CONTRIBUTOR | Devon POV Mason
The phenomenon that quickly captivated the baseball world and earned the name “Dr.K,” collected his first of 194 career wins in a 3-2 win over the Houston Astros.
This start almost didn’t happen as Gooden made the 3-mile walk from the hotel to the Astrodome ahead of his team, but couldn’t get in the stadium, as no one could vouch for his identity.
So Gooden climbed an 8-foot fence to get in and was seen by a security guard, who thought he was an intruder.
Nothing came of it as team trainer Steve Garland was already at the ballpark and eventually vouched for him. Gooden pointed to the situation as the perfect encapsulation of his nerves that night.
The Black Ace would go on to win NL Rookie of The Year with a 17-9 record, while posting a 2.60 ERA, with 278 strikeouts in 218 innings pitched.
Shea Stadium, to this day, has never recaptured the electricity that was commonplace any time Gooden would throw that heat or his infamous curveball know as “Lord Charles.”
The K-corner was steady popping back then.
So it’s safe to say nerves didn’t faze this “Black Knight” after all. In fact, he quickly became King of New York, and the next season he went 24-4 and won his first and only Cy Young award. Doc went 49 innings without giving up an earned run in one historic stretch in ‘85
There’s a growing generation of baseball fans who have no idea just how great Gooden was. To this day, we haven’t experienced another Black pitcher as dominant, awe-inspiring or transcending as Dr. K.