.12 ERA by the start of July.
On July 5th he took a loss to the Reds where he gave up six runs. On July 10th he beat the Astros in his first trip back since last year's NLCS.

At the All-Star break he was 5-2 with a 2.90 ERA, 46 strike outs & 16 walks in 49.2 innings in seven starts. The Mets were in third place 9.5 games back.

Shut Out: On July 16th in his first game after the break, he threw a seven-hit shutout over the Cincinnati Reds at Shea Stadium. He only struck out two & walked just one as the Mets gave him nine runs for support. 

On July 21st, he gave up five earned runs in a loss to the Braves. On July 30th, he closed out the month with a complete game win in St. Louis. 

On August 4th, he recorded a season high 11 strike outs, the first time he had double figures in Ks in two months. He allowed just one run in eight innings scattering six hits with three walks in the 9-3 win.

In his next two starts he pitched both games to the Chicago Cubs, in 14 innings combined he gave up a total of eleven earned runs, with two HRs. He took a loss & a no decision in those games.

Gooden rebounded winning his next three starts, never allowing more than two runs. On August 18th his win got him to the ten-victory mark.  

Shut Out: On August 28th, in a 4-0 Mets win at Candlestick Park he threw his second shutout of the year. He gave up just four hits with six Ks & four walks to get to 12-4. He was posting a 2.86 ERA along with 98 Ks. In his next game he passed the 100 strike out mark for the third straight season.

The Mets began September in second place 4.5 games behind the St. Louis Cardinals. A disappointing September all around had Gooden go 3-3, allowing five runs or more in two of those losses. 

Shut Out: On September 16th, the Mets offense exploded for ten runs in Montreal, led by Darryl Strawberry's 36th HR. Gooden threw a three-hit shutout where he matched his season high of 11 strike outs. In the game he also collected two hits.

On September 21st, Gooden got his last win of the season in Chicago. The Mets got as close to 1.5 games back of those pesky Cardinals in mid-September, but they couldn't catch them. They finished second in the days of no wild card winner, three game out.

For 1987, Gooden went 15-7 (fifth most wins in the NL) with a 3.21 ERA, (5th best in the NL). He struck out 148 batters (9th in the NL) with three shut outs & seven complete games (6th in the NL) in 179 innings pitched in 25 starts. 

The Mets finished second to the Cardinals disappointing their fans who expected a repeat of the Championship.

1988 NL Eastern Champion Season: In 1988, Gooden earned the win on Opening Day in Montreal. Although he lasted just five innings, allowing four runs on eleven hits The Mets won 10-6. 

In his second start, he lasted six innings taking a 4-3 win over the Phillies. 

Shut Out: On April 15th, he pitched six shutout innings of an official game, getting credit for a two-hit shutout over the Cardinals 3-0.

In his next four starts, he pitched four straight complete games. On April 20th he had a season high 11 strike outs, the only game all year he would reach double figures in Ks. After a n in Atlanta, he tossed his second shutout.

Shut Out: On May 1st, Gooden threw aa four hit shutout in Cincinnati. He struck out six & walked just one to get to 6-0 on the season with a 2.25 ERA.

The Mets went on a long road trip to Houston & the West Coast where they went 9-4. On May 16th, after the Mets were swept San Francisco, Gooden ended the skid in San Diego. The Mets gave him seven runs as he gave up four runs on ten hits getting the win. 

Shut Out: On May 21st Gooden beat Tim Belcher & the Dodgers in Los Angeles throwing a four-
hit shutout. He struck out six & walked one as he brought his record to a 
league best, 8-0 while posting a 2.77 ERA. 

On May 26th, the Giants handed him his first loss as he gave up five runs & ten hits. 

2nd Career HR: On June 5th, he hit his second career HR, a 7th inning two run shot off Bill Landrum giving New York a 9-0 lead. He pitched another complete game win to get to 9-1.

He then took a pair of losses before winning his tenth game of the year in a 3-0 combined shut out with Roger McDowell & Randy Meyers.

