With apologies to Cindy Lauper for the above headline, as you’ve probably heard by now, former Mets phenom Dwight Gooden’s latest in a long line of publicized transgressions is allegedly having abandoned his wife and two children. With next weekend marking Gooden’s induction into the Mets Hall Of Fame — alongside former manager Davey Johnson, former GM Frank Cashen and teammate Darryl Strawberry, Fanhouse’s Greg Couch pleads with Wilpon, Inc., “Don’t honor Gooden…the only good I can see coming from this is that Gooden’s wife and kids will know where to find him for a day.”
Why keep applauding him? He has been applauded, honored, cherished too much in his life. That’s part of the problem for a lot of these athletes who keep getting into trouble, cheating, doing things that society does not allow.
You have things handed to you, are given too much money, have people solving your problems for you and covering your mistakes, and then it comes time for you to solve a problem for yourself, show some toughness.
And you don’t know how. In some ways, it’s almost cruel to keep honoring Gooden, who doesn’t need another pass while the Mets use him to sell tickets for a day.
Should a Hall of Fame be about the personal side? I guess I don’t know, honestly. Maybe it shouldn’t be.
So I can’t even come up with a hard-and-fast rule here for reaching a Hall of Fame. If you want to have a Hall of Fame with acceptance by numbers, then fine. Set the standards and say if X number of strikeouts are thrown, or Y number of homers hit, then a player is in.
But they use a vote for a reason. It’s subjective. And at some point, a guy like Gooden does not deserve to be applauded anymore.
If Couch wishes to argue that a deeply flawed person like Dwight Gooden is a crummy role model, he’ll get no argument from this corner. But if a Mets Hall Of Fame & Museum is meant to be any sort of accurate reflection of the franchise’s history, it would be thoroughly dishonest to banish Gooden, without question the second most important starter in Amazins’ history and for a brief spell, one of the exciting professional athletes in all of organized sports. In light of the recent accusations leveled at Doc, perhaps it would be a bit creepy if the Tampa product received a long ovation at Citi Field next Sunday, but if Gooden’s too shitty a human being to include in the Mets’ Hall of Fame, they might as well bury the 1986 World Series trophy while they’re at it. At the risk of going Dick Young on Couch’s ass, said title was captured with major assistance from all sorts of reprobates, including but not limited to the sniffles-afflicted Keith Hernandez, future domestic violence poster kids Straw, Wally Backman and Kevin Mitchell, and oft-mocked captain of industry / human chemistry experiment Lenny Dykstra. At some point, you’ve got to separate the art from the artist. If I can enjoy Roman Polanski’s “Knife In The Water”, surely Couch can acknowledge Gooden’s artistry and simply hope or pray the artist gets some help?