TAMPA, Fla. -- Former baseball star Dwight Gooden admitted in court Wednesday that he violated his probation by using cocaine and likely faces prison time when he is sentenced next month.
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Dwight Gooden was the youngest pitcher in baseball history to win the Cy Young Award when at the age of 20, he won the 1985 honor after going 24-4 with a 1.53 ERA for the Mets.
He won 91 games before his 24th birthday, however injuries and substance-abuse problems derailed his once-promising career. He retired at age 35 after the 2000 season with 194 victories.
Dressed in an orange jail uniform and with family members looking on, the 41-year-old former pitcher answered "yes, sir," when state Circuit Judge Anthony K. Black asked him if he had violated his probation. He will remain in jail and faces up to five years in prison after a hearing April 5.
"We are seeking prison," prosecutor Pam Bondi said afterward, but it hasn't been determined how long of a sentence her office will request.
Gooden admitted to a probation officer last week that he had used cocaine. He was serving three years' probation for speeding away from a police officer during a drunken driving traffic stop last year.
In November he had apologized to the court when he pleaded guilty to a felony count of fleeing police, misdemeanor charges of reckless driving and obstruction and to an unrelated charge of hitting his girlfriend.
As part of his probation, Gooden was ordered to stay away from alcohol, drugs and bars, and submit to a minimum of three random urine tests a week. He also spent several months in an inpatient treatment facility for alcohol and drug addiction.
His attorney, Peter Hobson, declined to comment on Gooden's latest trouble.
"We're just going to prepare for the hearing in two weeks," he said. Gooden's family members also left court without commenting.
Gooden was the 1984 Rookie of the Year and 1985 NL Cy Young winner while with the New York Mets. He went 194-112 with a 3.51 ERA before retiring in 2001. He also pitched for the New York Yankees, Cleveland Indians, Houston Astros and Tampa Bay Devil Rays.
I think this guy, not Darryl Strawberry ironically, is the individual whom is in danger of losing his life to his addiction.
Did anyone here ever see him pitch? I think when he was young and with the mets, in the late to early 80s, I think he probably had as good of stuff as anyone in this game has. What a talent.