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Mets retire Doc Gooden’s number: Former Rookie of the Year, 1986 World Series champion thanks New York fans

On Sunday afternoon at Citi Field, the New York Mets officially retired Dwight “Doc” Gooden’s No. 16. During his speech, Gooden said he begged the team repeatedly to re-sign him, including on a one-day contract so he could retire as a Met, but was refused. New owner Steve Cohen has spent the first few years of his stewardship acknowledging franchise legends.

“My health is good. My mental health is good. And today, I get to retire as a Met,” Gooden said to applause. “I want all you guys to know, you guys are a part of this.”

Here is Gooden’s speech:

Darryl Strawberry surprised Gooden, his longtime teammate, and was in attendance for Sunday’s ceremony. Strawberry had a heart attack last month and traveled from his home in St. Louis with a portable defibrillator. “I had to be here for Doc,” Strawberry told SNY.

Also in attendance were former teammates Keith Hernandez, Ron Darling, Mookie Wilson, Roger McDowell, Jesse Orosco, Lee Mazzilli, and others.

The Mets selected Gooden out of his Tampa high school with the No. 5 pick in the 1982 draft. He debuted as a 19-year-old in 1984 and authored one of the greatest rookie seasons ever, throwing 218 innings with a 2.60 ERA and 276 strikeouts. His 11.4 K/9 came at a time when the MLB average was 5.4. Gooden won Rookie of the Year and was second in the Cy Young voting that year.

Gooden was even better in 1985: 1.53 ERA with 268 strikeouts in 276 2/3 innings en route to winning Cy Young unanimously. He helped the Mets win the 1986 World Series, and posted a 3.10 ERA in 11 seasons with the franchise. Injuries and drug addiction derailed his career in the late-1980s and 1990s. Gooden finished his career with stints with the New York Yankees, Houston Astros, Tampa Bay Devil Rays, and Cleveland from 1996-2000.

No. 16 is the ninth retired number in Mets history, joining No. 14 (Gi Hodges), No. 17 (Keith Hernandez), No. 24 (Willie Mays), No. 31 (Mike Piazza) No. 36 (Jerry Koosman), No. 37 (Casey Stengel), No. 41 (Tom Seaver), and the universally retired No. 42 (Jackson Robinson). The Mets will retire Strawberry’s No. 18 on June 1.

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