Close friends of Doc Gooden are sounding the alarm that the former Met and Yankee pitcher is back on cocaine, the addiction that helped derail his career and has flared up in his post-baseball days as well.
Gooden's latest cocaine saga started late last week, when ex-teammate Darryl Strawberry went public with concerns that Gooden had relapsed after he failed to show up for a public appearance with Strawberry and WFAN host Joe Beningo on Thursday. This weekend, Gooden told the Daily News that he'd just been dealing with a minor health issue, and called Strawberry's concern for him "unreal."
Gooden spoke to the New York Post this weekend and he was judged to be looking fit enough to "hurl a fastball at 90 miles an hour," an action he repeated thousands of times while using drugs. He also spoke to Newsday this week, telling the paper that concerns about him losing weight were misplaced and that he weighs 50 pounds less now than he did the last time he was using coke.
Gooden told Newsday that his weight loss was related to stress from his mother's death, and that the last day he used was still on March 11, 2012. Gooden's son, Dwight Gooden, Jr., issued a statement to the media Sunday night that read in part: "At this time, our only concern is [Doc's] health and that he takes care of himself. We, as a family, are currently planning his best course of action and thank you all for your concern, messages and prayers,” which hasn't done much to clarify the situation.
None of that has deterred Strawberry from continuing to sound the alarm about Gooden's health. Strawberry put the Daily News in touch with a friend of Gooden's, Janice Roots, who told the paper she lived with Gooden for four years and that he had been back on coke since 2014. The Yankees have also been alarmed enough about Strawberry's claims that they've publicly offered to pay for rehab for Gooden.
Strawberry also defended going public with his concerns, telling the News "Doc won’t let me or anybody help him. By us coming forward like this, he’ll realize that he’s been exposed and it will challenge him to get help."