Mets History: How losing Tom Seaver opened the door for Dwight Gooden

1989: Dwight Gooden of the New York Mets smiles on the field before a game in the 1989 season. ( Photo by: Stephen Dunn/Getty Images)
1989: Dwight Gooden of the New York Mets smiles on the field before a game in the 1989 season. ( Photo by: Stephen Dunn/Getty Images) /

Tom Seaver and Dwight Gooden get mentioned in the same sentence quite often. In 1984, their paths crossed on the New York Mets roster.

When we think of the New York Mets greatest pitchers of all-time, there are two names that must be mentioned. Tom Seaver and Dwight Gooden did some amazing things for the organization. Beyond their on-field performances, we don’t often connect the two.

It makes sense why. Seaver’s best years came in the late 1960s and early 1970s. Gooden didn’t debut until the 1980s when Seaver was hanging onto his MLB life.

I’m trying to learn more about the history of the Mets. So, when I learned this pair is directly connected, I was kind of surprised.

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In case you missed it, Seaver returned to the Mets for the 1983 season. He pitched well, but at nearly 40-years-old, he wasn’t the same man he was during his prime. A large contract plus some false assurance nobody had much believe in him to turn things around caught the organization off-guard when the Chicago White Sox selected him in the Free Agent Compensation Draft.

Seaver had a choice. He could either join the White Sox or retire. Not yet ready to call it quits, he joined the Southsiders.

The Mets now needed to find another starting pitcher. Fortunately for them, there was a teenager named Doc down on the farm knocking loudly on the door to get his opportunity.

Gooden ended up replacing Seaver on the roster despite no experience beyond Single-A. However, two straight dominant years on the farm gave the big league team hope they wouldn’t see the future Rookie of the Year winner go through too many growing pains.

As we all know, Gooden dominated during his 1984 rookie campaign. In his sophomore season, he was even better. Gooden put together a historic campaign in 1985 complete with 24 wins and a 1.53 ERA.

The transition from one great to another was better than flawless. By accident, Gooden’s major league debut came sooner than expected.

Next. Five notable trades between the Mets and Reds

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The phrase “when one door closes, another one opens” fits well with this scenario. Just as the roster thought they were losing an all-time great, they were forced into adding another to the club.

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