Remembering Mets History (1984) Dwight Gooden Throws a One Hitter In the Heat of the Pennant Race

Friday September 7th, 1984: The Mets were at one of their highest points than they had been in years. And Shea Stadium was the place to be. The excitement of the Davey Johnson's Mets was even more electric when young phenom; Dwight Gooden was on the mound. 

Gooden was lighting up Shea all summer long, with big crowds, the K Korner in the upper deck & the wave cheer, flowing for the first time in its heyday, through the rafters. 

On this night it was one of the most exciting games of the year as the second place Mets (79-62) were in the heat of a pennant race 6.5 games back Jim Frey's Chicago Cubs (85-56).

Tonight, Doctor K (14-8) went up against the Cubs Dick Ruthven (5-9) in the first game of a big three game series at Shea.

Centerfieldmaz attended this wild game,
complete with a "Kill Kubs" banner featuring a Heavy Metal style character, I drew created & called "Max". He was swirling an axe at a little cub bear. 

Yes, it was a rocking night in the Upper Deck of Shea. If memory serves me right, I remember a contingent of Cubs fan in the area, that had special security guards close by to watch over them. Things were rowdy in those upper deck eighties days if you were rooting for a hated rival team.

Young Dwight Gooden was spectacular, he struck out two Cubs in each of the first three innings, as the crowd went wild. 

In the 1st inning, Wally Backman tripled & Mookie Wilson hit a sac fly to quickly make it 1-0. The Mets got to Dick Ruthven again in the 3rd, catcher Mike Fitzgerald singled, Dight Gooden bunted him over, then Wally Backman drew a walk. Mookie Wilson then doubled, bringing in two runs, making it 3-0.

With two outs, Darryl Strawberry was walked intentionally. George Foster then delivered, with a three-run blast, it was his 20th HR of the year, bringing the Shea Faithful to a frenzy. It was now 6-0 Mets & the wave was rolling through the stands.

In the 4th, with Warren Brusstar pitching, Dwight Gooden collected his second hit of the night, raising his average to .161. Wally Bakmann then walked; Mookie Wilson singled collecting his third RBI of the night.

Dwight Gooden was shutting down the Cubs, and all of a sudden had a no hitter going, adding even more excitement to the night. But in the 5th inning, Keith Moreland hit a little ground ball to Ray night at third base. 

Quotes- Ray Knight: ''I was playing back and off the line. Nobody had been pulling Doc, and Moreland goes the other way and he doesn't run well. I came in at such a sharp angle, I had to catch the ball and throw it all at once. But I never got the ball out of my hand. My momentum was carrying me toward their dugout and there was no way I could throw the ball. I didn't even realize that was their first hit. I was concentrating so hard.''

At the time it seemed meaningless until the game rolled on. In the 6th, Gooden got Don Rohn to foul out, then Bob Denier flied out & Ryne Sandberg grounded out to second base to end the inning. 

In the 7th, Gooden walked Gary Mathews to start out the inning. He then got Leon Durham & Keith Moreland to fly out, he then struck out pinch hitter; Thad Bosley to end the inning. The crowd erupted & the "K korner" added another K.

In the Mets 7th, the Mets piled it on pitcher Rick Reuschel. Backman drew another walk, advanced on a fielder's choice. Then Keith Hernandez hit an RBI single & Darryl Strawberry followed with a two run HR, his 21st of the year. It was a 10-0 Mets lead & the Shea crowd went wild.

In the 8th, Gooden got Ron Hassey & Rod Denier to fly out. He then struck out Dan Rohn to keep the one hitter intact. 

In the 9th, veteran Davey Lopes walked, but Gooden struck out Henry Cotto, got Leon Durham to pop out & Tom Veryzer to ground out to end the game. 

The crowd went crazy, as the legacy of Doc Gooden continued to grow. 

Gooden earned his 15th win, sixth straight, as he struck out eleven, allowing just one hit & four walks in the shut out. 

Trivia: It was the 14th One Hitter in Mets history & the second one thrown the 1980's.

Gooden's 11 strikeouts raised his league-leading total to 235, breaking Grover Cleveland Alexander's National League record for strikeouts by a rookie (227). On this night he also tied two club records held by Tom Seaver - 13 games with ten or more strikeouts and three consecutively.

Quotes: Dwight Gooden:  ''I'm not disappointed, the hit doesn't matter. I just wanted to win the game. ''This was not just another game, this was a big game for us to get our confidence going. Tonight, was one of my better games; I felt great going into the game and I felt strong at the end.''

Gooden's two hits in the game were more than the entire Cubs line up.


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