The New York Mets will pay homage to former champions Dwight Gooden and Darryl Strawberry when they hang their jerseys in the rafters at Citi Field later this Spring.
According to Bill Ladson of MLB.com, Gooden’s No. 16 number will first be commemorated on April 14, followed by Strawberry’s No. 18 jersey retirement ceremony on June 1.
Dwight Gooden and Darryl Strawberry Share a Connection Best Remembered by Winning With the Mets
Gooden and Strawberry led the charge for the Mets’ 1986 World Series title that still lives in the hearts of Mets fans to this day.
Both legends are inextricably linked due to the way they took the Major Leagues by force in such a short amount of time, shared their journey on multiple winning teams, and overcame adversity in a tumultuous era.
Gooden’s Entry Into the MLB Stands The Test of Time
After joining the Mets in 1984, Gooden’s prodigious arm and otherworldly feel for the strike zone allowed him to put together a three-year run that we may never see the likes of again.
Gooden broke the MLB record for strikeouts by a rookie with 276 K’s, taking home the NL Rookie of the Year award at the tender age of 19. He then established himself as the most potent pitcher in baseball, winning the Triple Crown and NL Cy Young award in 1985 behind a remarkable 1.53 ERA, the lowest among all Triple Crown winners in history.
By the time 1986 was in the books, Gooden had added a World Series to his resume and gave the Mets a storied run for the ages.
Strawberry’s Well-Rounded Arsenal Made Him a Force to Be Reckoned With in the 1980’s
Like Gooden, Strawberry hit the ground running with an NL Rookie of the Year award himself in 1983. The lanky power hitter dialed in at least 25 home runs and stole at least 25 bases from 1984-1986 before joining the 30-30 club for the Mets in 1987.
Strawberry reached his apex in 1988 when he led the league with 39 home runs, a .545 slug percentage, and a .911 OPS. He put together a solid outing in the Mets’ seven-game World Series win over the Boston Red Sox, continuing Boston’s “Curse of the Bambino.”
Adversity and Triumphs Storied Both Legends’ Final Years in the MLB
Gooden and Strawberry struggled with and overcame drug addictions that derailed their primes, bouncing back in their later years and capturing further titles with the New York Yankees.
When chiming in on the upcoming commemoration, Gooden called it the “greatest honor I can achieve in baseball,” as a professed lifelong Met.
Gooden and Strawberry will be immortalized in the Mets franchise and receive the just due they earned, giving fans a permanent reminder of their excellence on the field.