Faced with the likelihood of not making the opening day roster, New York Yankees pitcher Dwight Gooden retired today.
Gooden, who signed a minor league contract in December, struggled this spring, going 0-1 with a 7.90 ERA in six games. He finished his career with a 194-112 record and a 3.51 ERA, striking out 2,293 in 2,800 2-3 innings.
"It's a sad and enjoyable day for myself," Gooden said. "I've enjoyed a great career. It's been a joyous ride."
Numerous Awards, Success for Right-Hander
The 36-year-old right-hander ends his career six wins short of 200 victories, a goal Gooden set at the start of spring training.
The Yankees appeared poised to fill their open bullpen spots with Darrell Einertson, Todd Williams and Brian Boehringer, sending all three for medical tests to make sure they were healthy.
"I said last year this would be the last uniform I would wear," said Gooden, who had on a Yankees' batting practice shirt with the No. 17 on the back. "I'm looking forward to starting my second career: spending time with my kids."
Gooden will remain in the Yankees' organization in an undetermined role.
Gooden seemed headed for greatness after going 17-9 and winning the NL Rookie of the Year award in 1984 with the New York Mets. The following year he became the youngest player — at 20 — to win the Cy Young Award after going 24-4 with a 1.53 ERA.
After reaching 100 wins at the third-youngest age — 24 years, 7 months, 3 days — in the modern era June 19, 1989, Gooden's career went downhill.
He hurt his shoulder in 1989 and made trips to the disabled list three times in a four-year period. He also was suspended for the 1995 season because of drug problems.
Finished Career With World Series Win
"Probably two things I'll remember," said Mel Stottlemyre, who was Gooden's pitching coach with both the Mets and Yankees. "The great years we had over there. You have to remember that organization was struggling. The other thing I'll remember, like everybody else, what might have been.
"I feel sadness. One of the great things about Doc, he approached this spring like his first spring."
Gooden signed with the Yankees last June 11 after being released by the Tampa Bay Devil Rays in late May. He went 4-2 in 18 games, including a 4-2 victory over the Mets at Shea Stadium July 8 in the opening game of a day-night, two-ballpark doubleheader.
"What a way to finish last year, getting another ring." Gooden said.
He helped the Yankees win the World Series in 1996 and 2000, and won a ring with the Mets in 1986. His only no-hitter was for the Yankees against Seattle on May 14, 1996.