Gooden, who made his professional debut for the New York Mets in April 1984 and retired as a Yankee in September 2000, was signed to be a Bomber as a free agent in 1996 after being suspended the entire 1995 season for cocaine abuse.
“Dr. K,” who won 194 games, in comparison to 112 losses, for a 3.51 ERA and 2,293 strikeouts in 2800.2 innings, was nearly released for poor performance before pitching the eighth regular season no-hitter in Yankees history.
“George (Steinbrenner) was the only guy who gave me an opportunity when nobody else did. And this is where I threw my no-hitter,” said Gooden, 47, a four-time All-Star who earned the Pitching Triple Crown and National League Cy Young Award in 1985.
The day following his epic accomplishment, Gooden flew to St. Joseph’s Hospital in Tampa to spend time with his father, Dan, who had just undergone open-heart surgery.
Gooden, who burst onto the scene as a 19-year-old with a scorching fastball to become the 1984 Rookie of the Year, gave his father the ball from the last out of the game.
Dan died at the age of 69 approximately eight-months after his son recaptured his brilliance and starred for one last evening on the hill.
Drug and alcohol addiction prevented “Doc Gooden” from reaching his vast potential.
Despite failing to become the hurler he could have, on one bittersweet spring night, Dwight Gooden accomplished his most memorable moment as a professional baseball player.by