Darryl Strawberry during MLB match (Image: AP)
Dwight Gooden’s No. 16 and Darryl Strawberry’s No. 18 will be retired by the New York Mets in separate pregame ceremonies next year honoring players who were keys to the team’s last World Series title in 1986.
New York will have retired nine numbers of players and managers following the decision announced Friday, up from four before Steve Cohen bought the team in November 2020.
Gooden and Strawberry were integral parts of the 1986 Mets, who went a major league-best 108-54 and beat Boston in a seven-game World Series, then derailed their careers with drug problems.
Gooden’s Mets career ended when he was suspended by Major League Baseball for 60 days in June 1994 for violating his drug aftercare program. He became a free agent after the season and was suspended by MLB for the entire 1995 season for repeated violations for his aftercare program and MLB’s drug policy.
“I was completely overwhelmed when I got the call,” Gooden said in a statement released by the team. “I want to say ‘thank you’ to the fans who supported me through the good times and bad times.”
Strawberry was suspended by MLB three times after leaving the Mets, twice for positive cocaine tests and once following an arrest for cocaine possession for which he pleaded no contest.
“When I got the call from Steve, I welled up with tears of joy,” Strawberry said in a statement released by the Mets. “I started to reflect on my journey through the organization. I had some ups and downs, but in the end, I am proud of my time in New York.”
Gooden, 58, was a four-time All-Star while playing for the Mets from 1984-94, winning the 1984 NL Rookie of the Year and the 1985 NL Cy Young Award. He was 157-85 with a 3.10 ERA with 1,875 for the Mets and finished a 16-year career with the New York Yankees (1996-97, 2000), Cleveland (1998-99), Houston (2000) and Tampa Bay (2000). Overall, the right-hander went 194-112 with a 3.51 ERA and 2,293 strikeouts.
Strawberry, 61, was an eight-time All-Star, including seven during his time with the Mets from 1983-91. He hit .263 with 252 homers, 733 RBIs and 191 steals for the Mets, then left as a free agent to sign with the Los Angeles Dodgers. He played for the Dodgers through 1993, spent the following season with San Francisco and finished with the Yankees from 1995-99.
Strawberry hit .259 with 335 homers, 1,000 RBIs and 221 stolen bases in 17 seasons.
The Mets previously retired No. 14 (Gil Hodges, 1973), No. 17 (Keith Hernandez, 2022), No. 24 (Willie Mays, 2022), No. 31 (Mike Pizza, 2016), No. 36 (Jerry Koosman, 2021), No. 37 (Casey Stengel, 1965), No. 41 (Tom Seaver, 1988). In addition, Jackie Robinson’s No. 42 was retired throughout Major League Baseball in 1997.
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