Doc Gooden's First MLB Inning (4/7/1984)
A shy and relatively quiet 19-year-old Doc Gooden embarked on one of baseball's most dominant two-year stretches on this day. Facing the also-ran Astros, a poised Gooden—16 months after being drafted out of high school—completed a 1-2-3 debut inning with relative ease.
Notes: Obviously just a slip of the tongue—Gooden did not throw six shutouts at Lynchburg the night before this game. The Gardenhire at 2B is indeed longtime Twins manager Ron.
Dickie Thon, the third Astro batter, was severely beaned the very next day by Mets P Mike Torrez. He missed the rest of the season, spent chunks of 1985-87 on the disabled/disqualified list, and was never the same player.
Doc Gooden's All-Star Debut (7/10/1984)
For any remaining sports fans still unexposed to the emerging greatness that was young Doc Gooden, his 1984 All-Star Game opening act—striking out the side as a rookie with three months of MLB experience in front of a national TV audience—took care of that.
In tie top of the 5th, Detroit's Lance Parrish and Chet Lemon, and Seattle's "Al" Davis absorbed successive K's by Gooden's hand. (Doc pitched a scoreless 6th as well, allowing a lucky Eddie Murray bloop double.)
Gooden's feat wasn't quite at the level of Carl Hubbell whiffing five straight Hall-of-Famers-in-waiting in the '34 Classic. That rendered it no less impressive.
Notes: Candlestick Park in San Francisco played host for the second (1961) and final time. Gooden carried an 8-5, 2.84 record into the game; he also had 133 K in 111 IP. He made three more All-Star teams (1985-86, 1988) in his career.
Doc Gooden Has Home Run Pop!
Doc Gooden could beat you with his bat as well as his arm (at least during his NL days.) He smoked seven longballs in his Mets career while falling one hit short of a .200 career average, and added one more four-bagger in the AL.
Here, he records his 3rd and 4th home runs, against San Diego's Ed Whitson and Atlanta's Randy St. Claire, respectively. The former was a game-tying solo shot in the 7th (although New York went on to lose 8-4). The latter helped the Mets to an 9-7 win; Gooden allowed five ER, but still went eight innings for the W.
Notes: St. Claire allowed three jacks in 1.1 innings and was outrighted to AAA Richmond for two months in response.
Doc Gooden No-Hits Mariners (5/14/1996)
Substance abuse derailed and nearly wrecked what could have been a Hall-of-Fame Doc Gooden career. As has been publicized, it nearly led him to suicide. After serving what ended up a 15-month suspension, Gooden returned to New York—as a Yankee—in 1996. On May 14, he took on Seattle.
He was now 32. His stuff was no longer electric. He was facing a Mariners lineup with four of the best players in the game penciled in—for the first time ever. He carried a 1-3, 5.67 record into the game.
All in all, the no-hitter Gooden threw that day has to stand among the five most improbable ever.
Notes: Doc finished with six walks and five strikeouts, throwing 134 pitches in a 2-0 Yankees win. Tino Martinez and Jim Leyritz contributed back-to-back RBI singles in the 6th. Beginning with this win, Gooden finished 1996 10-4, 4.85 in 23 starts. This would be the final complete game of his career.
Doc Gooden Bombed By Tuffy Rhodes (4/4/1994)
Previously unknown Cub Tuffy Rhodes dominated early 1994 baseball headlines when he slammed three home runs at Wrigley Field on Opening Day. Gooden served up all three blasts, something unthinkable once upon a time.
The former Astros washout cracked solo homers in the 1st, 3rd and 5th innings; Gooden was yanked ahead of Rhodes' 4th at-bat. Somehow, despite allowing seven runs in 5.2 innings, Gooden came away with the victory.
Notes: New York defeated the Cubs 12-8. Rhodes hit only ten other homers in his MLB career, which ended after the 1995 season. Gooden made six more starts as a Met— three quality—before being suspended for the next 18+ months.
Doc Gooden Drilled By Umpire's Throw (4/26/1989)
Through extensive research, I think I've pinpointed when this play—extracted from a "This Week In Baseball" blooper compilation, hence the opening Padre cameo—took place. If I'm right, legendary umpire Doug Harvey accidentally plunked Gooden on 4/26/89 at Shea Stadium, with Bruce Benedict at bat. (If you can confirm or disprove this, email us.)
Notes: Assuming I am correct, New York beat Pete Smith and the Braves 6-1. Gooden went 8.2 IP for the win, despite walking six.
Albert Belle Knocks Down Fernando Vina (5/31/1996)
Already carrying around a deserved reputation as temperamental, enigmatic, angry and other choice adjectives, Albert Belle's legend only grew after a collision with Brewers 2B Fernando Vina.
The Indians LF stood on first after an 8th-inning HBP. The next batter, Eddie Murray, grounded to Vina—who moved to tag the oncoming Belle in an attempt to turn two. The video shows Belle's response.
Belle was not ejected, and no fracas occurred...at first. Brewers RP Terry Burrows plunked Belle again in the 9th, obviously for retaliation. In the bottom half, Tribe reliever Julian Tavarez threw behind Brewer C Mike Matheny...and the fight was on.
Belle ultimately drew a five-game suspension for his role in the brawl and for leveling Vina. Highlights of his "collision" were replayed and debated for weeks.
Notes: Much later, Belle claimed he was only doing whatever it took to break up the double play, having failed to do so earlier in the game. He also insisted having no intent to harm Vina. P Jack McDowell supported this claim.
Matheny and Tavarez—who'd be batterymates eight years later for NL Champion St. Louis—were the only other players suspended, each also for five games.
Dave Winfield's 3,000th Hit (9/6/1993)
Throughout his career, you could set your clock to Dave Winfield. With the notable exception of 1979, he wouldn't top any leaderboards, but at the end of the year, the numbers would be there.
In fact, his steady performance over 22 MLB seasons detracted from his Hall-of-Fame credentials in the eyes of some, rather than supported them. "Winfield was always GOOD, but never GREAT for very long, " was the argument.
Whatever your position on the big fella, he still achieved what only 18 men had before him and what 12 (soon to be 13) have achieved since—knock out George Foreman.
No, not really. On September 16, 1993, Winfield joined the 3,000 hit club as a member of his hometown Minnesota Twins, where he'd signed to "end" his career. (He'd instead be traded to Cleveland during the 1994 strike for...dinner. Not making that up.)
Like most of his career achievements, any acclaim surrounding Winfield's feat paled in comparison to the retirement tours of Robin Yount and George Brett that same summer—perhaps because he was never iconic to one franchise as were Yount and Brett.
Still, he got in "The Club", and nine years later, the Hall of Fame.
Notes: Winfield finished up with 3,110 hits—20th-most ever. His 465 home runs place him 34th all-time, but he was 18th when he quit.
The milestone hit helped Minnesota to victory; the Twins entered the 9th down 2-0 and exited it tied thanks in large part to Winfield's hit and eventual tying run.
After Oakland went up again in the 13th, the Twins rallied again in their half, eventually winning 5-4 on a Chip Hale first-pitch RBI single off Roger Smithberg.
Dennis Eckersley was tagged with his ninth blown save; Mike Bordick and Craig Paquette are the A's diving unsuccessfully for Winfield's grounder. #45 Wayne Terwiliger is the first base coach, and the ump giving Dave a congratulatory pat is Chuck Meriwether.