| Born: November 16, 1964|
|Batted: Right||Threw: Right|
|April 7, 1984 for the New York Mets|
|Last MLB appearance|
|September 29, 2000 for the New York Yankees||Career statistics|
|Earned run average||3.51|
|Career highlights and awards|
Dwight Eugene Gooden (born November 16, 1964), also known as Doc Gooden or Dr. K, is a former major league baseball player. He was one of the most dominant and feared pitchers in the National League in the middle and late 1980s, but his career declined because of injury, as well as drug and alcohol abuse.
Gooden made his major-league debut on April 7,
When he took the mound in the fifth inning on July 10, 1984, Gooden became the youngest player to appear in an All-Star Game. He complimented this distinction by striking out the side, AL batters: Lance Parrish, Chet Lemon, and Alvin Davis. Setting up Gooden, NL Pitcher Fernando Valenzuela had already struck out the side in the fourth, putting down future Hall of Famers Dave Winfield, Reggie Jackson, and George Brett. The two pitchers’ combined performance broke an All-Star game record, coincidentally on its celebrated 50th Anniversary—Carl Hubbell’s five consecutive strikeouts in 1934.
That season, Gooden won 17 games (the most by a 19-year-old since Wally Bunker won 19 games in
In 1985, Gooden pitched one of the most statistically dominating single seasons in baseball history. Leading Major League Baseball with 24 wins, 268 strikeouts, and a 1.53 ERA (the second lowest in the Live Ball Era, trailing only Bob Gibson's 1.12 in
Even in the eleven games when Gooden didn't earn a win, he was still dominant. In September, he pitched back-to-back 9-inning shutouts, but received no-decisions in both games. In his four losses, Gooden allowed 26 hits and 5 walks in 28 innings, with 28 strikeouts and a 2.89 ERA. The Mets finished second in the 1985 NL East, and teammates jokingly blamed Gooden for having lost 4 games, thereby mathematically costing them the division title. One of only 12 African-American pitchers to win 20 games, he became the youngest-ever recipient of the Cy Young Award. There was even media speculation about Gooden's Hall of Fame prospects. That November, Gooden turned 21.
However hyperbolic that early Hall of Fame speculation appears more than 20 years later, it was a natural extension of Gooden's larger-than-life presence in New York City. Travelers descending the steps of the side entrance to Manhattan's Pennsylvania Station were greeted by an enormous photograph of Gooden in mid-motion that recorded his season's strikeout totals as the year progressed. Likewise, those strolling the streets of Manhattan's West Side could gaze up at a 102 feet tall Sports Illustrated mural of Gooden painted on the side of building at 351 West 42nd Street in Times Square, whose caption asked "How does it feel to look down the barrel of a loaded gun?" 
While Gooden would be an effective pitcher for several more seasons, he never again approached such heights. 1985 would prove to be the only 20-win season of Gooden's 16-year career. Many reasons have been offered for his decline: early overuse, cocaine addiction, the league catching on to some of his pitches (notably a fastball that rose out of the strike zone, which hitters increasingly avoided), or the influence of Mets pitching coach Mel Stottlemyre, who convinced Gooden to change his pitching motion in the hopes of prolonging his career.
Whatever the cause, Gooden's period of dominance was memorable. In a span of 50 starts from August 11, 1984, to May 6, 1986, Gooden posted a record of 37-5 with a 1.40 ERA; he had 412 strikeouts and 90 walks in 404.6 innings.
In another All-Star record pertaining to youth, in 1986 Gooden became the youngest pitcher to start an All-Star Game at 21 years, seven months and 30 days of age.
Gooden was the Mets ace going into the playoffs, and his postseason started promisingly. He lost a 1–0 duel with Scott in the NLCS opener, then got a no-decision in Game 5, pitching 10 innings of 1-run ball. He was substantially worse in the World Series against the Boston Red Sox, not getting past the 5th inning in either of his two starts. Nevertheless, the Mets won four of the five non-Gooden starts and the championship. In an early red flag, Gooden no-showed the team victory parade. The team announced that their star pitcher had overslept, but years later, it was revealed that he was on a cocaine binge.
