Legendary MLB pitcher Dwight Gooden was arrested and charged with third-degree possession of a controlled dangerous substance, possession of drug paraphernalia and being under the influence following an early-morning traffic stop and arrest on June 7 in New Jersey, according to a criminal complaint from the Monmouth County Prosecutor’s Office.
Gooden, who took the baseball world by storm with three straight all-star appearances to begin his career starting when he was 19, was pulled over by Holmdel Police “for driving too slowly on a highway, failing to maintain the lane and for having overly tinted windows,” according to the New York Post, which first reported the news. Heavily tinted windows are illegal in New Jersey.
The complaint said Gooden was in possession of “two small green zip-lock style plastic baggies containing suspected cocaine.”
Gooden’s attorney, William Petrillo, told the Associated Press that Gooden “is a kind man with a generous heart, who continually volunteers his time doing charitable work. He is loved by many and has the full support of family and friends.” Petrillo also asked the public to “reserve judgment” on the situation.
The 54-year-old Gooden is set to make his first court appearance on July 23, according to the AP.
This incident is the latest in a decades-long battle of addiction for the 1985 Cy Young Award winner.
Gooden, who spent 11 seasons with the New York Mets and played with five teams over 16 seasons, was suspended for part of the strike-shortened 1994 MLB campaign and for all of the 1995 season after testing positive for cocaine.
Also known as “Doc,” Gooden helped the Mets win the 1986 World Series title along with another then-electric superstar battling addiction, Darryl Strawberry.
The two were profiled in a 2016 ESPN “30 for 30” documentary that examined the duo’s rise and fall amid success and temptation in the Big Apple.
Strawberry has gone on to become a minister as a vehicle to help those fighting substance abuse. He expressed his concern for the four-time all-star Gooden in a 2016 New York Daily News interview.
“He’s a complete junkie-addict,” Strawberry said. “I’ve been trying behind the scenes to talk to him and get him to go for help, but he won’t listen. He thinks he can manipulate and B.S. his way through everything. His son called me to beg me to help his dad before he dies."
“The condition Doc is in, it’s bad, it’s horrible,” Strawberry said. “It’s like cocaine poison. I feel like I’ve got to get it out there because nobody else is doing anything to help him, and it might be the only way to stop him.”
Gooden replied in a statement emailed to The Washington Post, calling Strawberry “Lucifer.”
“I had always been supportive of Darryl, during his best and worst days,” Gooden said. “I recall the times he was in prison and I was there for him. I recall the times he struggled with his own addiction and I was there for him then, too.”
“I had never failed to be there for Darryl Strawberry,” Gooden said. “I don’t do cocaine and have not for years.”
Gooden told the Daily News earlier in 2016 that he hadn’t used cocaine since 2011 but his former live-in girlfriend, Janice Roots, told the newspaper that he had been abusing the drug since January 2014.
“It breaks my heart because Dwight is a loving, compassionate man who took care of me when I had health problems,” Roots told the Daily News. “But then he morphed into a cocaine monster.
“I felt helpless to do anything. I finally left because to sit there and watch somebody kill himself was devastating.”
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