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Dwight Gooden’s autobiography is coming out. Not surprisingly, it sounds like a grim read

May 10, 2013, 8:53 AM EDT

Gooden Strawberry

Mike Puma previews Doc Gooden’s forthcoming autobiography. We all know the contours of the story: kid ace dominates one year, wins the World Series the next, then pisses away most of his promise on drugs before a nice little late comeback with the Yankees. But this promises to give us more details about it all:

Gooden describes his mental state in the hours after the Mets won the title as desperately seeking drugs. Partying at a seedy housing project near Roosevelt Field Mall on Long Island, Gooden even turned down sex to continue doing lines of cocaine with his dealer.

“This is where the coke was, so this is where I wanted to be,” Gooden writes.

It comes out June 14th, but I just can’t do it. Gooden broke in when I was 11 and had his otherworldly 1985 season when I turned 12. I didn’t consider him a hero or anything, but I was fascinated by him and thrilled by his performances and would do things like project his 1985 season forward over 18 years or so, imagining him rewriting every modern pitching record. I wasn’t too clear about how players peaked and declined then, and the idea that they could throw their careers down the toilet like Gooden did wasn’t anything I even considered at the time.  When it happened it was one of the most depressing things ever. It still depresses me to think about it.

  1. unclemosesgreen - May 10, 2013 at 9:01 AM

    So you’re telling me my projection for Tony Cingrani to finish his career with 7,000 strikeouts may be … premature?

    • jm91rs - May 10, 2013 at 11:44 AM

      No, you have to alter your projection. Players get better after their rookie campaigns, so make that number 8,000.

  2. dondada10 - May 10, 2013 at 9:15 AM

    Complete opposite, Craig. I can’t wait to read this.

    • Old Gator - May 10, 2013 at 10:41 AM

      What I want to know is, is this the authorized or unauthorized autobiography?

  3. mybrunoblog - May 10, 2013 at 9:21 AM

    The common myth is that Doc threw his career away. It’s only partly true. Gooden managed to stick around for 16 seasons, win 3 world series rings, make over $36 million in salary and win close to 200 games.
    No, he never reached the heights many predicted but he had a terrific career.

    • Francisco (FC) - May 10, 2013 at 9:38 AM

      It still makes the rest of the story a grand “What If”. Imagine his career without the problems. Maybe he would have had more seasons like 84-85.

    • MyNameIsWilliamBillForShort - May 10, 2013 at 9:39 AM

      When Gooden finished his 26 year old season, he was 132-53 with a 2.91 ERA. After that he was 62.59 with a 4.45 ERA. Yeah, he got a couple rings with the Yankees but he didn’t pitch in either of those world series. But I agree that it’s not like he had a crappy career. He just could have had a historic career if he had even just come close his second 8 years.

      In fact, for every idiot who tries to tell you that Jack Morris is a Hall of Famer, you should be allowed to say “then Doc Gooden is a Hall of Famer” because if you compare their careers, Doc’s is actually very close, and far better in some numbers. He didn’t have the longevity, but he certainly had a better prime.

      • mybrunoblog - May 10, 2013 at 9:52 AM

        Gooden had a serious shoulder injury in 1989. I always felt that his injuries more than his substance abuse issues slowed down his career. It is a nice compact story to say ” Gooden was an addict who ruined his caeer”.
        I just don’t think that’s entirely true.

      • MyNameIsWilliamBillForShort - May 10, 2013 at 9:58 AM

        Yeah, pitching 276 innings in 1985 was almost criminal. I guess if Dusty Baker wasn’t still active in the league, somebody would be checking to see if he had a job on the Mets staff that year :)

    • fanofevilempire - May 10, 2013 at 10:04 AM

      I bet that Doc tells you he threw away his career because despite all the
      facts you stated he could have been even better, like Roger Clemens, but
      then again Roger had his own demons if you will.

      I always pull for Doc because he always has that huge smile that can light
      up NYC.

      I wish Doc and Darryl the best and I hope they win in life.

  4. yousuxxors - May 10, 2013 at 9:33 AM

    cocaine is one hell of a drug

  5. chacochicken - May 10, 2013 at 10:20 AM

    Forget his playing career, imagine his life without drugs.

  6. hojo20 - May 10, 2013 at 11:11 AM

    Maybe if Gooden didn’t throw his career down the toilet, he could’ve influenced more african-american boys to play baseball.

  7. nolanwiffle - May 10, 2013 at 11:20 AM

    Look at the accompanying photo…..Dykstra, Gooden, Strawberry. Imagine, as they sit there, if they ever pondered, “I wonder how many rings we’ll win with the Mets, and how our respective careers will pan out….”

  8. jm91rs - May 10, 2013 at 11:48 AM

    I was about to comment on Gooden and Strawberry hanging out a little too much, but didn’t even realize that was Dykstra in the picture too. Talk about 3 guys that were perfect examples of what not to do off the field.

  9. barrywhererufrom - May 10, 2013 at 12:04 PM

    Gooden could of been a first ballot Hall of Famer. One of my best baseball experiences was watching him pitch as I sat behind homeplate in 1987. It doesn’t make him a bad person that he didn’t maximize his talents. When you saw him you knew he was different. I am hopeful that he continues to stay somber. That is the most important thing. Doc’s career is cautionary tale that some player’s have inner demons that have nothing to do with their baseball talents..

    • nukeladouche - May 10, 2013 at 3:50 PM

      Similar memory here, barry – either ’85 or ’86, I think, I was behind home plate at Shea but in the upper deck. Mets vs. Padres. Even from the upper deck, you could tell Doc had electric stuff – a fastball that popped and a curveball that just dropped off the table. Frankly to this day it’s probably the most memorable pitching performance I’ve ever seen, even though I was but a youngster (a teenager) at the time. . . .

  10. klingonj - May 10, 2013 at 12:08 PM

    I remember seeing him pitch an afternoon game in Shea in 1987. He struck out 17 (I think). he was so dominant, that in the top of the 9th the Pirates Manager was looking down his bench for a PH and no one would even acknowledge him. The Mets OF was basically looking at each other as they were hardly needed.

  11. louhudson23 - May 10, 2013 at 12:48 PM

    In previous comments and recollections,Gooden has made it clear he had absolutely no control over his addiction and that it hit him fast and hard. Baseball was a secondary consideration and at best,a necessary evil…he loved the game,but not remotely at much as he loved cocaine…..the idea that drugs(in his case) did not wreak havoc on his ability and career is just plain wrong…his pitching capability as well as his ability to rehab and recover from injury,and his overall physical conditioning and preparation were a direct result of the ravages of his addictions….I remember his first bust in 1985 and his being roughed up by police down in Tampa,pulled over and manhandled with a car full of people.. The cops said then that if he was with this bunch,then there was a very real problem,and this was no wrong place at the wrong time occurrence,which was how Doc and the Mets attempted to spin it….in this case,the cops turned out to be correct. Dwight was already caught up and spiraling down….he struggles to this day and I wish him the best of luck in maintaining his sobriety and control over his life….

    • weaselpuppy - May 10, 2013 at 4:21 PM

      ^ truth

      nice work. Million $ talent, dime head. Just like Strawberry, And Dykstra.

      Ah if only Jack wasn’t addicted to pitching to the score and grinding out innings…..

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