Sunday, August 21, 2022


dwight gooden

Growing up in the '80s there wasn't SportsCenter with daily highlights or the Internet to look for game clips. So young baseball fans like myself eagerly flipped through the pages of Sports Illustrated when it arrived each week in the mailbox and tuned in faithfully on the weekends to watch This Week in Baseball for Major League highlights and news. During this time the Mets had an electric team that was talented as my hometown Tigers led by an amazing young pitcher named Dwight Gooden. The Mets became my second favorite team during the mid-80s next to Detroit based upon Gooden whose pitching prowess earned him the nickname "Doctor K" for all the strikeouts he achieved and seemed to be a fixture of television highlight reels and magazine covers during that time.

As a 19 year old rookie in 1984, Doctor K made the Major League Baseball (MLB) All-Star Game, was named National League Rookie of the Year, and led the Major Leagues in strikeouts. In 1985, Dwight Gooden won the National League Cy Young Award and was recognized as a Pitching Triple Crown Winner for leading the Major Leagues for having the highest number of wins, most strikeouts and lowest Earned Run Average (ERA) during the season. In his first two seasons for the Mets, Doctor K had a record of 37-5 with 1.38 ERA and 412 strikeouts. In 1986, Doctor K was the youngest player to start a MLB All-Star Game, was the undisputed ace of the Mets, the team won the World Series and was only 21 years old. Unfortunately, drug abuse and injuries thereafter hindered a career that had the potential of him being the greatest ever pitcher in professional baseball. He was the only MLB pitcher to be a Triple Crown winner in the 1980s. Fortunately, Gooden was able to go out on a high note pitching a no hitter for the Yankees and helped the team on its path to a World Series victory in 1996.

doctor k

I was geeked to be able to meet Doctor K in person at an event today based upon all the excitement I had following his career with the Mets when I was a kid just developing my love of the game. I joked with him that watching with my dad Mets games on TV just to see him pitched reminded me of tuning in with my own kids for "must see JV" when Justin Verlander was dominating for the Tigers. He took a picture with me and signed a baseball that will go on my office shelf right next to Justin Verlander one. Two Pitching Triple Crown winners and two of my all-time favorite pitchers next to one another really has this baseball fan thrilled.

dwight gooden

I also found an original Topps baseball card from 1986 in my childhood collection that is stashed away in the basement. It has the stats from Doctor K's incredible 1985 season plus is the year his team won the World Series. It may have been worth more without his signature but his signing it was more for my personal nostalgia than hoping to make any money off the card.

topps baseball cards

It was a fun day for this '80s kid! Doctor K was very personable and it was a great experience meeting him. Is there a baseball player you were a fan of as a kid that you would really like to meet in person someday? 

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