Sunday, April 22, 2012

Doc Gooden and Childhood Memories

Sometimes writing one blogpost evokes childhood memories that become another post. In my last post I wrote about the former Mets' pitchers who have thrown either a no-hitter or a perfect game after leaving the Mets. Here's the link to that post: Another Ex-Mets Pitcher Throws a No-No/Perfecto

Where the additional post comes in is in reference to one of the men on the list: Dwight "Dr. K" Gooden. For some reason mentioning Gooden brought me back to my dad's grocery story back in 1984. April 7th be exact. For you hardcore Mets fans out there you'll know that on that date in Baseball History, Dwight Gooden made his major league debut for the Mets against the Houston Astros. Thanks to Baseball Reference for the box score for April 7, 1984:

Gooden pitched 5 innings, 3 hits, 1 run, walked 2 and struck out 5.

Its not the pitching performance that I remember, its how my dad watched that game that I recall. I remember they kept switching image on the screen from Gooden on the mound to his parents in the stands. Gooden's father in particular was interesting to my dad. I guess he could empathize with Gooden's dad sense of pride in seeing his 19-year old making his debut on TV. I wouldn't call my dad a major baseball fan though he does know a majority of the players, especially the Latino ballplayers. But there was something about that game that made him pay attention in between customers.

I recall he kept saying that Gooden looked like "Hot Sauce". Hot Sauce was the nickname of this kid who I played with during little league. After all these years I have no idea what his name was, but that kid had a helluva fastball. I should know, being the chubby kid on the team, I was put behind the plate. LOL. I used to catch him as he pitched and he used to blow up my catcher's mitt. Pop! Pop! Pop! The ball would sound off as it blew up my mitt and my hand inside of it. At one point I remember dropping the mitt because my hand felt like it was on fire.

So to my dad Gooden resembled Hot Sauce and my dad was rooting for him to do well both because of the resemblance and also so Gooden's dad could be happy for himself and his son.

Amazing what mentioning one person's name can do for one's blogging experience. LOL. Thanks to Dr. K, his dad, Hot Sauce and my dad for the brief walk back down memory lane.


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