Gooden and Clemens 20 years later

Dwight Gooden is happy for Roger Clemens but he also wonders what could have been for his own career.

Updated: May 27, 2003, 10:25 AM ET
By Jim Baker
In 1985, Dwight Gooden went 24-4. The next year, Roger Clemens had the exact same record and their respective teams met in the World Series. It seemed like these two men would be the premier pitchers of the next two decades and would, one day, go into the Hall of Fame in close proximity to one another. Only one of them survived the trip intact, however and Joey Johnston focuses on the other one in today's Tampa Tribune. He finds Gooden happy for Clemens but also wondering what could have been for his own career.

Gooden -- who was briefly Clemens' teammate in 2000 with the Yankees -- is very happy for him, writes Johnston. He wants people to know just how hard Clemens worked and continues to work to keep himself at the top of his game. If Gooden seems at all regretful, it is that he didn't take training more seriously.

While a lot of Gooden's troubles were of his own doing, it should never be forgotten how much he pitched as an extremely young man. When Clemens was toiling for the University of Texas, Gooden was already hard at it in New York, piling up innings and wear on his young arm. Clemens made his big league debut at the age of 21. By that age, Gooden had already thrown almost 500 major league innings. Clemens was troubled by injuries in his second season and an argument could probably be made that this was a fortuitous turn for him. By the age of 23, he had only pitched 231 2/3 innings. At the same age, Gooden was up to 923 2/3. Gooden had less than 2,000 innings left in his arm while Clemens has thrown twice that many since that age.

Jim Baker is an author at Baseball Prospectus and a frequent contributor to Page 2. You can e-mail Jim at