Dwight Gooden

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How Dwight Gooden Went From Doc To Grandfather

May 15, 2019 - 4:41 pm
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By Joey Wahler

Few use his given name, Dwight. So before becoming the Mets’ 1984 National League Rookie of the Year and ’85 Cy Young Award winner, where’d he get the nickname “Doc” Gooden?

“They started calling me Doc when I was in Little League,” Gooden said. “The thing was, was my dad’s best friend was an actual doctor. He was and MD. And he used to always tell my dad that I was becoming a doctor, not a baseball player. So for whatever strange reason, when I would be pitching in my Little League games, every time I’d get a strike on a batter he’d say, “Come on Doc! Up and in Doc! Come on Doc! Get another pitch in Doc!”

In 50 starts from August of 1984 through May of ’86, Gooden goes 37-5 with a 1.3 ERA. Baseball’s most dominant pitcher still wasn’t 22 years old.

“When you’re in the moment like that and you’re pitching, you’re not really aware of the things you’re doing,” Gooden said. “You’re just enjoying the moment but you feel like you’re totally locked in. It’s almost like being in entertainment and you’re like, in concert. I guess that’s the best way I can describe it.

Years ago, a curveball was sometimes called, “Uncle Charlie,” but Gooden’s was so good that Met broadcaster Tim McCarver named it, “Lord Charles.” Now Gooden’s son sells Lord Charles T-shirts at goodenbrand.com.

“He just came out with this T-shirt where it’s got Lord Charles and it has the grip of my curveball, like me gripping the ball on the shirt," Gooden said.

Ron Darling, Gooden’s ex-teammate, was recently diagnosed with thyroid cancer.

“You hate to see that,” Gooden said. “A guy that was my teammate and good friend, and still good friends. That anytime you see him going through anything like that you feel for the guy and his family. You hope that he can pull through it.”

This once 19-year-old phenom is now a proud grandfather.

“It’s fun, just had my sixth grandkid,” Gooden said. “I can never truly retire now,” he added laughing. “But it’s fun. The holidays are great, having more kids around. And now I get to watch them grow up.”​