Chat with Doc Gooden
Gooden threw a no-hitter on May 14, 1996, as a member of the New York Yankees.
Welcome to SportsNation! On Tuesday, former New York Mets pitching ace Doc Gooden stops by to chat about the baseball season, as well as his new book "Doc: A Memoir" that hit stores earlier this month.
Gooden, @DocGooden16, stormed into baseball accumulating 91 wins in his first five seasons. He followed up his 1984 Rookie of the Year campaign with the 1985 Cy Young Award, when he dominated going 24-4 with a 1.53 ERA and 268 strikeouts. He won his first of three World Series rings in 1986, the season when he became the youngest all-star starting pitcher (21 years, 7 months, 30 days).
"Doc," however, tells the story of how Gooden's promising career got derailed by drug and alcohol addiction. He shares his thoughts, with fresh and sober eyes, on his successes and failures, on and off the field. He goes beyond baseball, to his childhood with an alcoholic, womanizing father to overcoming his own demons on the show "Celebrity Rehab."
Send your questions now and join Gooden Tuesday at 2:30 p.m. ET!
Buzzmaster (2:28 PM)
Doc Gooden will be here in a couple of minutes to take your questions!
Buzzmaster (2:32 PM)
What's the one thing you'd hope people would get from reading your book?
Doc Gooden (2:33 PM)
I think the one thing is understanding if they're going through the situation, have someone to talk to, be honest with your true feelings. Do what's best for you first.
Have you talked to the Mets' Matt Harvey about how to handle being young and pitching in New York? What would you tell him?
Doc Gooden (2:33 PM)
I haven't had the opportunity to talk to him yet. I've seen him pitch live. I look forward to talking with him and let him pick my brain. Any advice I could give him or asked for, I'd give him.
Very blunt question for you Doc, did you ever think you'd make it to this point in your life? Did you ever stop to think about the worst case scenario due to your addiction?
Doc Gooden (2:34 PM)
A little bit. When I was at the low point in 2010, going through depression and everything, I thought this was when I was going to die. I'd been to jail, prison and the only thing left was the cemetary. The book was good therapy for myself, but hopefully to help others as well.
Doc, first, I want to say thanks for sharing your story. My question is, you've been sober before, so how do you know that this is the time that you stay sober?
Doc Gooden (2:35 PM)
I can't predict the future, but if I continue to do the things today that I did yesterday and tomorrow do the things I'm doing today and go with that flow to see what happens.
Would you say your celebrity was more of an advantage or disadvantage in prison?
Doc Gooden (2:36 PM)
Probably a disadvantage in the beginning then probably an advantage. Guys saw I was there to do my time and wasn't better than anyone. When you first got there, they expected you to be a certain way and I wasn't like that. They saw I was just trying to do my time and accepted me.
Do you think there was anything you could have done to not having gone down the road of addiction?
Doc Gooden (2:36 PM)
I think the one thing I could have done is recognize I did have a problem. But also talk to my parents with my true feelings inside as opposed to medicating myself with drugs and alcohol.
What do you make of the Yankees' patchwork pitching rotation right now?
Doc Gooden (2:37 PM)
I think they've been doing well. With all of the injuries they've had to the position players. CC coming back from surgery. Pettitte with his age. I think they're doing great holding up. They just need to get everyone healthy. Overall, I think they have the best bullpen in baseball. They're doing well.
Looking back, were you able to ever truly enjoy your success that you had at a young age, since you were already battling addiction?
Doc Gooden (2:38 PM)
I was able to enjoy my rookie year. After that, the expectations of others and the media became my expectations. Those took away the joy for me.
You were already very much in the public for appearing with Dr. Drew on his TV show, so what made you decide to write a book about your life, which is also again very public?
Doc Gooden (2:39 PM)
It was a situation where going on with Dr. Drew allowed me to take the mask off. I admitted to everyone else that I was an addict. Before that I was in a little denial still. When I did the show, it was a burden lifted off of me. Then I could really tell my story, as opposed to someone else telling it.
Doc, what has the response to the book been so faR?
Doc Gooden (2:40 PM)
Book's been great. A lot better than I expected or imagined. The sales have been great, but more important, the feedback has been great, are happy I did it. You want to be remembered for positive things, so I wasn't sure how it would be accepted. It's more than I could have imagined. It's more than just baseball, you're dealing with life.
Marty (Third Base)
What was your rock bottom moment that helped lead to you getting clean and sober?
Doc Gooden (2:41 PM)
The last time was weird. Missing the parade in 1986 was rock bottom. Talk to my son in prison was rock bottom. Going to prison at 40 was rock bottom. My point was I was dealing with my addiction and I was listening to gospel music and the song really touched me. It got me turned around. I called a friend and said I need to turn it around, I need rehab. That helped me on the right path.
Hey Doc, what do you make of the potential Harvey-Wheeler 1-2 punch for the Mets over the next decade??
Doc Gooden (2:41 PM)
If these guys stay healthy and pitch to their potential, they should be fun to watch for years to come. It's a great way to build an organization, through pitching. I'm looking forward to watching them for years.
Andrew Z. (Struthers, OH)
What advice would you give other people about the choices they make in their lives?
Doc Gooden (2:42 PM)
The advice I give is being honest and true to yourself. Having someone to talk to. Helping others. Help others uplift their lives.
Do you think there's too much pressure on Wheeler to perform at Harvey's level? All these articles talking about a "great 1-2 punch" seem to take his success as as much of a given as Harvey's is. We know Harvey can handle the pressure. Can Wheeler?
Doc Gooden (2:43 PM)
I think Wheeler can handle the pressure. I think it will be a competitve friendly thing. I know with myself in the early 80s with Sid Fernandez and those guys, we rooted for each other. At the same time, you have to be very careful, as he'll be questioned about matching the same success. But he has to worry about himself, not Matt Harvey.
What was your most proud achievement?
Doc Gooden (2:44 PM)
My most proud achievement, being able to be involved in my kids lives on a day to day basis. Being there for them now after dealing with my addiction.
Do you keep in touch with a lot of your old teammates/coaches?
Doc Gooden (2:44 PM)
Yes. I still see a lot of those guys, either at Citi Field or Yankee Stadium. It's good to see them, after spending so much time together.
the comparisons to you are inevitable for matt harvey. what is different about the way you guys pitch?
Doc Gooden (2:45 PM)
What is different is he has four pitches. I only had two, fastball and curve. The competitiveness is right there. He attacks guys and goes after them. If he stays healthy, I'm sure the comparison will be even more as he goes on with his career.
Do you think you had a predisposition to becoming an addict?
Doc Gooden (2:46 PM)
I think the situation was where, not to make excuses, it was already in my genes, with my dad being an alcoholic. I'm not reponsible for becoming an addict, but I am held accountable for my recovery.
How do you think the experience for today's "phenoms" is different than when you came into the big leagues?
Doc Gooden (2:47 PM)
The difference now is obviously when I came into the big leagues, there were no team doctors, psychologists. When you got to the big leagues, it was congrats, come pitch tomorrow. Now they have guys who help them find a place to live, guys to talk to. Those are some big differences.
Doc Gooden (2:48 PM)
Nice chatting with you guys. Thanks for all of the support throughout the years. It means a lot.