Hall Of Fame Debate: Cast Your Vote For Dwight ‘Doc’ Gooden!!!

Hall Of Fame Debate: Cast Your Vote For Dwight ‘Doc’ Gooden!!!

You’re going to think that I am nuts with this one, but that is alright – I can take it.

My passion for baseball began in the mid-1980’s and was in full-stride well before my tenth birthday.  First, I enjoyed playing the sport casually to then playing competitively.  I enjoyed catching a few innings of baseball on television to making sure that I was home for Braves and Mets games on cable.  And I went from thinking that baseball cards were cool to becoming enthralled with them.

In my thirty years of being a pretty devout baseball fan, I have seen some amazingly talented young guys hoist the sport on their backs during their debut season in the big leagues.

From Ken Griffey, Jr. to Hideo Nomo.  From Nomar Garciaparra to Ichiro Suzuki.  And most recently from Mike Trout to Bryce Harper.  All amazing ballplayers and all deserving of the huge amounts of attention sent their way.

But, NO player in my time as a fan has captivated fans, players, and the sport during their rookie seasons at the level that Dwight Gooden did.

At 19-years of age, Dwight Gooden broke into the game of baseball and became the sport’s best player and showcase talent.  He did it in the wildest and most crazed city of them all – New York.  And he smiled and dominated every step of the way.

No other rookies during my time as a fan have appeared on multiple national sports publications, or on the cover of nationwide periodicals like Time Magazine like Dwight Gooden did.

With the exception of Ken Griffey Jr, no player during his rookie season was able to attract new fans to the world of baseball card collecting – but Gooden did.

In his first three seasons of professional baseball, Dwight Gooden won 58 games and lost just 19.  He had an ERA of 2.32 over those three seasons and he struck out 744 men as well.  He literally put the New York Mets on his back and led them to the playoffs, ultimately winning the World Series in 1986, and along the way, he earned the nicknames of ‘Doc’ and ‘Dr. K’ for the manner in which he dissected his opposition.  He was an All-Star, a Rookie Of The Year, A Cy Young Award winner.  And he was on his way to the Baseball Hall of Fame.

Dwight Gooden was impossible to ignore, regardless of the team you were cheering for.  If ‘Doc’ was pitching, it was going to be a show.

Dwight Gooden photo

We all know about Gooden’s issues that lead to his demise – both on and off of the field.  They have been documented repeatedly and have followed him around well after his playing days ended.

And to be honest, I don’t really care.  Sure, I would love for him to have been squeaky clean – I’d like for all of the athletes that I enjoy watching to be that way.  But, I am a realist – I understand that everyone has demons, and Gooden’s were just played out in the public eye because of his very high-profile job.

Still, his major league baseball career was incredible – 194-112 record, 63.4 win percentage, 3.51 career ERA, 68 complete games, 24 shutouts, 1 no-hitter.  Gooden has a career average of 7.4 strikeouts per nine innings and a K:Walk ratio of 2.40:1.0.

Gooden appeared on the Hall of Fame ballot for the first time in 2006.  He was only named on 17 ballot’s earning him just 3.3% of the vote.  His vote tally of less than 5% of votes cast ensured that he would not be on future Hall of Fame ballots.

But, you know what – I’d vote for him.  I think that Dwight Gooden, and all that he offered baseball, is a good thing for a museum like the Baseball Hall of Fame.  I know from first-hand experience that he changed the landscape of baseball card collecting and he thrilled baseball fans all around the world each and every time he went to the mound during the early parts of his career.

I was  too young to experience and understand what ‘Fernando-Mania’ was all about in 1981.  And I was born right after Fred Lynn dominated the entire American League in 1975.

But, I was around and I have tons of memories of ‘The Birth Of Dr.K’.

And if I had my say, he would have a spot in Cooperstown.  Maybe not on the same wall as Babe Ruth and Henry Aaron and Stan Musial.  But his popularity and the attention that he brought to the sport during his era can certainly rival those gentlemen.

Chime in on Dwight Gooden’s impact on the game.  Does a player like Gooden, or players like Gooden, deserve to have a spot in Cooperstown?

I’m eager to see what you have to say!!!



14 responses to “Hall Of Fame Debate: Cast Your Vote For Dwight ‘Doc’ Gooden!!!

  1. I don’t think Dwight Gooden deserves to be in the HOF. I do think he belongs in the Mets HOF. He was a truly memorable pitcher and to me the best pitcher of the 1980’s. After his drug troubles in late 1986-1987 he wasn’t the same dominant pitcher he had been 1984-1986. He was still very good from 1987-1990, but after that it was a steep fall from where he had been.

    I do think there have been rookies beyond Gooden and Griffey Jr. that have reached a wider audience. Ichiro, Strasburg and Harper have definitely brought bigger audiences when they play and have turned non-collectors into collectors.

    • Matt- I agree that his brilliance was cut way too short to truly be a HOFer. But that brilliance was so enjoyable to watch.

      I also agree that Ichiro, Stras, and Harper have been solid in their debuts – but the 84 Topps Traded card captivated the hobby. I’m not sure about Ichiro, but Stras and Harper have so many rookie cards that it is close to impossible to compare a single rookie card of theirs to Gooden’s 84 card.

      • As far as I know at least on the states side the 2001 Topps RC was really hot at the time of release as well as Pujols Bowman RC’s.

  2. I agree w/ everything Matt D mentioned.
    When I think of Gooden, I think of ‘wasted talent & self destruction.’
    What about Vince Coleman’s rookie season 110 stolen bases!

    • McGee-Fan51, I would put Coleman into the same category as Gooden as it relates to unreal starts to a career. But he did not explode in national popularity the way that Gooden did. It probably has to do with NY vs STL, but it was also Gooden’s age that made him so impressive.

  3. Dwight Gooden in the Hall of Fame? Hell yes.

  4. If his HOF induction was based on only his first 3 years then yes but if you look at his body of work starting in year 4 I think it is obvious he doesn’t belong.

  5. i am hopefully the veterans comitee will put him in his career stats are border line but the 80s pushes him over the edge for me. so sad that drugs destroyed what could have been. had he never bee introduced to it we would likely have never had this conversation

  6. Overall stats may not be HOF but the greatness factor is a big plus. I would not object to Gooden being elected.. 3 years of super greatness, lets not forget Gooden’s next 5 years shows a 74 -34 record and was twice in the top 5 voting for CYA. He was 37 -27 when he returned and better than average. Compare his record with Mets against the ‘Koufax’ years, regular season. Not quite there but very close to Koufax stats, and Koufax is probably in the top 10 if not top 5 pitchers of all time.

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