Dwight “Doc” Gooden was one of the MLB’s most electrifying pitchers, putting together a 1985 season where he made history. On this day at the age of 20 in 1985, Gooden was named the National League Cy Young Award winner, a year after he was named the NL Rookie of the Year and is the youngest person to do so.
Gooden, born November 16, 1964 in Tampa, Florida, was selected in the first round in 1982 and played for the New York Mets-affiliated minor league team, the Lynchburg Mets. Spending just one season in the minors, Gooden was called up in 1984 and made his MLB debut with the Mets en route to his top rookie season. The following year, Gooden blazed through the MLB with stellar pitching performances that still astound baseball fans.
Along with winning the Cy Young, Gooden recorded the “Triple Crown of Pitching” by earning 24 wins, a 1.53 ERA and 268 strikeouts. He also became the youngest player to win 20 games in a season that same year as well. The following year, Gooden had another strong campaign but his battles with drug addiction would become the bane of his career.
The Mets would win the World Series in 1986 and Gooden, his addiction troubles increasing, didn’t even make it to the parade celebration. He continued to pitch at adequate levels but never reached the heights as he did in his early 20s and retired as a New York Yankee in 2000, a team he won two World Series championships with.
Gooden’s drug addiction issues stayed with him in retirement, and several public run-ins with the police marred what was a great career. However, Gooden has appeared to have turned around his troubles and was named to the New York Mets Hall of Fame. Earlier this year, he was also awarded a key to the city to make up for missing that parade ceremony in 1986 while also reconciling with his former teammate and sometime rival, Daryl Strawberry.
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