The Wright State baseball program has announced that former major league pitcher Dwight Gooden will be the keynote speaker at the 10th annual First Pitch Banquet on Saturday, January 25, 2014, on the main arena floor in Wright State's Nutter Center.
Gooden made his major-league debut on April 7, 1984 with the New York Mets at the age of 19. He quickly developed a reputation with his 98 MPH fastball and sweeping curveball and was dubbed "Dr. K", which soon became shortened to "Doc".
When he took the mound in the fifth inning on July 10, 1984, Gooden became the youngest player to appear in an All-Star Game. He complemented this distinction by striking out the side, AL batters: Lance Parrish, Chet Lemon, and Alvin Davis. Setting up Gooden, NL Pitcher Fernando Valenzuela had already struck out the side in the fourth, putting down future Hall of Famers Dave Winfield, Reggie Jackson, and George Brett. The two pitchers’ combined performance broke an All-Star game record, coincidentally on its celebrated 50th Anniversary—Carl Hubbell's five consecutive strikeouts in 1934.
In 1984, Gooden won 17 games, the most by a 19-year-old since Wally Bunker won 19 games in 1964 and the second most for a Mets rookie, after Jerry Koosman's 19 wins in 1968. Gooden led the league in strikeouts, his 276 breaking Herb Score's rookie record of 245 in 1955, and also set the record for most strikeouts in three consecutive starts with 43. As a 19-year-old rookie, Gooden set the then-major league record for strikeouts per 9 innings, with 11.39, breaking Sam McDowell's record of 10.71 in 1965. He was voted the Rookie of The Year, giving the Mets two consecutive winners of that award (Darryl Strawberry had been the recipient in 1983). Gooden finished second in the NL Cy Young Award voting, even though he had more NL wins, strikeouts and a lower ERA than the NL winner Rick Sutcliffe.
In 1985, Gooden pitched one of the most statistically dominating single seasons in baseball history. Leading Major League Baseball with 24 wins, 268 strikeouts, and a 1.53 ERA (the second lowest in the Live Ball Era, trailing only Bob Gibson's 1.12 in 1968) Gooden earned the major leagues' pitching Triple Crown. He led the National League in complete games (16) and innings pitched (276⅔). From his second start onward, Gooden's ERA never rose above 2.00. Gooden became the youngest-ever recipient of the Cy Young Award and Pitcher of the Year Award.
In 1986, he compiled a 17–6 record. Gooden's 200 strikeouts were fifth in the National League. He became the youngest pitcher to start an All-Star Game at 21 years, seven months and 30 days of age.
In 1988, Gooden recorded an 18–9 record and in 1990, he rebounded from a shoulder injury to go 19–7 season with 223 strikeouts, second only to teammate David Cone's 233.
Gooden signed with the New York Yankees in 1996 as a free agent and no-hit the Seattle Mariners 2-0 at Yankee Stadium on May 14. He ended the 1996 season at 11–7.
He pitched for three teams from 1998 to 2000 (the Cleveland Indians from 1998–99 and the Houston Astros and Tampa Bay Devil Rays in 2000) before returning to the Yankees during the 2000 season.
A four-time All-Star, Gooden finished with a 194-112 record with a 3.51 ERA and 2,293 strikeouts during his career. He was a part of three World Series champion team (1986 New York Mets, 1996 New York Yankees, 2000 New York Yankees) and won the Silver Slugger Award in 1992.
After retiring, Gooden took a job in the Yankees' front office. He acted as the go-between man during free agent contract negotiations between his nephew, Gary Sheffield, and the Yankees prior to the 2004 season. In July 2009 he was hired as a vice president of community relations for Atlantic League's Newark Bears.
On August 1, 2010, he was officially inducted into the Mets Hall of Fame along with Darryl Strawberry, Frank Cashen, and Davey Johnson.Gooden follows in the list of great speakers, including Dave Stewart (2013), Joe Smith (2012), Bill Bavasi (2011), Dusty Baker (2010), Jeff Brantley (2009), Marty Brennaman (2008), George Foster (2007) and Steve Garvey (2006). Jim "The Rookie" Morris was the first ever speak for the WSU First Pitch Banquet in 2005.
The First Pitch Banquet features a sit-down dinner along with a silent auction. The cost for the event will be $70 per person, $500 for a table of eight or a VIP table for ten guests costing $1000. The VIP table includes recognition during the program and admission to a pre-event meet and greet with Gooden. The doors will open to the public at 6:30. If you have any questions, please contact WSU head baseball coach Greg Lovelady at (937) 775-3668 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Event Order will include:
6:30 - Doors Open, Silent Auction, Cash Bar
7:00 - Dinner
7:45 - Program with Dwight Gooden
9:00 - Silent Auction Winners Announced