Rookie of the year at 20. Cy Young award at the age of 21. 100 wins by 25. The biggest question early on was not whether he would win 300 games, but if he could reach 400. He outdueled Nolan Ryan to lead the Mets to their first World Series victory in 15 years. Countless scouts called Gooden the best pitching prospect in the past 50 years. With a rising fastball in the high 90's and a Koufax-like curve, Doctor K had it all. What transpired in the next 10 years is one of the most tragic sports stories, for his bout with substance abuse ruined the career of potentially the greatest pitcher since WWII. Oh, what could have been....
See: Len Bias, Darryl Strawberry, Jose Canseco et al.
December 11, 2003