In 1985, Doc Gooden had a season for the ages, thrilling Mets fans and putting up numbers that still qualify as weapons-grade saber-porn: 25-3 W-L record, 1.53 ERA, 268 strikeouts, 276 innings pitched! Of course, we all remember Doc Gooden being awesome once upon a time, but does a his magical 1985 campaign stand up to a repeat viewing?
To answer this question, I asked Wendy Thurm of Fangraphs and The Score to watch a Doc Gooden start from that year. Specifically, August 20, 1985, when Doc fanned 16 Giants and barely broke a sweat doing it. These days, Wendy’s more on the Giants beat, but she grew up in the New York era and saw many a Doc Gooden start in her day. So Wendy and I talk about seeing Doc pitch again, we discuss the weird bygone folkways of the Shea Stadium crowd, and we contemplate the oddly smalltown feel of a vintage WOR broadcast. You’ll also get to hear my story about my quasi-religious childhood encounter with Doc himself.
Listen below or, even better, subscribe to Replacement Players on iTunes. If you go the iTunes route, please take an extra few seconds to leave the podcast a shiny review. You can also check out a special Extra Innings post, which features some great screenshots of the Shea crowd and a sliver of the postgame Kiner’s Korner show.
Also: During the podcast, I mention that I’ve written a novel called Hang A Crooked Number, which is now in the quarterfinals for the Amazon Breakthrough Novel Award. The book is about an imaginary world where baseball acts as an elaborate front for spy operations. It’s about a lot of stuff, actually, but that’s where it starts. If you’re interested in reading a (very) small excerpt of this novel, you can download that for free here. You can go ahead and review that too, if the spirit moves you. Thanks!