SAYREVILLE, N.J.---It wasn’t an easy story for either player to tell, but former baseball superstars Doc Gooden and Darryl Strawberry finally opened up about their tumultuous relationship, battles with addiction and rough upbringing in the premier of ESPN’s 30-for-30 documentary: 'Doc & Darryl,' which debuted Thursday night.
Gooden and Strawberry became the poster boys for the 1986 World Champion Mets, a team that would live in infamy as cast of colorful characters who made their own rules and captured New York City by storm with their swagger and bravado.
While both Gooden and Strawberry were at the heart of the ultra-talented, but often times dysfunctional squad, both players felt that the 30-year anniversary was the perfect time to tell their side of the story.
“It just kind of happen,” Gooden told Amazin’ Clubhouse of his decision to partake in the documentary. “A lot of people were saying, ‘Doc said this, Darryl said that, they don’t really get along’ and all those kind of rumors. We wanted them to hear it from us.”
Gooden revealed details about his checkered past in the documentary along with his memoir entitled, Doc, which chronicles his rise to stardom, bouts with addiction and overcoming his personal demons to get his life back on track. A soft-spoken and shy man by nature, Gooden admits that facing his issues head on in a public forum has helped to speed up his road to recovery.
“Oh definitely, what started that is when I did Celebrity Rehab, it wasn’t about T.V, it was about finding myself,” Gooden said. “Then I came out with my book and documentary and for me to get better and continue to get better, I should tell my story. There were some dark moments that I didn’t feel comfortable talking about, but you’re only as sick as your secret.”
In Gooden’s eyes, his revelation has shown his children the real-life dangers of straying off the right path.
"I say ‘look I went through all the suffering and pain for you guys, you don’t have to do that’. ‘I see how it was when I wasn’t at birthday parties, I missed your games, or I’d show up high or something, you know how that feeling was and you don’t want that for your kids.’”
It’s a hard lesson learned for a 19-year old pitching Phenom who burst onto the Major League scene in 1984 and won a Cy Young Award just one-year later. Gooden’s promise and potential was never fully realized as substance abuse plagued him throughout his playing days and derailed a potentially legendary career.
Gooden’s drug problems didn’t stop after retirement as he was arrested several times and incarcerated for seven months in 2006 for violating the terms of his probation. The former four-time All-Star often cites those dark days in prison as a turning point in his life and the moment when he finally started to come to grips with the fact that he had lost control.
“Unfortunately you have to have someone that you really trust, that’s not going to judge you,” said Gooden of seeking help for his drug issues. “Just going to talk to you as a person and coach you. The main thing when you’re looking in the mirror, you know exactly what you’re dealing with, you can’t fool yourself. It’s something that you can’t be happy with.”
The “Doc & Darryl” documentary serves to tell the dynamic duo's untold story from their perspective and how they evolved from squabbling teammates to lifelong friends. Gooden and Strawberry’s cautionary tale urges young people to face their addiction problems head on in order to overcome them, and ultimately help others.
For more information on the 30-for-30 documentary “Doc & Darryl”, please visit:http://espn.go.com/30for30/film?page=DocandDarryl.