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    Ex-Mets ace Dwight Gooden gets probation over 2019 drug charge

    The former Mets and Yankees star struggled with drug and alcohol throughout his pitching career and his cocaine problem appears to be back after missing two fan events. "With me it's like a double-edge sword. When things are going great I'm very vulnerable, and when things are going bad I'm very vulnerable," Gooden, who says he hasn't used drugs in five years, told the Daily News in May. "With most people it's one or the other, (but with me) as soon as you let your guard down and cut back on meetings, I can tell, I start to get itchy, or getting real snappy. It took a long time and I'm still learning myself."
    The former Mets and Yankees star struggled with drug and alcohol throughout his pitching career and his cocaine problem appears to be back after missing two fan events. "With me it's like a double-edge sword. When things are going great I'm very vulnerable, and when things are going bad I'm very vulnerable," Gooden, who says he hasn't used drugs in five years, told the Daily News in May. "With most people it's one or the other, (but with me) as soon as you let your guard down and cut back on meetings, I can tell, I start to get itchy, or getting real snappy. It took a long time and I'm still learning myself." (Susan Watts/New York Daily News)

    Former Mets phenom Dwight Gooden has been sentenced to a year of probation over a drug arrest in 2019.

    The one-time Mets ace, whose once-promising career was derailed by drug abuse, learned his fate during a virtual court appearance Thursday more than a year after he pleaded guilty to one count of cocaine possession following a New Jersey traffic stop in June 2019.

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    Gooden’s car was stopped by police in Holmdel, about 20 miles from New York, for failure to maintain a lane and driving too slow, according to a criminal complaint filed by the Monmouth County prosecutor’s office.

    Two plastic baggies containing cocaine were found in Gooden’s car, prosecutors said.

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    New York Mets pitcher Dwight Gooden in action in 1985.
    New York Mets pitcher Dwight Gooden in action in 1985. (Ray Stubblebine / AP)

    Gooden avoided prison, but only on the promise that he would complete a drug rehabilitation program.

    At Thursday’s sentencing, state Superior Court Judge Vincent Falcetano said a recent evaluation found Gooden to have made significant progress “and it’s hard to believe that it’s really the same person."

    “I understand that my recovery has to come first,” the 55-year-old Gooden told the judge. "This has saved my life.''

    The hero hurler pitched the Mets to their last World Series championship in 1986.

    Gooden, who also played for the Yankees and the Cleveland Indians, was charged with third-degree possession of a controlled dangerous substance and possession of drug paraphernalia.

    Authorities said he was under the influence at the time of his arrest.

    The ex-pitcher’s bouts with drugs are almost as legendary as his blazing fastball. He admitted years later that he missed the World Series parade because he was feeding his habit.

    Gooden, who won the coveted Cy Young award in 1985 for being the league’s best pitcher, tested positive for cocaine in spring training ahead of the 1987 season as well as in the strike-shortened ’94 season.

    In 1995, the former Rookie of the Year was suspended for the entire season for failing another drug test.

    In 2006, Gooden was arrested for violating his probation and showed up high on cocaine for a meeting with his probation officer. He spent eight months in jail for violating his probation.

    Gooden, a native of Tampa, Florida, was also on the Yankees team that won the World Series in 2000.

    With News Wire Services

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