To begin July, he threw a five-hit two run, complete game victory against the Houston Astros at Shea Stadium on July 2nd. In the game he allowed two runs, but both were unearned, as he lowered his ERA under three to 2.90. 

 1988 All Star Game: By the All-Star break, the Mets were in first place with a three-game lead. Gooden was 11-5 with a 3.04 ERA, he had tossed three shut outs & although the strike outs had diminished, he was still dominating his opponents. He made hhis fourth All-Star team.

Gooden got to start his second All Star game in his short five-year career. Although he only allowed one run, a HR to Oakland's Terry Steinbach; he was the losing pitcher in the 2-1 AL victory. 

After the break he won his next two starts, On July 22nd in the second game of a double header with the Braves at Shea, Goden allowed just one run on eight hits in the 6-1 win. He followed up with a win at Philadelphia. 

Gooden & Cone: At the end of July, he was 13-5 with a 2.88 ERA, 114 Ks & 37 walks in 165.2
innings pitched. These were good numbers, but everyone wanted the Doctor K of three years ago, with plenty of strike outs.  
All of a sudden wasn't the ace anymore. 

He became the second-best pitcher on the staff as David Cone went on to win twenty games (20-3) with the league's best winning % while striking out 213 batters.

In mid-August he beat the Giants & the Dodgers on another West Coast Road trip. When they returned home, Gooden beat LA's John Tudor in a 2-1 duel with Kevin McReynolds & Barry Lyons bringing in both Mets runs. 

The Dodger run was driven in by Mike Scioscia who would come back to haunt Gooden in the NLCS.

The Mets continued their regular season dominance over the Dodgers that year. Gooden went 3-0 with a 1.53 ERA striking out 22 Dodgers in 35 innings that season, the most success he had against any team. 

The Mets luck changes in the post season.

Gooden went 1-3 the rest of the way, closing out the year giving up a season high seven runs in a
loss at Philadelphia.

The Mets won 100 games that year (100-60) as Davey Johnson won his second NL Eastern title getting to the post season.  

Gooden would finish 18-9 (5th most wins in the NL) with a 3.19 ERA, 175 strike outs (8th in the NL) in 248 innings pitched (6th in the NL) in 34 starts (4th most in the NL). 

He allowed just eight HRs all year, 0.29 per nine innings (third best in the NL) with three shut outs & ten complete games (5th in the NL).

At bat he hit .185 with a HR a double a triple & Nine RBIs.

Post Season- 1988 NLCS: In Game #1 of the 1988 NLCS against the Los Angeles Dodgers, Gooden went up against Cy Young winner Orel Hershiser. 

In the 2nd inning, Steve Sax led off with a base hit stole second & scored on Mike Marshall's base hit. In the 5th innings Gooden struck out the first two batters then fanned the side in the 6th.

In the 7th Alfredo Griffin singled bringing in Mike Scioscia with the second run. Gooden pitched well, allowing just four hits with ten strikeouts, leaving after seven innings pitched trailing 2-0.

The Mets went on to win the game when Daryl Strawberry & Gary Carter hit RBI doubles to score three runs in the 9th inning.

In Game #4, the Mets were leading the series 2-1. Gooden got the start against John Tudor. LA go on the board first in a wild 1st inning, where Steve Sax collected an infield hit & stole second. 

Gooden walked Mickey Hatcher & gave up a two-run single to John Shelby. Gooden also had a balk & wild pitch but got out of it with just two runs.

The Mets got back-to-back HRs from Darryl Strawberry & Kevin McReynolds in the 4th inning.  Gary Carter added an RBI triple giving the Mets a 4-2 lead.

The Mets had the chance to take a commanding 3-1 advantage in the series. But instead of going to the bullpen, Davey Johnson made one of his worst decisions as a Mets manager leaving Gooden in to pitch a bit too long. 

Doc ended up serving up a now infamous game-tying HR to Dodger catcher Mike Scioscia. The Dodgers eventually went on to win the game in 12 innings when Kirk Gibson homered off Roger McDowell in the 12th.

