Charting his career from the heights of his baseball success to the depths of his battles with alcohol and drugs, former New York Mets pitching ace Dwight “Doc” Gooden spoke to more than a hundred kids, their parents and others at Temple Or Elohim in Jericho on May 21.
Gooden, who was part of the “Amazin’ Mets” who beat the Boston Red Sox in the 1986 World Series and who went on to win the prestigious Cy Young award for pitching in 1987, said that what should have been the happiest moments in his life were sometimes the saddest moments.
“After we won the series,” he said “I was supposed to join the team to march in a victory parade down Broadway. But I was at my drug dealer’s house and was so out of it I missed the parade. I watched it on TV.”
Gooden was on stage at Temple Or Elohim for an hour, interviewed by Pulitzer Prize-winning Newsday columnist Ellis Henican. Henican teamed up with Gooden to write Doc, a well-received account of Gooden’s rise and fall and his eventual successful efforts at confronting and overcoming his addictions.
Wearing a tan suit and keeping a broad smile on throughout the evening, Gooden, 50, cut an impressive and imposing figure, looking much the same as he did three decades ago when he burst onto the baseball scene and quickly established himself — and the Mets — forces to be reckoned with.
Along with other Mets notables including Darryl Strawberry, Keith Hernandez, Gary Carter and Mookie Wilson, Gooden provided Mets fans with excitement and hope for baseball success.
The ’86 team delivered.
Questioned by audience members, Gooden spoke about relationships he maintains with former teammates, the influence of his father, his experiences in rehab programs and his relations with his seven children. Joining him on stage at the end of the event was his son, Dwight Gooden, Jr., who has his own sports management agency.
The event was organized by Temple Or Elohim members Bill Sobel and Neil Miller and Director of Education Deborah Tract.