Ferkovich: Dwight Gooden’s historic 1985 season

From SABR member Scott Ferkovich at The Hardball Times on April 14, 2015:

Three decades ago this summer, a hard-throwing New York Mets pitcher put together one of the most phenomenal seasons in baseball history.

And he was only 20 years old.

Just two years prior, in 1983, Dwight Gooden had racked up 300 strikeouts in 191 innings with the Class A Lynchburg Mets, while winning 19 games. Then, in September, he was promoted to the Tidewater Tides for their postseason. He pitched another 29 innings with 19 Ks, including a brilliant four-hitter against the Denver Bears in which he went the distance for a 4-2 win.

Said the Tides’ manager, Davey Johnson, who had first seen Gooden as a roving instructor in 1982 when the kid was with the Kingsport Mets of the Appalachian League: “Wherever I manage next year, Gooden will be my number one starter.”

Mets General Manager Frank Cashen was hesitant. He felt the organization had rushed former blue-chip prospect Tim Leary, with disappointing results. He didn’t want history to repeat itself with Gooden.

But Gooden’s season with Lynchburg could not be ignored. “I bite my tongue when I say this,” Cashen confessed in January of 1984, “but we may have to take a longer look at Dwight Gooden now.”

Read the full article here: http://www.hardballtimes.com/dwight-goodens-historic-1985-season/

Originally published: April 14, 2015. Last Updated: April 14, 2015.