On August 22, 1984, star rookie New York Mets pitcher Dwight Gooden recorded his 200th strikeout of the season.
As far as modern rookie seasons go, you won’t find much better than what Dwight Gooden did for the 1984 New York Mets. At just 19-years-old, Gooden went 17-9 with a 2.60 ERA. He helped shift the narrative about the organization. Only two years after his debut, he was part of a championship squad.
Although Gooden’s signature season came in 1985 as a sophomore, his rookie season included plenty of awesome accomplishments. On August 22, 1984, Gooden reached one of those milestones.
In a 5-2 Mets victory against the San Diego Padres in Southern California, Gooden recorded his 200th strikeout of the season. The victim was Garry Templeton in the 8th inning.
This Gooden victory included a total of 9 strikeouts and was the second of three straight where he would go nine innings. After getting roughed up earlier in the month in two road starts, Gooden went out to the West Coast and defeated the San Francisco Giants and Padres in back-to-back starts. He finished up his month with another complete game, this time at home, versus the Los Angeles Dodgers.
When you look at Gooden’s strikeout numbers from the 1984 season by individual game, you’ll see a theme. There are a ton of double-digit games. From August 11-September 23, Doc made 9 starts. In 7 of them, he struck out at least 10 batters.
The 200th strikeout game saw Gooden fall short, but he still got the win and gave the Mets a gem. The game included only 3 hits from Padres bats. Gooden didn’t give anything away for free either; issuing zero walks in the performance.
Gooden cranked it up as the season progressed. In those late months, now fully accustomed to the big leagues, we saw some of the best starts from him. The kid gained some confidence and made the most of it. I don’t know what you were doing with your life at 19. I’m going to guess it didn’t involve striking out big league batters—I know my life didn’t.
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In total, Gooden struck out a career-best 276 batters in 1984. The number led the league and his 11.4 strikeouts per nine, at the time, was an MLB record.