The New York Mets have had excellent pitchers throughout their history. The franchise has accumulated seven Cy Young Awards, three of which belong to the incredible Tom Seaver and two to the former ace Jacob deGrom.
In cumulative and ratio terms, Seaver and deGrom dominate most categories in franchise history, respectively. But despite the great career they both displayed in the Mets organization, the best season a pitcher has ever shown in Queens belongs to another player, Dwight Gooden.
Doc Gooden's 1985 season with the New York Mets
Given Seaver's breakout season in 1969 or deGrom's incredible performance in 2018, it's hard not to remember what Gooden accomplished in 1985. Only in his second year after making his NL Rookie of the Year debut in 1984, the phenomenon of barely 20 years old arrived at the '85 season with a mission.
Doc pitched 35 games that season, going 24-4 with an incredible 1.53 ERA in 276.2 innings pitched. The same year he accumulated 268 strikeouts, obtaining the Triple Crown, the only pitcher to do so in the 1980s.
Gooden's 12.2 rWAR surpassed Seaver's 10.6 in 1975 and deGrom's 9.5 in 2018. That 12.2 WAR, using the same comparison framework would only be surpassed by Walter Johnson's 1912 and 1913 seasons at 13.5 and 14.6, respectively and the 12.6 achieved by Cy Young in 1906, in MLB history. In terms of ERA, his franchise record of 1.53 is the second-best mark after the dead ball era behind only Bob Gibson's 1.12 ERA in 1968.
Gooden's approach that season was not unlike the 1984 and 196 seasons, though the same storyline was a surreal feeling, feeling like he was totally in control of his pitching. All this effort accomplished the National League Cy Young award for him that year. He also finished fourth in the voting for the Most Valuable Player of the National League and was selected in the All-Stars game.
Dwight Gooden gave us one of the most memorable seasons in the history of the New York Mets and the entire MLB. His talent and dominance on the field rank his 1985 season as the best in franchise history. Soon this effort and his run with the Mets will earn him the right to see his number retired at Citi Field.