Dwight Gooden Puts on a Santa Suit, yet the Scene is actually Hardly Festive

the item was not clear exactly how much Gooden, who won a Cy Young Award for the Mets in 1985, when he was 21, in addition to became a World Series champion the next season, was paid to put on the red suit in addition to pose for a few pictures with the dancers. A friend of Gooden’s, who did not want to be quoted publicly talking about him, said he believed the club paid the former pitcher $500.

Gooden was not the first celebrity Santa the club had employed; last year, Gooden’s former teammate Lenny Dykstra donned the beard in addition to wig.

Like Gooden, Dykstra was a key part of the 1986 champion Mets. in addition to like Gooden, his life took some profoundly bad detours inside years which followed. All of which served to form the uneasy background for Tuesday night’s event, which was attended by a smattering of reporters. Not which many customers were present, either. Not which Gooden seemed to be embarrassed or upset by the circumstances.

Photo

Gooden in a 1988 game at Shea Stadium, his characteristic high leg kick on full display.

Credit
G. Paul Burnett/The completely new York Times

“Normally, guys pay to come here,” he said. “I’m getting paid to come here.”

For Gooden, home these days is actually a rented apartment in Piscataway, N.J., which he shares with his 28-year-old daughter, Ashley. He had just returned, he said, coming from an appearance signing autographs in Chicago — which appears to be his main source of income — in addition to he said he had recently started out a line of T-shirts, caps in addition to sweatshirts emblazoned using a silhouette of his unmistakable, high-kick pitching motion in addition to the words “Doc Gooden.” For currently, the apparel is actually being sold on his website, Goodenbrand.com.

“My life is actually pretty not bad right currently,” he said.

which has often not been the case. During a career which initially seemed destined for Cooperstown, he struggled with substance-abuse issues while he was an active player.

in addition to those same issues have dogged him since his last year inside major leagues, in 2000. in addition to the item all seemed to culminate at a public forum in 2016, when Darryl Strawberry, Gooden’s former Mets teammate in addition to someone with his own history of substance-abuse issues, said aloud which he was concerned about Gooden’s well-being.

“My fear is actually which — in addition to I know addiction — in addition to my fear is actually which people who don’t change, they die,” Strawberry said at the time. “They die This kind of way. I just trust the light comes on soon before the item’s too late.”

Stung, Gooden soon responded using a swipe at Strawberry: “Unfortunately, the item’s no friendship,’’ he said. “Bad judgment on my part thinking the item was.”

Since then, the two men have patched up the public feud, yet according to the same friend of Gooden’s, they are hardly close.

Gooden, who earned over $36 million during his career, said he was currently receiving pension money coming from the players’ union, which for a player with 10 years of major league service time — Gooden pitched for a few teams over 16 seasons — amounts to $210,000 a year, if he waits until his 62nd birthday. Gooden, who turned 53 last month, is actually receiving a reduced amount by tapping in early.

“I’m taking the item not so much for me yet for my kids,” he said. “I mean I’m 53 currently in addition to you never know. If anything happens to me, my kids get the item. in addition to I wouldn’t have collected the item, then the ex-wives would likely get the item.”

At last year’s Mets fantasy camp in Florida, Gooden took to the mound to pitch.

“They asked me to do the item, yet there ain’t much there anymore,” he said. “yet when you pitch, you get which competitive itch, in addition to I was trying to hump the item up there. Could only get to like 65 or 70 miles per hour. The curveball was still not bad, though.’’

Gooden looked gaunt on Tuesday night, as he has on numerous various other occasions since he retired, all of which has led to uncomfortable speculation about his well-being. He said he had an explanation for his current appearance.

“which was coming from an infection I had deep in my jawbone coming from 30 years of chewing tobacco,” he said. “the item was a real scare because I thought I had cancer. They had to rebuild my jawbone in addition to I had to have 10 teeth taken out. People say, man, his face is actually all caved in, yet take 10 teeth out of anyone’s mouth in addition to his face is actually going to look caved in.’’

So the item went on Tuesday, the Christmas season hardly begun. After his appearance as Santa, Gooden was ushered to a private room, where he was given something to eat before being driven back home. yet first, there was one more photo shoot to be done — in street clothes.

At which point, the Vivid Cabaret had completed its publicity stunt, Gooden had his money in addition to the item was one day closer to Christmas. in addition to one day further removed coming from his glory days so long ago.

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