The month of February is Black History Month, a time to remember the great African-American heroes of our past.  Those men and women who made a stand for what was right and paved the way for a brighter future.  As a tribute I decided that throughout the month I will be writing pieces on those very individuals, sort of as a thank you for what they’ve done, who better to start off with than legendary ace Dwight Gooden.

Dwight Gooden was born November 16, 1964 in Tampa Bay, Florida.  He was drafted fifth overall at the young age of 18 and made his MLB debut at the tender age of 19.  As a 19 year old wonder kid we won 17 games in his first season.  He was the youngest All-Star ever that year and won the Rookie of the Year award.  This was a great season, but it was nothing compared to what he did that following year.

In 1985 I believe that Gooden may have pitched the greatest season in the history of baseball.  He won the Triple Crown of pitching by notching 24 wins, 268 strikeouts, and a 1.53 ERA.  Pretty impressive numbers for a 20 year old.  He was awarded the National League Cy Young award.

Then in 1986 Gooden notched 17 victories and his team won the World Series beating the Boston Red Sox in 7 games.  Then his troubled life began.

During the victory parade Gooden was a no show, it was later revealed that he was doing cocaine on that day.  Throughout his career Gooden would later test positive cocaine on multiple occasions.  In 1988 he gave up one of the most historic homeruns in Met history to Mike Scioscia.  It will go down in history as one of the most disappointing moments in Mets history.  Gooden would later be accused of rape in 1991 though the charges were never issued.  He would later pitch a no-hitter with the Yankees but his legal troubles did not end.

In 2002 he was arrested for driving under the influence and driving with a suspended license, he would commit the same crime the following year.  In March of 2005 he was arrested for punching his girlfriend and later that year for fleeing a traffic stop under the influence of alcohol.  The next year he showed up for a probation hearing high on cocaine and was sentenced to seven months in prison.

Dwight Gooden paved the way for the Britney Spears’ and the Lindsay Lohan’s of the world.  Become very successful when you are young and then throw your life away.  Great message for the youth of today’s world.  I’m not saying Dwight Gooden made a few mistakes, I’m saying he made a lot of mistakes.

Check back for my next Black History Month profile.