For the 18th consecutive year, Newcomerstown will be hosting the annual Cy Young Festival from June 22-24 in downtown Newcomerstown, and this year’s parade grand marshal will be former Cy Young award winner Dwight "Doc" Gooden.
Gooden pitched in major leagues from 1984-1994 and 1996-2000 and had a very successful career. He started with the New York Mets when he was named an All-Star at the age of 19 while being named National League Rookie of the Year.
The following season in 1985, Gooden won the coveted Cy Young Award while winning the "triple crown" as he compiled a 24-4 record and a league-leading 1.53 earned run average, 268 strikeouts and 16 complete games. In 1986, Gooden and the Mets won the World Series.
Later in his career, Gooden went on to pitch for the New York Yankees, where he won a World Series in 1996, as well as the Cleveland Indians, Houston Astros and Tampa Bay Devil Rays.
When he retired in 2001, "Doc" finished his outstanding career with a 194-112 record and a 3.51 ERA.
Reservations are being taken for the Cy Young Days Festival luncheon featuring 1985 Cy Young Award winner Dwight "Doc" Gooden.
The New York Mets star pitcher will be speaking at the luncheon, signing autographs, answering questions from the attendees and will be available for pictures.
The event will be at the Laborers Local 134 Hall at the corner of River and Main streets in Newcomerstown, on Saturday, June 23. The Laborers Local 134 is also sponsoring the luncheon.
Doors will open at 11:30 a.m. and lunch will be at 12:30 p.m. Tickets are $20 for adults and $10 for children under 11. Reservations are required because of limited seating and can be made by calling 740-498-4545 or by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.
Gooden will also be Grand Marshal for the Festival Parade that evening at 6 p.m.
Also on Friday, the Cy Young Festival Queen and her court will be named.
"Once the queen is named, she will travel around to other festivals all over the state and spread the word of the festival we have here in Newcomerstown," offered David Shepherd who is vice president of the organization for the first time this year. "On average, our queen will go to 15-20 different festivals. We had 30 different queens from different festivals around Ohio show up in Newcomerstown, which is great."
On Saturday, Gooden and others from around the community will make a trip to Cy Young’s burial site and will place a wreath at his grave donated by the Silkworm, a florist shop in Newcomerstown followed by the parade and an autograph signing by Gooden at the museum.
"We are really excited for the festival," Shepherd stated. "We are trying to get some new ideas and committee members involved. Our main goal this year is to get as many people involved as possible. When planning the festival, we felt as if we needed a mission statement and that is to not only honor Cy Young and what he did for the game of baseball, but to provide an environment for all individuals, not just those who love the sport."
There will be four different bands at this year’s celebration headed by Blackhand Hooch who will perform on Friday and the Adam Calvert band which will play on Saturday.
On Sunday, there will be the annual "Old Timers Baseball Tournament" which isn’t exactly as it sounds. So far, there are four teams and they will play the game of baseball by the original rules which were played back in the Civil War era. Player’s will wear the old uniforms with no gloves.
Unlike today’s modified rules, you will be able to catch the ball off a bounce and record an out and if a ball is hit over the fence and out of play, if a fan catches the ball, it will be an out.
"It is really cool thing to see," said Shepherd. "The players are not wearing gloves so on a fly ball, the idea is to let it hit the ground then catch it off the bounce. There are no foul lines, but if a ball is hit over the fence and a fan catches it, it is an out. It is a great way of getting the fan base more involved in the game."
Shepherd encouraged everyone to come out to the festival this summer, whether you are a baseball fan or not.
"We don’t want anyone to have the misconception that this is only for baseball fans and players," Shepherd said. "We really want everyone to come out and support the community and our local businesses and have a good time.
"Things are going really well so far," he concluded. "We had a great turn out last year and have had great responses so far this year."
Festivities begin at 5 p.m. on Friday, June 22 in down downtown Newcomerstown at the intersection of Bridge Street and Canal Street.