Growing up as a Mets fan there was nobody more dominating that Dwight (Doc) Gooden in the 80s.
In 1984, Gooden became the youngest player to appear in an All-Star Game. He struck out the side in the 5th, as AL batters: Lance Parrish, Chet Lemon, and Alvin Davis grabbed the pine. Fernando Valenzuela had already struck out the side in the fourth, as future Hall of Famers Dave Winfield, Reggie Jackson, and George Brett all fell victim to him. The two pitchers’ combined performance broke an All-Star game record, that stood for 50 years (Carl Hubbell’s five consecutive strikeouts in 1934).
He threw much of his career away to cocaine but then one last spring evening in May Doc Gooden grabbed the spotlight.
It was 16 years ago today at Yankee Stadium that Doc Gooden threw that no hitter. I covered the game for WOR Radio. The final out as you saw was a high pop up that seemed like it would never come down. Afterwards we asked Jeter what he was thinking as he hovered under the ball.
“Don’t drop it.”
Gooden was asked by my esteemed colleague, Jack Curry, then of the NY Times if this made his comeback complete. He thought so and thanked all of those folks who believed in him, especially George Steinbrenner who gave him a second chance.
He had a few good moments in his career but never regained that old late 80s form.
He ran afoul of the law again and again. Eventually he ended up on celebrity rehab.
Doc was always a nice guy in the locker room and knows he clearly is an addict, someone who has no control over his demons. People often don’t understand addiction. So today let’s pray for all those caught in that trap of addiction and for those who try to help them recover.
For news on Doc Gooden and his continued recovery—follow him on twitter @DocGooden16