One hundred thousand dollars is the amount of money former professional baseball player Dwight Gooden has saved up for retirement. Born on November 16, 1964, in Tampa, Florida, Dwight Eugene Gooden is a former professional basketball player. “Doc” Gooden is a retired professional baseball pitcher who played 16 seasons in the Major Leagues as “Dr. K” or “Doc” (MLB).
As a pitcher, Dwight “Doc” Gooden had a reputation for being one of the best in the game at his illustrious career peak in the 1980s. Some scandals and financial difficulties have marred Gooden’s off-field reputation. When inflation is considered, he made nearly $50 million (which was $36 million in actual cash earned during his real career) during his career.
Life in the Beginning:
There were three children in Dwight Gooden’s family, and he was the youngest. Gooden was born on November 16, 1964, in Tampa, Florida, the son of Dan and Ella Gooden. He was introduced to baseball at an early age and coached kids baseball while working at the Cargill Corporation. In addition to her job at a prominent neighborhood pool hall, Ella, his second wife, worked in a nursing home. When Dwight was growing up, Dan and Dwight spent a lot of time talking about baseball and practicing the game’s fundamentals. Despite Gooden’s self-described “idyllic” background, his family was plagued by substance misuse issues.
Before pursuing a career in the professional arena:
It wasn’t long before Dwight Gooden established himself as one of Tampa Bay’s top high school pitchers at Hillsborough High School. The New York Mets, the Cincinnati Reds, and the Chicago Cubs were all interested in Dwight when he was a kid. The Mets picked Dwight Gooden with the No. 5 overall choice in the 1982 MLB amateur draught. Dwight signed a contract costing $40,000 and received an $85,000 signing bonus. Additionally, Dwight earned several scholarships offers from a wide range of universities.
To ease into the professional ranks and establish himself, Dwight Gooden would begin his professional career in the lower leagues, much like most other young players. When he was sent to Kingsport, Dwight was a 17-year-old rookie in the Appalachian League. Eighteen strikeouts were recorded during one of his first two starts by Gooden. The New York-Penn League’s Class-A Little Falls was his next stop after that.
The Big Leagues have been summoned:
In 1984, a critical off-field incident helped drive Gooden’s into “The Big League.” In 1983, the New York Mets had a 68-94 record before changing managers twice (George Bamberger and Frank Howard, respectively). They only managed a sixth-place finish in the NL East.
The Mets’ general manager at the time, Frank Cashen, took it upon himself to begin the process of reorganization. Cashen would wind up putting a call-in during the playoffs for Gooden’s call-up.
Dwight Gooden made his MLB debut in 1984, when he was just 19 years old, and soon established himself as a formidable pitcher with a 98mph fastball and a curveball with a large arch. Dwight was known as “Dr. K” when pitching because of his brilliance, earning him the scorecard symbol for a strikeout: a “K.” His first All-Star Game participation was the same year when Gooden exploded into the MLB scene at 19. In the fifth inning of the 1984 All-Star Game, Gooden became the youngest player ever to appear in an All-Star Game.
After just one year in the majors, Gooden had one of his most spectacular statistical seasons in baseball. He had 268 strikeouts, 24 wins, and a 1.53 ERA in that season (1985).
As a result of this moment, Gooden became a household name in both the MLB and New York City. In the early stages of Gooden’s career, there was already talk regarding whether or not he would be inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame.
Despite this, Doc had a few setbacks in the early stages of his career. Doc was plagued by substance misuse troubles stemming from alcohol and cocaine usage throughout his life. In December 1986, Gooden was involved in a confrontation involving 22 cops at a traffic stop. An unfortunate sign for the future would be his ultimate payment of $3 million to resolve the matter.
In 1986, despite his legal problems, Gooden led his club to a 17–6 record. Gooden was fifth in the National League with a total of 200 strikeouts. The Houston Astros’ Mike Scott, the league leader in strikeouts that year, had more than a hundred more.
Dwight Gooden had his first losing season at 10–13 in 1992. In addition, this was the first time in his career that he had lost ten games at once. The following season (1993) showed no evidence of development or catharsis, as Gooden ended 12–15. “From Phenom to Phantom” was Sports Illustrated’s cover article on Gooden during this same season.
Dwight Gooden was detained for driving while intoxicated and with a suspended license in 2002 in Tampa, Florida. Since then, he’s been arrested several times on various offenses; his most recent arrest was on July 22, 2019, in Newark, New Jersey, for driving while drunk.
Problems with money:
Dwight Gooden’s 1984 Topps Traded #42 Dwight Gooden trading card is valued at $15.53 as of 2020. During his time in the Major Leagues, Dwight Gooden raked in more than $36 million in salary. A three-year $15.45 million contract he signed in 1991 was his most lucrative agreement. The Mets paid him $5.9 million for the 1993-1994 season, his highest one-year compensation.
By 2003, Gooden was unable to provide for his family any longer. Consequently, he and his family had to leave their $2 million Florida dream house. The court ordered Gooden to pay his ex-wife $13,600 a month in support, despite claiming that this amount was considerably more than what he earned. When he was working as an assistant to Yankees owner George Steinbrenner, his only source of income was a primarily ceremonial $100,000 paycheck.
The Mountain Goats (an American indie rock band) adopted his name for a song named “Doc Gooden” on their 2019 album “In League with Dragons,” even though he is a cautionary tale. John Darnielle, a singer and composer wrote the words of the song named after Doc Gooden, which features several parallels to the life of a baseball player.
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