1993 TOPPS FINEST JUMBO DOC GOODEN
Dwight Gooden was the first player who belonged to me.
All of my life as a baseball fan leading up to his debut, I was a boy rooting for men.
But then Gooden appeared in 1984 with a birth date just a couple of months before my own, bearing coltish, prodigious talent. He embodied the promise of youth, and I felt it in my bones.
I was washing dishes until closing in a Howard Johnson’s that summer, listening to games on the radio at my workstation and slipping into the manager’s office to watch on TV when breaks allowed. The nights were long and tedious, but when Gooden was on the mound, I was energized by the electricity and possibility of it all.
Dwight Gooden, this teenage marvel throwing high heat that could not be hit, breaking off curves that buckled knees, Dwight Gooden belonged to me…