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This Birthday in Buffalo Sports History: Dwight Gooden

(Born November 16, 1964) -- Dwight Gooden had a frequently spectacular major-league baseball career. It was all but over by the time he made brief appearances in Buffalo.

The pitcher grew up in Tampa and was taken in the first round by the Mets in 1982. He had a sensational year in A-ball, and New York manager Davey Johnson thought Gooden was ready to help the Mets already. He was right.

Johnson won 17 games as a 19-year-old, and a year later completely dominated the National League in winning the Cy Young Award. He was very good in helping the Mets win the World Series title in 1986. He might have been the best young pitcher ever.

But then problems started. He was arrested for cocaine possession the following spring, and had some ups and downs for the next several years. The Mets gave up on him after 1994, and he popped up with the Yankees and Indians.

Gooden turned up in Buffalo in 1998 for four games, and one more in 1999. He finished with a 1-3 record. Gooden’s last appearance in the minors was in 2000.

--- Budd Bailey

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