Apr 14, 2024; New York City, New York, USA; New York Mets former pitcher Dwight Gooden speaks during his number retirement ceremony before a game against the Kansas City Royals at Citi Field. Mandatory Credit: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports

The Doctor is in.

30 years after throwing his final pitch with the New York Mets, Dwight “Doc” Gooden’s career came to a fruition. The 59-year-old Gooden became the fifth player (ninth person) in franchise history to have his number lifted into the rafters as the Mets officially retired his No. 16 on Sunday.

It was a long time coming for Gooden, arguably the greatest pitcher in Mets’ franchise history. When Gooden pitched, it was an event. Shea Stadium was his until it wasn’t. He battled his own demons, as his career, which was on a Hall-of-Fame track, was ultimately derailed by cocaine and alcohol addiction.

While he tried his hardest to make things right with the fans, it took nearly three decades for that to come to a head. But thanks to Mets owners Steve and Alex Cohen, Gooden is now officially considered Mets royalty—if he wasn’t already.

Another piece of royalty, play-by-play voice Gary Cohen, who was inducted into the team’s Hall of Fame in 2023, was by his lonesome in SNY’s broadcast booth. That’s because Keith Hernandez and Ron Darling were on the field alongside Gooden, helping honor their former teammate. Cohen was in charge of putting a bow on the ceremony for the viewers at home.

“You know, I arrived with the Mets in 1989, and Doc had already had his great seasons, particularly that seminal 1985 season,” said Cohen, as Gooden was driven around a golf cart saluting to fans from the warning track. “But what always stood out to me was the way that Doc was treated by his teammates. He was treated like royalty, even when he was less than the Doc he had been in ’85 — he was always treated like something special by the people who played with him because they had seen him at his gloriest best. And even until his last days as a Met in 1994, he was still The Doctor.

“He spent 11 seasons with the Mets. How do you ever equal what you did as a 19 and 20-year-old when you reached the pinnacle of baseball? Doc was talking earlier (Sunday) about the huge mural depicting him in his pitching motion that was on the side of a building on 42nd street — and seeing it for the first time. And as a 20-year-old, how overwhelmed he was by the magnitude. But he said that every time he came through the tunnel and came into the city and saw it again with a different person, he would pretend as if he’d never seen it before. And let his companion bask in the incredible glory of that mural.”

Gooden basked in the incredible glory of his Mets career on Sunday. While Cohen didn’t arrive on the scene until Doc was well into his prime, New York’s play-by-play voice painted a unique picture of just how revered he was by his teammates.

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About Sam Neumann

Since the beginning of 2023, Sam has been a staff writer for Awful Announcing and The Comeback. A 2021 graduate of Temple University, Sam is a Charlotte native, who currently calls Greenville, South Carolina his home. He also has a love/hate relationship with the New York Mets and Jets.