EAST HANOVER, N.J. – Calling himself clean and sober, former All-Star pitcher Doc Gooden told Metro on Wednesday night that he was deeply hurt and disappointed by recent accusations from former teammate Darryl Strawberry.
A few weeks ago, Strawberry called Gooden a “junkie addict,” leading to concern that the former Cy Young winner had relapsed and was on drugs. Gooden has had a checkered past including jail time and has publicly battled addiction in years past. Speculation centered on his appearance in recent weeks.
But speaking at an autograph signing at Miami Mike’s Sports Zone held in conjunction with JAG Sports Marketing, Gooden said he is good and has been sober “Almost four years.” He sounded visibly hurt and frustrated by Strawberry’s recent remarks.
“It’s very frustrating when you have someone spreading rumors who is supposed to be a friend take shots like that. He’s been taking shots at me since ’86 really. A guy like that you have to pray for him and walk away really,” Gooden told Metro. “It’s frustrating. People who really know me know my heart. I’m healthy. It’s just a bunch of rumors.”
At Miami Mike’s, Gooden was greeted by well over 150 fans on hand at the family-friendly sports restaurant in north Jersey. Chants and cheers mingled for Gooden with the New York Mets game on television.
Gooden and Strawberry were the face of the Mets franchise during a successful stint in the 1980s that culminated in their World Series win in 1986.
“It’s definitely hurtful,” Gooden said. “Someone who doesn’t know you is one thing. But someone that smiles to your face and says he’s your friend and then they say that, it’s very sad and very distasteful. They have to deal with God on that. I pray for him and wish him the best.”
Strawberry is currently a pastor living in Missouri and frequently speaks on his own battle with addiction. Currently, Gooden tells Metro he is spending time with his son in Maryland, watching him play “football, basketball and baseball.”
“I’m very healthy,” Gooden said. “I feel great. If I was doing something wrong, everyone would know. But I feel great.”