Dwight Gooden was arrested last month in New Jersey and charged with suspected cocaine possession, according to court records, representing the latest chapter in the former Mets and Yankees pitcher’s three-decade-long battle with drug addiction.
Gooden, 54, was arrested by Holmdel (N.J.) police in the early morning hours on June 7 and was found to have “two, small green zip-lock style plastic baggies containing suspected cocaine,” according to a criminal complaint filed by the Monmouth County Prosecutor’s Office.
A spokesman for the Monmouth County Prosecutor's Office said Gooden was initially pulled over for “failure to maintain a lane, driving too slow and overly tinted windows” at 12:51 a.m. before an officer noticed the bags and arrested him at 1:13 a.m.
Gooden, who did not immediately respond to a text message on Friday seeking comment, faces three charges, including criminal possession of a controlled substance, which carries up to a five-year jail sentence if he is convicted. He has not yet appeared in court.
In a statement, Gooden's lawyer, William Petrillo, said, "Mr. Gooden is a kind man with a generous heart who continually volunteers his time doing charitable work. He is loved by many and has the full support of family and friends. We ask the public to reserve judgment and have no further comment at this time."
Gooden has struggled with substance abuse since the mid-1980s when he was a star Mets pitcher. He famously missed the Mets’ 1986 world championship ticker-tape parade because, he now says, he was high on cocaine at a party not far from the Roosevelt Field mall.
The last time Gooden was in the news for suspected drug abuse was 2016 when Darryl Strawberry, his former Mets and Yankees teammate who also has struggled with addiction, accused him of having another relapse following a missed autograph signing appearance.
Gooden responded by telling Newsday at the time that he hadn’t used cocaine since March 11, 2012, which precipitated another stint in rehab, and he insisted he was still clean. “I do not use cocaine,” he said then, “and have not for many years.”
He has a long list of run-ins with the law, most notably telling a Florida judge in 2006 after he violated his probation that he preferred to go to jail instead of another stint in rehab and probation because “I have a problem with cocaine, sir.”
He spent seven months in jail and told Newsday after he was released that the experience behind bars is “something I will always remember. You don't want to live it, but you don't want to forget it, either. You want to keep it right there because any mistake you do, it could be that all over again."
Gooden was 194-112 with a 3.51 earned run average during a 16-year career that ended in 2000 following stints with the Mets, Yankees, Astros, Indians and Rays. In addition to his title with the Mets in 1986, he also won championships with the Yankees in 1996 and 2000.