The series went to seven games. In Game #7 Ron Darling was hit hard for six runs (four earned) & Gooden was brought in relief in the 2nd inning. The rest is history as the Dodgers & Hershiser rebounded to win the NLCS & the World Series. 

Triva: As important Gooden was to the Mets, he never won a postseason game for them. He went 0-3 in eight games over two post seasons with the Mets.

1989: Gooden began the 1989 season on a positive note. He got the win on Opening Day, striking out eight in seven innings. He did allow four runs to the St. Louis Cardinals, but his Mets scored 8 runs. 

On April 9th, he allowed one run on just three hits, in a 2-1 win at Montreal beating Dennis Martinez. After a no decision, he beat the Cubs & then went into the 9th inning, beating the Atlanta Braves, only allowing a run, while striking out nine.

Gooden began the year going 5-0 into the start of May posting an ERA just over two, before taking a loss to the Astros. He then struck out eleven Padres but took a no decision. 

On May 18th, he won his 6th game of the year, pitching eight innings against the reigning champion Dodgers.

From June 7th through the 19th, he won three straight games, to get to 9-2. On June 14th, he shut out the Cubs for six innings, earning the win & lowering his ERA to 2.47.

On July 1st he pitched just two innings, allowing three runs to the Cincinnati Reds taking the loss. From there he would miss the next two and a half months with a shoulder injury. 

Gooden would make just two more relief appearances in late September.

On the season he posted a 9-4 record in just 17 starts with 101 strike outs & 47 walks in 118 innings. As for the Mets, they finished 87-75 in second place that year.

Gooden started out the season with a loss on Opening Day, to the Mets new rival, the Pittsburgh Pirates. He fell to 0-2 before, earning his first win. 

On April 19th, he allowed just one run in seven innings to beat the Cubs for his first win. 

15 K Game: On May 11th, he had a 15 strike out game against the Los Angeles Dodgers. It was the most Ks he had put up in a single game in five years since his Cy Young season.

Although he had two double digits strike out games earning a pair of wins in May, he found himself at 3-5 with a 4.37 ERA by the start of June.

But in June, he turned it all around going 16-2 for the rest of the season, including a stretch of seven straight wins that summer. It was like the Doc of old that summer.

On June 12th, Gooden gave up six earned runs & season high 11 hits, but the Mets collected 19 runs on 21 hits, including two HRs from both Kevin McReynolds & Dave Magadan.

Shut Out: On June 23rd in a game against the Phillies, he tossed a two-hit shutout against the striking out seven. John Kruk got both hits in the 3-0 Mets win. Darryl Strawberry supplied the offense with a two run HR.

The win streak included victories at home over Philadelphia, Cincinnati & Houston on Independence Day.

On July 17th, he won his tenth game of the year, having his second double digit strike out game, blowing away ten Astros in Houston in a Mets 6-2 win. On July 29th he shut out the St. Louis for seven innings combining with Bob Ojeda in a 6-0 shut out. 

After a loss to the same Cardinals on August 4th, he went on an eight-game win streak.

Brawl With Phillies: ON August 10th, in a game with the Phillies Gooden hit two Phillies batters
early in the game. One of the hitters Dickie Thon had a sever beaning from the Mets Mike Torrez in 1983 that nearly ended his career. 

In the 5th inning, Phillie pitcher Pat Combs hit Dwight Gooden with a pitch in the knee. Gooden charged the mound tackling Combs. Philly catcher Darren Daulton grabbed Gooden from behind & gave him some blows to the head. A twenty-minute brawl broke out with Darryl Strawberry & Tim Teufel getting ejected.

After the game Strawberry threatened to go after Daulton if he was hit & for his sucker punches
to Gooden. 
Gooden was removed from the game that Mets won 5-4.

On August 14th, even though he allowed a season high seven runs (in 5.2 innings) to the Dodgers, the Mets scored him nine runs & he took the win. He then got beat up by the Giants in San Francisco, but the Mets bailed him out, in a 10-9 win. 

