Remembering Mets History (1984) Dwight Gooden Sets Rookie Record For Most Strikeouts In a Season

Wednesday September 12th, 1984: On this night Dwight Gooden set the single season strike out record for Rookies, in what was one of his most dazzling performances of the year as well as his career. Centerfieldmaz was one of 12,876 at Shea Stadium that night to witness, in person Doctor K at his best.

Davey Johnson's Mets (81-65) had had a spectacular year, which was the first winning season for the franchise since 1976. Among the highlights was Rookie phenom, Dwight Gooden. The Mets would finish in second place that year & were not mathematically out of the pennant race just yet.

But being seven games out with sixteen left to play,
they were pretty much eliminated, hence the small crowd. Personally, after being on hand for so many of Gooden's games that season, I had to be at this one to see the record broken.

Dwight Gooden went up against John Tudor for Chuck Tanner's sixth place Pittsburgh Pirates (63-83). Tudor would move on the St, Louis the next year & become a key to their staff in the Mets Cardinals rivalry over the next few seasons.

Gooden actually started out the 1st inning with no strike outs but retiring the side in order. 

In the 2nd inning, Gooden struck out Tony Pen & Jim Morrison. In the 3rd he started the inning fanning Doug Frobel & Denny Gonzalez, to total 4 K's.

In the 4th inning, he fanned Lee Lacy to start the inning. Johnny Ray then singled. Jason Thompson flew out & Gooden struck out Tony Pena for number six.

In the home 4th inning, Keith Hernandez led off with a single. Hubie Brooks then hit a two run HR, giving the Mets & Gooden all, they needed. It was Brooks' 16th HR of the year. Everyone just sat back, cheered & watched Dr. K go to work.

By now his fastball was rising, as he was just blowing hitters away. 
No one had a chance. The ball could be heard popping in catcher, Mike Fitzgerald's glove throughout Shea Stadium. The fans cheered every pitch & rose chanting every time there was two strike outs. 

The K Korner in left field was putting up the K Cards with every Pirate that went down on a strike out. These were good times at Shea Stadiums, times that fans tried to relieve in years to come. 

But if you weren't there in Gooden's heyday you will never know how special it was to see him pitch & the electric energy, he set off at Shea Stadium.

In the 5th inning, Gooden struck out the side, overpowering Morrison, Frobel & Denny Gonzalez to total nine strikeouts on the night.

In the 6th inning, with the crowd aware of the record about to be tied, Shea was on its feet as Gooden struck out John Tudor to tie Herb Score's rookie strike out record of 245 set in 1955. 

Then Marvell Wynne stepped in & was blown away for the strike out rookie record #246 on the season. It was also Gooden's 11th K on the night. 

He would go on to strike out two in the 7th & three in the eight inning, totaling 16 strike outs on the night. He finished up with a five-hit shutout walking no one. 

Trivia: The 16 strike outs would also break Nolan Ryan's club record of 14 strike outs for a rookie set in 1968.

Gooden would strike out 16 more batters in his next outing, although he took a 2-1 loss to the Phillies. He would have five straight games with ten or more strike outs and accomplish that feat in seven of eight times. 

On the season the 19 year old Gooden would strike out ten or more batters in a game 14 times, breaking Tom Seaver's record set in 1971. 

Also, Godens 16 Ks were the most for a Mets pitcher in the last ten years.

After Gooden broke the record set by Herb Score, Score who was an Indian's broadcaster at the time, appeared on the Diamond Vision saying: ''Congratulations. You're a fine-looking young pitcher, and I wish you a great deal of success for many years to come.''

Quotes: Dwight Gooden- ''Sometimes, you think about it, You think about it going home, or lying in bed before falling asleep. You think, 'Am I dreaming?' It's a great, great feeling.''

Quotes- Darryl Strawberry:
''He's going to be one of the overpowering pitchers in the game. It's most unusual to see a 19-year-old come up here and set record
s. He should win rookie of the year hands up. I can't see anybody close to him. But I don't think he's going to get excited by any of this. He doesn't get excited about anything.''

Gooden went on to win the 1984 Rookie of the Year Aard, leading the NL in strike outs (276) going 17-9 with three shut outs, seven complete games & a 2.60 ERA (2nd in the NL).


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