Doc’s Debut

New York Mets
2 min readApr 7, 2021

I remember the call to the locker room in the Astrodome like it was yesterday, not 37 years ago today. A security guard said, “We have a young man who says his name is Dwight Gooden and that he’s your starting pitcher today.” I told him he was and please let him in and down to the clubhouse.

Doc, who was 19 years old then, was too nervous to wait for the team bus, he decided to leave the hotel early and walk to the ballpark. In his nervous energy he forgot his pass.

On April 7, 1984, Doc made his Major League debut and it was a rousing success. Gooden went 5 innings against Houston and gave up just one run on three hits in a 3–2 Mets win.

He picked up his first of 17 wins that season. He went on to win the 1984 National League Rookie of the Year, then he captured the 1985 National League Cy Young the next year.

That day in Houston was the last time anyone ever asked who Doc was again.