On August 24th in Los Angeles, Gooden struck out a season high 11 batters.  He pitched into the 9th inning, allowing two runs on six hits, for his 14th win.

Pitcher of the Month Award: Down the stretch he won eight of his last nine games, including five straight September wins. From August 29th to September 8th, he gave up just three earned runs over 25 innings in three starts.

On September 8th, after giving up a 1st inning two run HR to Von Hayes he shut out the Phillies on just four hits thru the rest of the game. He had his third double digit strike out game, earning his 16th victory.

He kept the Mets in the pennant race, as they got as close to a half game of the Pittsburgh Pirates but losing eight of their last 15 games ended their run.

Gooden beat the Cubs at Wrigley Field then at Shea Stadium to reach 19 victories. He lost his final start in the last game of the season falling short of another twenty-win season. 

It was to be his last great season, as he won 19 games one game behind teammate Frank Viola & his twenty wins.  Gooden went 19-7 (fourth most wins in the NL). He struck out 223 batters, second only to teammate David Cone (233). It was the fourth season reaching the 200 K mark.

Doc was fourth in the league in starts (34) winning % (.731%) & innings pitched (236). He posted a 3.83 ERA and pitched one shut out with two complete games. Gooden was back on top again & the fans were excited. But things changed for the Mets heading into the nineties.

In 1990, Daryl Strawberry claimed in his book that he wouldn't be surprised if Gooden had been snorting cocaine during the 1986 World Series. Doc was upset that his friend Daryl said this as well as other negative things about him in the book. 

Daryl tried to make light of the situation & blamed other people involved in the book for misunderstanding his words in print. 

In his 2013 book Doc claimed he & Daryl, were never as close as the media made them out to be. He surprisingly said that he does not even consider Strawberry a friend today. 

1991 & Decline: This season Carlie O' Brien became Gooden's personal catcher & new batterymate.

On Opening Day Gooden got another start he pitched eight innings, allowing just one run to the Philadelphia Phillies beating Terry Mulholland 2-1 in front of 49,276 at Shea.

On April 13th, he struck out a season high 14 batters, beating the Expos 5-3 at Shea Stadium. Gooden would not pitch another double-digit K game all year. 

On April 19th, although he gave up just two runs the Expos handed him his first loss. He closed out April  3-1 with a 2.43 ERA.  June found himself at 5-5 on a second place Mets team. 

In May he lost a 2-0 game to the Giants Bud Black at Shea Stadium then took a 7-0 loss to the Giants in San Francisco.

On May 15th in San Diego, he gave up just one run, unearned going the distance in a 6-3-win for his third victory. On May 21st he gave up six runs including a pair of HRs but the Mets put up eight runs for an 8-6 win.

3 Hit Shut Out: On June 15th, after suffering two losses, he shut out the Astros in a complete game three hitter. He struck out five walking no one, as Howard Johnson, Mackey Sasser & Darryl Boston dove in the Mets runs.

In his next start he beat the Braves going eight innings, although he gave up five runs. He lost to the Phillies falling to 7-6 at the end of June.

In July the Mets were in third place 5.5 games back six games over .500. But from July 14th to the end of August they were terrible going 12-31 falling out of the race. Gooden went 4-0 in the month but gave up 26 earned runs in 40.1 innings. He started out the month with an eight inning one run win in Philadelphia, where he struck out nine. After wins at home against the Giants & Dodgers, he shut out the Padres for eight-innings in Sandiego on a combined 4-0 shut out.

He won his fifth straight decision in August to get to 13 wins. But then tragedy struck on August 22nd, when an arm injury ended his season. 

He finished up the 1991 season at 13-7 with a 3.60 ERA striking out 150 batters in 190 innings in 27 starts. 
The Mets fell to fifth place & went from Bud Harrelson at manager to Mike Cubbage by the end of the year. 

1992: After seven winning seasons, the Mets took a turn for the worst, as they finished fifth 74-80 under new manager Bud Harrelson.  

