"Doctor K" discussed the illustrious beginning to his major league baseball career as the 1984 National League Rookie. The three time World Series Champion speaks about playing for both the New York Mets and New York Yankees as well as his improbable no-hitter against the Seattle Mariners on the day his father passed away. The 1985 NL Cy Young Award Winner also reveals which hitters gave him the most difficulty at the plate including a humorous opening day story about the then St. Louis Cardinals slugger Jack Clark.
Is there a doctor in the house? For ten seasons from 1984 to 1994 “Doctor K” electrified the mound at Shea. The Doctor’s office has since moved and been renamed Citi Field, but this past August the Metropolian faithful still rose from their seats to once again greet the embattled former phenom with a roar of applause when the organization inducted its 1984 NL Rookie of the Year into the Mets Hall of Fame. “You never real know if you did enough or if they appreciate the work you did, but that day put a stamp on everything,” said Dwight Gooden who is grateful to have the “chance to close the chapter on [his] baseball career.”
Met fans are probably equally as grateful to close the franchise’s current chapter on now former General Manager Omar Minaya and former manager Jerry Manuel after operating Major League Baseball’s fifth highest payroll producing a 149 - 175 record over the last two seasons finishing 18 games back in 2010 and 23 games back in 2009. “The Wilpons are a very caring family, they’re winners at heart. . . and they really care how the fans feel,” shared Gooden. If given the choice, number 16 would certainly give his vote of confidence to his former teammate Wally Backman for the club’s selection of its 20th manager, “If you don’t have a player that will get in your face and demand respect, then you got to have a manager that will do that and I think Wally will bring that."
Of course, New York Mets fans know all to well that the three-time World Series Champ also shares a rich, memorable history with Pinstripes that claims two of those World Series rings and one no-hitter which to the dismay of all Mets fans has eluded the franchise since its birth in 1962. “When I got up that morning I thought he [Gooden’s father] probably would have wanted me to pitch,” recalls Gooden who gave the game ball to his father the next day who had just undergone heart surgery the day of the no-hitter. “Steinbrenner was willing to give me a chance to recapture my career in New York …[and] for me it was perfect timing and something I will never forget.” The 1985 NL Cy Young winner holds fond memories and remains very grateful of his former employer, Yankees principal owner George “The Boss” Steinbrenner, “One thing he always instilled in me was family and giving back to the community. . . and I miss him tremendously."
In 1985, Doc hurled 276 and 2/3 innings registering 24 wins, 268 strike-outs and a 1.53 ERA. Those incredible numbers earned him the Cy Young Award at age of 20, the youngest in history. “When you’re going through something like that you really can’t enjoy it as much because you’re going through it but once the season is over you can look back at it and appreciate it more,” states Gooden who also shares his thoughts and choices for this season’s AL and NL Cy Young potentials. Doc also recants a great Shea opening day story from that same 1985 season when he shook of Gary Carter’s 0 and 2 call for “Lord Charles” that resulted in a “mistake in the seats” thanks to the words of Rusty Staub!The Doctor also discussed the potential for the Nationals hopeful Stephen Strasburg that has drawn the 1984 rookie comparisons to himself, “I wish him well and I used to look forward to watching him pitch every fifth day. I think he has a great career ahead of him. He’s definitely got potential, [he] just [has to] try to go location ant not max out every pitch.”
Doc’s love for game clearly remains strong as he prefers “to keep baseball the way it’s been for over a 100 years . . . and let the guys on the field make the decisions” when asked if baseball should extend the use of instant replay.In this 2010 “year of the pitcher”, the former Mets phenomenal pitcher weighed in with his picks for this year’s World Series as well as relived the classic moments from his own 1986 World Series that featured Dwight against then opponent and later to be teammate Roger Clemens. Got Mookie anyone? Surprise Mets fans, Doctor K may once again be back in uniform instructing young hopefuls to snap that curve ball if certain things “break” his way! Dial up the interview!