Doc Gooden’s drug troubles with the Mets got so bad that he once asked his dealer for “the stuff” that killed former college basketball star Len Bias.
The 1985 Cy Young Award winner revealed that while detailing his drug use again in the upcoming ESPN 30-for-30 about the 1986 Mets entitled “Once Upon a Time in Queens.”
“I remember when Len Bias died, you see that and for like the first four or five hours it hits you, wow, that could have been me,” Gooden says in the final episode of the four-part series, which was screened by The Post ahead of its ESPN premiere Sept. 14-15. “But then the sickest part about it, you go to your dealer and say, ‘Give me that Len Bias stuff.’
“That’s sick, but that’s where I was at, at that time. I would say, ‘Hey, I want the Len Bias stuff,’ meaning in street terms, I want the strongest stuff you have. That’s how crazy my brain was at that time. Can you imagine? ‘Give me the Len Bias stuff.’ So you’re gonna die? Your family and friends are left, and my dad saying ‘My son died of a drug overdose?’”
Gooden then tears up following a lengthy pause, before the camera fades out and the story turns back to the ’86 season. Bias, the former Maryland basketball star, died at 22 from cardiac arrhythmia caused by a cocaine overdose two days after he was selected second overall by the Celtics in the 1986 NBA Draft.
Of course, Gooden and former teammate Darryl Strawberry already had been the subjects of an earlier 30-for-30 film in 2016 – entitled “Doc and Darryl” — chronicling their issues with substance abuse and other troubles that derailed their star-crossed careers until resurfacing with George Steinbrenner’s Yankees in the 1990s.
In the current documentary, World Series MVP Ray Knight also recounts the previously told story of then-MLB commissioner Peter Ueberroth informing him at an offseason function in 1986 that “a young star” on the Mets had a drug addiction. Knight immediately confronted Strawberry, who indicated that Ueberroth was speaking about Gooden, not him.
While the majority of the upcoming film is about the entire team and its wild run to the 1986 World Series title, Strawberry also talks extensively again about growing up with his abusive father, Henry.
“It was a nightmare to live through. If your dad tells you you’re never going to be anything, that’s a deep pill to swallow,” Strawberry said. “One night when I was 13, my father came home drunk …and he threatened us and said ‘I’ll kill all of you’ and pulled out a shotgun. My brother Ronnie went in the kitchen and grabbed a butcher’s knife and I ran behind him and grabbed a frying pan. We were going to end this.
“We were so sick of the abuse, the physical abuse of beating us with extension cords…My mother was like, ‘No, you guys get out of here, get out of the house, get out of here.’ If it hadn’t been for our mother getting us out of the house…we probably would have killed him.”
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