Gooden posted his first losing season, going 10-13 with the third most wins on the staff. He posted a 3.67 ERA striking out 145 batters in 206 innings (second on the staff to Sid Fernandez) as the Mets finished in fifth place going 72-90. 

He never struck out more than seven batters in a game all year, and his best performance was a four hit, one run complete game victory on the next to last game of the season.

More Drama- 1992: In 1992 a woman accused him of rape, but charges were eventually dropped
as the woman's story eventually fell apart. 

The events took place a year earlier in Jupiter Fla. as Doc, Daryl Boston & Vince Coleman all went out after a spring training game. The three players ended up all having sex with the same woman who was reportedly seeing David Cone as well. A year later she came forward with rape allegations.

This was the kind of thing Hubbie Brooks had warned Gooden of back in his rookie year. Brooks has said let the woman know its just a one night stand, be respectful but make her leave when it's over.

1993: This year, the Mets went through Jeff Torborg & Dallas Green as managers finishing in seventh place with a horrible 59- 103 record. Gooden started out Opening Day on a familiar note, he pitched a four-hit shutout, walking one & striking out four against the Colorado Rockies in their franchise debut. 

After two losses, including one to the Rockies at Coors Field, he pitched seven scoreless against the Giants in a big 10-0 Mets win. He started out May with two complete game wins, including a four hit, complete game shut out against the Florida Marlins.

Things went bad for both him & the team, he lost four straight games, five of six into late July. In San Diego he beat the Padres & then the Marlins again at home, going into the 7th inning both times. He reached ten wins once again & won his eleventh on August 1st. But then Gooden lost four straight & was done for the year by September.  

All in all, his ERA was respectable at 3.45 & he was the team leader in victories (12) starts (29) winning percentage (.444%) & strike outs (149) on a staff of veterans Sid Fernandez, Frank Tanana, Bret Saberhagen & Eric Hillman. 

Overall, he was 12-15 with seven complete games & two shut outs. But this was a long way from the glory days almost a decade ago. Spirts Illustrated even ran an article that said Gooden "From Phenom to Phantom". In less than two years his Times Square mural would also be washed away.

1994: This season, Gooden pitched what was his final Mets Opening Day, although he allowed seven runs on eleven hits in 5.2 innings of work, he earned the win in a wild 12-8 Mets win at Wrigley Field. He started out the year at 2-0, throwing six shutout innings at Shea on April 16th against the Astros.

In his second start, he pitched four shutout innings, striking out five beating the Astros at home. He then gave up seven runs in Los Angeles & six earned runs against the Expos. 

After his third straight loss he fell to 2-3. On June 19th, he won what was to be his last Mets game. The win came in his home state of Florida, as he beat the Marlins 6-1. In that game he pitched eight innings, allowed just three hits & struck out six Marlins.

On June 24th, he pitched what was to be his last Mets game, as he would get caught dirty with cocaine in his system, violating the MLB drug policy. In his last start, he lost at Shea Stadium to the Pirates allowing nine runs in 5.1 innings of work. In the strike shortened 1994 season, he only pitched in seven games, going 3-4 with a 6.31 ERA in only 41 innings. 

More Drama: In June 1994 Gooden went out one night by himself. It wasn't like the old days when Rusty Staub would take him to a nice restaurant. On this night, he went to Scores strip club in Queens. Two of the strippers took him to the manager's office & tempted him with his old demon, cocaine. 

At first he said no but after a few shots, he caved in. He later said, he had missed the feeling of coke up his nose dropping down to his throat. He wanted to feel it again & was back on the stuff, hooked.

Gooden Mets career ended in 1994, at age 29 and he finished near the top of most of the Mets all time pitching records next to Hall of Famer Tom Seaver. 

Mets All Time Leader Board: Gooden is second on the Mets all-time list in wins (157) & strike outs (1875). He is third behind Tom Seaver & Jerry Koosman in starts (303) innings pitched (2169) & complete games (67). He is fourth in shut outs (23) tenth in games pitched (305) & thirteenth in ERA (3.10). 


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