Following Dwight Gooden's no-show for both a radio interview on WFAN with Darryl Strawberry on Thursday, as well as a Mets Fan Fest event on Saturday, Strawberry—an addict himself and Gooden's famous teammate from the 1986 World Series champions—along with Gooden's ex-girlfriend, Janice Roots, recently made public statements expressing fear for Gooden's life.
Strawberry, speaking to the New York Daily News said "My fear is that —and I know addiction—my fear is people that don't change, they die," and called the former Mets ace a "complete junkie-addict." Strawberry also said that Dwight Gooden Jr. went to him worried for his dad's life. Doc's girlfriend also wrote an open letter to him, begging him to get help.
Gooden turns 52 in November and looks perhaps 20 years older in recent photos.
Nobody wants Dwight Gooden to die, least of all his son. To that end, Gooden's son sent out a statement Sunday night trying to comfort friends of Gooden, including Darryl Strawberry, who are worried that drug use is going to kill him soon. Gooden's addictions are well-chronicled.
Here's the son's point of view:
"On behalf of myself and my brothers and sisters we would like to thank Darryl, members of the media, friends and most of all, the fans for their concern for our father's health. His problems have been well documented and publicized through the years. At this time our only concern is his health and that he takes care of himself. There has not been a single day that our love for him or his love for us has ever wavered. One thing that has always been constant has been our Father's determination to provide for us regardless of what was going on in his life. He has always provided for us and has always been there for us.
"This has been a very hard year for our entire family. With our Grandmother's diminishing health and her passing last month, the stress and sadness that this brought us has been unthinkable. She was the leader of our family and things will never be the same without her. Between this and our father's work schedule he has been under an extraordinary amount of stress, pressure and above all sadness. He has been planning on taking a break from the spotlight to rest and regroup and address his health. We will be pushing this respite up. We, as a family, are currently planning his best course of action and thank you all for your concern, messages and prayers."
The '86 Mets were popular not only for how they played baseball, but for the team's personalities. Unfortunately, some of that was fueled by drugs, and the lifestyles lived by some of the Mets players is catching up with them decades later. Gooden has provided only minimal responses to the stories: he called Strawberry's statements "unreal" and said he is "fine," and merely recovering from minor health issues.
Gooden went on the Joe Piscopo radio show on Monday and said the following: "I am healthy. I do have a drug problem. I've been an addict most my life. I am an addict. I don't hide from anything. Anything I'm doing wrong, I'll be the first to tell you."