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Darryl Strawberry and Dwight Gooden: Separated at birth?

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I saw Darryl Strawberry on ESPN yesterday promoting his book Straw: Finding My Way. As usual, the conversation quickly moved onto Strawberry’s non-playing, less-awesome days. You know, the drugs, the domestic violence, the prostitutes, the prostate cancer. Fun stuff really. Here’s a good recap if you’ve been living in a bomb shelter since Y2K.

Haven’t I seen this interview before? I thought.

It turns out I hadn’t, but I’d seen something awfully close.

During the MLB Network’s first month or two, they interview Dwight Gooden at Studio 42. It was the same interview, I swear to God.

Then I got to thinking about the similarities of their two careers from a less obvious standpoint than the unlimited-potential-gone-wrong standpoint.

  • It's hard not to be nostalgic. Both came into the National League with the New York Mets; Strawberry in 1983 and Gooden in 1984.
    • Both won Rookie of the Year awards; Strawberry in 1983 and Gooden in 1984.
    • Both dominated the late 1980’s. In 1987, Strawberry became one of ten players to join the 30-30 Club after hitting 39 homeruns and stealing 36 bases. In 1985, Gooden won the Triple Crown and became the youngest-ever recipient of the Cy Young Award.
    • Both were on the 1986 World Champion Mets.
    • Early in their careers, both showed signs of the later legal and professional trouble they would incur. In 1986, Strawberry broke his then-wife Lisa’s nose in an altercation. In the same year, Gooden missed the World Championship parade because he was on a cocaine binge.
    • Both appeared on the cover of Sports Illustrated more than once; Strawberry seven times and Gooden at least four times. They appeared on the cover together once.
    • Both were Silver Sluggers; Strawberry twice and Gooden once.
    • Both signed with the New York Yankees in 1996.
    • As part of that World Championship team, Strawberry and Gooden became the only two players to win a championship with both New York teams.
    • Both finished their careers with the Yankees.
    • Both wrote books after their careers ended with nothing more than a whimper; Straw: Finding My Way by Strawberry and Heat: My Life On and Off the Diamond by Gooden.

    I have decided to keep out the drunk driving arrests, the punching-the-girlfriends-in-the-face crap, and all of the coke stuff. What else can you think of?


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