Gooden was arrested on December 13, 1986, in Tampa, Florida after fighting with police. A report clearing police of misconduct in the arrest helped start the Tampa Riots of 1987. Rumors of substance abuse began to arise, which were confirmed when Gooden tested positive for cocaine during spring training in
The game remains one of the great disappointments in Mets franchise history. The 1980s Mets were considered a dynasty in the making; after they underperformed, some looked to this game as perhaps the key moment of the dynasty that wasn't. On a personal level, Gooden never won a postseason game, going 0–4 in eight series.
Gooden suffered a shoulder injury in
Gooden was accused along with two other teammates of rape in 1991; however, charges were never pressed.
Kirk Radomski, the New York Mets clubhouse attendant whose allegations are at the base of the Mitchell Report later claimed that he took two urine tests for Gooden during the 1990s. Gooden denies the allegations.
Gooden signed with the New York Yankees in
Gooden was left off the 1996 postseason roster due to injury and fatigue. The following year, he had one start for the Yankees in the
He pitched for three teams from
Gooden ended his career as a mop-up reliever for a championship team. He made one relief appearance in each of the first two rounds of the playoffs, both times with the Yankees trailing. Gooden did not pitch in the 2000 World Series against the Mets, though 2000 would be the 3rd time Gooden received a World Series ring in his career.
Gooden retired in
After retiring, Gooden took a job in the Yankees' front office. He acted as the go-between man during free agent contract negotiations between his nephew, Gary Sheffield, and the Yankees prior to the
Gooden appeared at the Shea Stadium final celebration on September 28, 2008, the first time he had appeared at Shea Stadium since 2000. On April 13, 2009, he made an appearance at the newly-opened Citi Field. Gooden spontaneously signed his name to a wall on the inside of the stadium. The Mets initially indicated that they would remove the signature, but soon decided instead to move the part of the wall with Gooden's writing to a different area of the stadium and acquire additional signatures from other popular ex-players. In January 2010, it was announced that Gooden would be inducted to the New York Mets Hall of Fame.
On August 1, 2010, he was officially inducted into the Mets Hall of Fame along with Darryl Strawberry, Frank Cashen, and Davey Johnson. He also threw out the ceremonial first pitch on the same day to Gary Carter.
Gooden's legal problems did not end with his career. On February 20, 2002, Gooden was arrested in his native Tampa and charged with driving while intoxicated, having an open container of alcohol in his vehicle, and driving with a suspended license. He was arrested again in January 2003 for driving with a suspended license.
On March 12, 2005, Gooden was arrested in Tampa, Florida for punching his girlfriend after she threw a telephone at his head. He was released two days later on a misdemeanor battery charge.
Troubles continued to mount for the former star when, on August 23, 2005, he drove away from a traffic stop in Tampa, after being pulled over for driving erratically. He gave the officer his driver's license, twice refused to leave his car, then drove away. The officer remarked in his report that Gooden's eyes were glassy and bloodshot, his speech was slurred, and a "strong" odor of alcohol was present on him. Three days after the traffic stop, Gooden turned himself in to police.
Gooden was again arrested in March 2006 for violating his probation, after he appeared intoxicated with cocaine at a scheduled meeting with his probation officer, David R. Stec. He chose prison over extended probation, perhaps in the hope that incarceration would separate him from the temptations of his addiction. He entered prison on April 17, 2006. On May 31, Gooden said in an interview from prison, "I can't come back here. [...] I'd rather get shot than come back here. [...] If I don't get the message this time, I never will." Gooden was released from prison November 9, 2006, after nearly seven months' incarceration, and was not placed on further probation.
On the morning of March 24, 2010, Gooden was arrested in Franklin Lakes, New Jersey after leaving the scene of a traffic accident. He was located nearby and found to be under the influence of an undisclosed controlled substance. He has been charged with 8 counts, including DWI with a child passenger, leaving the scene of an accident, and other motor vehicle violations. Gooden has also been charged with endangering the welfare of a child, because a child was with him at the time of the accident.