August 1, 2010

Doc & Darryl

Darryl StrawberryOn Sunday, the Mets honored Darryl Strawberry, Dwight Gooden, Davey Johnson, and Frank Cashen, their latest inductees into their Hall of Fame, by stinking up the place. I decided to go through my archives...

I still remember the first time I heard Darryl Strawberry's name. It was June of 1981, while I was in Mr.Griffin's Creative Writing class at Milford High School. Yes, I was Met fan, but I had been a disillusioned fan ever since M. Donald Grant traded Tom Seaver to the Reds on June 15, 1977. To say that I, being 14 at the time of the trade, was devastated would be an understatement.

Then came that day in Mr. Griffin's class - The latest scholastic magazine was being passed out, and guess who was on the cover. That's right, the number 1 pick in the entire nation: Darryl Eugene Strawberry. For the first time in 4 years, I was excited to be a Mets fan. Just the name alone had star written all over it. Then I started to read about the speed, the power, the rifle of an arm, the platitudes - he was the "Black Ted Williams" Oh boy...

Because of Darryl, I started to follow the Mets minor league system. What a treat - as any Mets fan knows, the early 80's was the time to follow the Mets minor league system. Not only was there Darryl, but there was Lenny, and Wally, Ron Darling came over in 1982, and then there was Doc.

I've had Yankee fans tell me that they saw Dwight pitch, when I tried to explain what it was like from '84-'86 - they just didn't get it. Yes, they saw Dwight pitch, but they didn't see Doc pitch. My friend Greg Prince, the single most talented writer I have ever had the pleasure of reading about the Mets, wrote about that time better than I ever could here, at Faith and Fear In Flushing. As Greg wrote, this was what Doc was from August, 1984 up to the beginning of May, 1986:

Dwight Gooden50 Starts

37 Wins

5 Losses

.881 Winning Percentage

25 Complete Games

12 Shutouts

404.2 Innings

412 Strikeouts

90 Walks

1.38 ERA


When Doc pitched, it was a happening. There was a buzz in the crowd that fans who didn't experience couldn't begin to understand. It was electric.

Doc & Darryl. Yeah, they could have been so much more, but what we got was pretty damned good, too.

1 comment:

Greg said...

You're a sweetheart. And were taking great pix way back when.

Per the anticipation of Straw before he was Straw, you might enjoy this: