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The Mets didn’t do enough to protect Doc & Darryl

Mookie Wilson says he and the Mets did not do enough to protect Darryl Strawberry and Doc Gooden from negative influences early on in their playing days (YouTube, May 2).

“They were young, in the city, they were both superstars, and I don’t think we did enough to prepare them for the pitfalls of fame in New York,” Wilson explained to ESPN’s Keith Olbermann. “It was either we ignored it or didn’t see the signs that were there. We’re talking about two human beings, and we dropped the ball.”

Wilson has been on a promotional tour discussing his new book Mookie: Life, Baseball, and the ’86 Mets.




80 comments
Alexander Scienski
Alexander Scienski

They were rising stars, what's to say they would actually listen to someone telling them they shouldn't do something.

skillsets
skillsets

Why don't you credit ESPN? It's their video.

Michael Mancino
Michael Mancino

Also, Kevin World Mitchell was one of the keys to our Chamionship. Go watch tapes of how he played for us in 1986. OF, SS, 2B I believe too. As his nickname suggests, he was all world. When we traded him to the Pods for that hick McReynolds I knew it was over. He would have gotten us another ring in 1988.

Michael Mancino
Michael Mancino

I heard Mookie speak about this. Really, nothing could be done and he basically said that. Maybe he personally as one of the few African American guys on the squad could have helped, but, believe me as someone who was their age at the same time coke was just a part of life. Sorry, that was the truth in the 80s. Guys won MVPs and Cys on it, so it was basically accepted and could be bought one block on Roosevelt from Shea. Bottom line(so to speak) is that is was a wild time to be there as a fan and I'm sure as a player and they got us the flag, which I saw raised in 1987.

George Brezny
George Brezny

In the end, people are responsible for their own actions..but it seems the Mets did somewhat give up on them to some extent, and I hate to say it George S. seemed to help them more...I felt majorly cheated as a fan by their actions.. but hope all are living peaceful lives as we weren't there for this to be debated by us fans.

Richard Davis
Richard Davis

The idea that we are not responsible for anyone but ourselves is a poor excuse.  If we saw someone on the sidewalk that we knew and needed help, would we?  If we saw a co-worker who was self-destructing, would we say "It's not my problem" and move on?  I believe this is the issue Mookie is trying to highlight. 

Yes, both Gooden and Strawberry were 'grown men', over 18 and responsible for themselves, but clearly they were struggling with various issues and others either ignored it or didn't care enough to step in and help.  And before you say that's wrong or that it was someone else's responsibility, I'd ask you....if it were a good friend of yours whom you cared about, how far would you go to stop them from destroying their life?

lindro88
lindro88

I recommend a book called "The Ticket Out". It's about Straw's High School team. Darryl had real issues growing up. As far as "protecting" them....both suffer from Alcoholism. That's not something a GM can protect a player from. Mookie sounds like he's got big issues with the Mets. As much as I loved him as a player, he's coming off as a bitter guy, who feels like he's owed something. If he has issues with his treatment, that's fine, but dragging Doc and Darryl into it is disapointing

mets1973
mets1973

Cashen was very concerned about Doc and Straw. He thought Strawberry's first marriage was detrimental to his well being. He also dealt away guys like Kevin Mitchell who was thought to have a malign influence on both Straw and Doc. One of the reasons for Cashen's  rift with Davey Johnson was that the manager did little to curb party animals like Hernandez and Darling from bringing Doc and Darryl into bars and clubs and partying all night.

Bryan McEntee
Bryan McEntee

As good as Harvey was last year, Doc was better his first year. Hard to imagine but true

hankypanky
hankypanky

Okay, that was then. Now what? How does one go about selecting a potential delinquent? Do you ask them for a personal family history? Do you hire a team counselor for the youngsters? Do you hire a psychologist to evaluate their character?

Michael Frias
Michael Frias

I'm surprised someone hasn't tried to blindly blame the Wilpons for all of this, despite the fact that they only owned 1% of the team when the drafted Doc and Staw.

WoodsideNative
WoodsideNative

They were grown men, albeit young men. They should have known  right from wrong, especially growing up where they did. 

Nobody is to blame but them. They were the best with all the future glory in the palms of their hands and they blew it for the pleasures of "today". Best the Mets ever produced, or probably ever will.

cmetsfan
cmetsfan

Coke was a product of the 70's(think crack was created in 85 or something), and maybe the owners/whoever didn't even know anything about the city scene. 80's were an amplified time apparently.

Bob Primosch
Bob Primosch

Davey's laid back approach probably didn't help either.  The only guy he ever really got tough with was George Foster, who was on his way out anyway.  It is not the manager's job to run the players' personal lives, but leaving Doc and Darryl to their own devices was a mistake by the entire franchise.  The image of Doc watching the '86 World Series parade from some crackhouse on Long Island is heartbreaking.

7up17_2go
7up17_2go

They didn't do anything to protect Wally, Raffy Santana, HoJo and Darling either, and they turned out just fine.... 

nyciti
nyciti

No matter what you do, a person is looking for trouble will find it. A person who wants to stay out of trouble will. there are many examples of young players blossoming into a super star and avoided trouble.  To blame a person or organization for someone who actively went out of their way to find trouble is foolish. What ever happened to personal responsibility?

Doubleday
Doubleday

I watched them both play.  In the beginning, Dwight Gooden was one of the best pitchers ever to put on a uniform, and Darryl Strawberry was the first true offensive superstar to rise through our or organization.  They were as good as it gets.  The organization failed in keeping them on the right track, and neither Gooden nor Strawberry were worth a d*mn with a monkey on their back.  I blame Frank Cashen and, in all honesty, Captains Keith Hernandez and Gary Carter, for not stepping up and keeping Gooden and Strawberry out of trouble.  Baseball plucks these kids out of some of the worst places on earth, be it the slums of Los Angeles or the projects in Tampa, or some tiny, dusty town in the Dominican Republic.  They pay them ridiculous amounts of money to play a kid's game, sometimes from the age of 16 or 17, and SHOULD take more of a responsibility for fostering these kids into men, and not just exploiting them for their talent.

Macacawitz
Macacawitz

I tend to agree.  Even though management shouldn't have had to - these are supposed to be "professionals" - they might have have done themselves a favor by keeping a closer eye on those two.  The bottom line is that the 80s team underachieved, they should have won at least one more championship, if not two.  Say what you want about Steinbrenner, but his micromanagement of free spirits often paid dividends, including resurrecting the careers of those two.  I think you'd be hard pressed to find two players who came into the game with more talent.  They might have benefited greatly from some tough love at the right time.  Too late now, we'll never know, and that's a shame. 

metsie
metsie

The negativity towards one of the great Mets here on the comments is really unfortunate. Easy does it guys. It's just his opinion, and it doesn't matter. If you were lucky enough to watch him play, maybe you'd be slower to criticize. No one had more heart and passion. 

hankypanky
hankypanky

Whitey Herzog used to say that Gooden would beat them on Friday night but that the Cardinals would even things up on Saturday and Sunday.

Gooden was magic. Nobody today comes close.

hankypanky
hankypanky

Whitey Herzog used to say that the Mets would beat them with Gooden on Friday night but that the Cardinals would even things up on Saturday and Sunday. No doubt, Gooden was pure magic. Nobody comes close.u

Michael Frias
Michael Frias

@Bryan McEntee For anyone that watched Doc's first 2 seasons, he was nearly unhittable.  Gooden pitching at Shea on a Friday night was a "must attend" event in 84 & 85.  I wouldn't doubt if the mets AVERAGED 15,000 walkups on a Friday night when Doc was on the mound.

mets1973
mets1973

@hankypanky I remember an interview with Tim McCarver and Joe McIlvaine where McIlvaine went into great detail about how the Mets looked into a prospect's background before they drafted him. Either he was lying or the process was a disaster. Several players in the Mets system, Darryl, Doc, Lenny, Wally (Well, he was a leftover from the Payson era)Mitchell,Floyd Youmans, David West had drug or alcohol issues. It was once written that Gooden first sampled cocaine while in the minors. In 1988 or 89 the Mets hired a psychiatrist named Alan Lans to counsel the players. He didn't do too well.

7up17_2go
7up17_2go

@Michael Frias  The Wilpons all ready have used up their "victim card" with the Madoff scandal....

MMIAA
MMIAA

@WoodsideNative ROFL..........do you live in NY City that is not Schenectady............

Doubleday
Doubleday

@7up17_2go  Darling went to Yale.  Gooden and Strawberry barely finished high school.  Not a fair comparison.  Wally had a well-publicized gambling problem.  Raffy and Hojo didn't come up in the Mets organization.

Doubleday
Doubleday

@nyciti  Kids from the slums, who grew up with nothing, suddenly having their pockets lined with disposable cash is a recipe for disaster.  Any parent knows this.

Pete Brilvitch
Pete Brilvitch

@Macacawitz When Doc first came up, all I heard is that that he had his heard on straight because of his parents. They seemed like great people from the TV interviews. If they couldn't keep his head on straight what were the Mets supposed to do? They also have to be responsible for their own actions. Also, this idea that they were exploited is pure nonsense.

heynow20
heynow20

I was lucky enough to watch him play but the Debbie Downer mentality is a little much, especially when it takes away from a team searching for success/hope.  The team has been a good story this month; his negative stories are eating into that...

suffermet
suffermet

@Michael Frias @Bryan McEntee  I remember going to a game in July, 1984 when I was 7 years old.  Mets v Cubs.  Mets were a game or two out of first behind the Cubs. Gooden pitched 8 innings, 4 hits, 1 run. It was one of the most electric non-playoff games I've ever been to.  

7up17_2go
7up17_2go

@doubleday @7up17_2go So I guess the Mets didn't do enough to protect him and Lenny as well;


 Don Henley said it best....


"I'm a victim of this, I'm a victim of that, my daddy's too thin and my mommy's too fat......."

nyciti
nyciti

@doubleday @7up17_2go So now baseball teams need to set up a department that that targets certain players for "protection". who determines which players need protecting? what is the criteria? is based on race? Income? family upbringing? What if a player that's been targeted doesn't want to be "protected"?

stage52
stage52

@7up17_2go I like the line"Deadhead sticker on a Cadillac"  better  LOL

Pete Brilvitch
Pete Brilvitch

@7up17_2go Didn't Jerry Koosman get jail time for tax evasion? I guess the Mets didn't do enough to protect him either.

7up17_2go
7up17_2go

@nyciti @doubleday  I haven't been "plucked" since I broke up with my girl last month.  Insert sad face here....

nyciti
nyciti

@doubleday @nyciti Plucked?? I wish I was plucked and paid millions. My family would be perfectly fine with that as I'm sure theirs were as well.