Doc And Darryl Number Retirement A Celebration Of What Could’ve Been

Dwight Gooden and Darryl Strawberry forever defined an era of New York Mets baseball, the best era of Mets baseball. Despite that, they are forever defined not by what they did, but by what they failed to do.

We will never know how many more World Series the Mets win if Strawberry and Gooden were clean. Notably, Gooden missed the 1986 victory parade because he was getting high.

It wasn’t just about the World Series titles or other missed chances at the postseason. It was about what they did to their own careers. The narrative is they should’ve been Hall of Famers.

With regard to Strawberry, that was undoubtedly true. It’s a testament to his abilities that he was the best position player in Mets history despite the drug problems.

In his Mets career, he amassed a 36.6 WAR. For the sake of comparison, Dave Winfield, the right fielder on the other side of town, had a 32.0 WAR over his first eight seasons.

Remember, this was with Strawberry battling drug (and related domestic) problems. For that, the Mets were done with him, and he was off to Los Angeles where his life and career would spin out of control.

Gooden has always been a different issue. We forget his career was plagued by shoulder problems. We need not look further than Johan Santana to see how that can completely alter a career.

We could argue the drug problems played a role. Given how Gooden was off found drugs when he should’ve been doing other things leads credence to that. However, we’re also talking about a pitcher who threw 800.2 innings before his age 22 season.

Knowing what we know now, Gooden’s arm was abused. We saw his body break down. With that, his Hall of Fame chances might’ve been overstated. Maybe not.

Wherever you land, we can all agree Gooden limited his own potential and production. Same goes for Strawberry. It’s why they are cautionary tales.

It used to be you needed to be a Hall of Famer to have your number retired by the Mets. It should probably remain that way. Strawberry and Gooden are reasons why.

As much as they did for the franchise, they also harmed the franchise. The Mets run wax cut short for years. Their impact has been too far long lasting . . . just not the way we hoped it would be.

For Gooden, his story never seems to have a happy ending. Just when you think all is good, he’s back in the news. With respect to Strawberry, he finally seems on the right path, and you could see this moment the culmination of his not just saving his life but working towards saving the lives of others.

That’s the way it is. Retiring their numbers is about what they did. It’s also forever immortalizing what could have been. That’s the way it always was with Doc & Darryl.

Their story is more about the fall than the greatness. In the end, the Mets chose to honor all of it.