It's your turn.
Dwight Eugene "Doc" Gooden, nicknamed "Dr. K" because of his jaw-dropping strike out ability early in his career, is the latest Cy Young Award winner to be honored at the annual Cy Young Days Festival, as the 18th festival honoring the legendary pitching great from nearby Peoli took place in Newcomerstown this past weekend.
Gooden spoke at a luncheon in his honor, signing autographs, answering questions from the attendees and being available for pictures. The event was at the Laborers Local 134 Hall at the corner of River and Main Streets in Newcomerstown.
Gooden played 16 seasons in Major League Baseball. Gooden pitched from 1984 to 1994 and from 1996 to 2000 for the New York Mets, New York Yankees, Cleveland Indians, Houston Astros, and Tampa Bay Devil Rays.
"I'm so blessed to have had so many accomplishments in my career," said Gooden.
In a career spanning 430 games, he pitched ?2,800 2/3 innings and posted a won–loss record of 194–112, with a 3.51 earned run average and 2,293 strikeouts.
Gooden made his MLB debut in 1984 for the Mets and quickly established himself as one of the league's most talented pitchers.
As a 19-year-old rookie, he earned the first of four All-Star selections, won the National League Rookie of the Year Award, and led the league in strikeouts.
In 1985, he won the NL Cy Young Award and achieved the pitching Triple Crown, compiling a 24–4 record and a league-leading 1.53 ERA, 268 strikeouts, and 16 complete games. The following season, he helped the Mets win the 1986 World Series.
"Winning the World Series with the Mets was very special for me," said Gooden. "We came close in '84 and '85, but to do it with those guys was special."
He went on to win two titles with the Yankees, although in a lesser role.
Gooden remained an effective pitcher in subsequent years, but his career was ultimately derailed by cocaine and alcohol addiction.
After posting a losing record in each season from 1992 to 1994, Gooden was suspended for the 1995 season after a positive drug test while serving a previous suspension.
As a member of the Yankees in 1996, Gooden pitched a no-hitter (a 2-0 win over Seattle) on May 14 at Yankee Stadium and helped the team on its path to a World Series championship.
"That was special because it was the last time my dad got to see me pitch," recalled Gooden. "He passed away several days after that. He's the one who taught me the game of baseball."
The no-hitter was the first by a Yankee right-hander since Don Larsen's perfect game in the 1956 World Series, and the first by a Yankee right-hander during the regular season since Allie Reynolds' second no-hitter in 1951. He ended the 1996 season at 11–7, his first winning record since 1991, and showed flashes of his early form, going 10–2 with a 3.09 ERA from April 27 through August 12.
He pitched four additional years for several teams, including the Cleveland Indians in 1998 and 1999, but never approached the success of his peak years with his Mets.
Gooden signed with the Indians in 1998 and enjoyed moderate success, going 8–6 with a 3.76 ERA. He started two games for the Indians in the 1998 postseason, including one against his former team, the Yankees, both of which ended in no-decisions. He remained with the Indians in 1999, but did not match his respectable numbers in 1998, going 3–4 with a 6.26 ERA.
"I had a great time there (in Cleveland)," recalled Gooden. "We had a great team and a great organization. The fans were great. I loved the town, but unfortunately I was at the end of my career and I didn't have much left."
Gooden's troubles with addiction continued after his retirement from baseball and resulted in several arrests. He was incarcerated for seven months in 2006 after violating the terms of his probation.
Today, Gooden continues to travel the country making public appearances, while spending time with his kids and grandkids.