Former New York Mets great Dwight "Doc" Gooden, who has struggled with substance abuse for years, was arrested for alleged cocaine possession in New Jersey, authorities said Friday.
The famed pitcher was picked up June 7 by police in Holmdel Township in New Jersey, about 55 miles south of the New York City neighborhood of Flushing — where Gooden burst on the scene in 1984 and won the National League Rookie of the Year Award.
Gooden, 54, was pulled over by police who found “two, small green zip-lock style plastic baggies containing suspected cocaine,” according a criminal complaint written by Holmdel police Sgt. Michael Moore and filed by the Monmouth County Prosecutor’s Office.
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Gooden was charged with third-degree possession of a controlled dangerous substance, possession of drug paraphernalia and driving under the influence. He faces a maximum of five years behind bars, if convicted, prosecutors said.
Gooden’s lawyer, William Petrillo, did not directly address the charges in a statement Friday.
“Mr. Gooden is a kind man with a generous heart who continually volunteers his time doing charitable work," Petrillo said. "He is loved by many and has the full support of family and friends. We ask the public to reserve judgement and have no further comment at this time.”
The right-hander entered the league at 19 years old and pitched 16 seasons in Major League Baseball and racked up 194 victories against just 112 losses. He was on two World Series winners, the Mets in 1986 and the New York Yankees in 2000. He also threw a no-hitter with the Yankees in 1996.
Despite those impressive career accomplishments, the Tampa, Florida, native has long been considered an underachiever who fell short of his potential because of substance abuse.
Gooden failed three drug tests between 1987 and 1994 and was suspended for the entire 1995 season.
Gooden is scheduled to be in court July 23.