Strawberry worried for Gooden: 'Hope the light comes on soon'
Darryl Strawberry is fearing the worst after Dwight Gooden missed two scheduled events with his former New York Mets teammate.
Gooden and Strawberry were scheduled together for a guest appearance on a New York City radio show Thursday, but a representative for the former big-league pitcher notified the station at the last minute that Gooden wouldn't be attending. He then canceled on a planned fan meet-and-greet for Saturday, with his 1996 World Series-winning New York Yankees teammates.
A three-time World Series champion, Gooden has struggled with drug and alcohol addiction since his playing days, leaving Strawberry, who's recovering from his own demons, fearing for his friend's life.
"My fear is that - and I know addiction - my fear is people that don't change, they die," Strawberry said, according to the New York Daily News' Peter Botte.
"They die this way. I just hope the light comes on soon before it's too late."
Both Gooden's and Strawberry's struggles have been well-documented since the two retired from baseball in 2001 and 2000, respectively. Gooden released an autobiography in 1999 discussing his drug abuse, and the pair was recently the subject of their own "30 for 30" documentary on ESPN.
No explanation was given for Gooden's sudden absence from either event.
"I'm worried. A lot," Strawberry admitted Thursday when answering a fan's question. "It's a real struggle. It's very difficult to talk about because I know the drill, I know the deal.
"It's very sad. It's hard. 'Cause even though we weren't as close, like everybody wanted to make us out to be, he's a friend. And it's a very challenging, very difficult time of his life. It's tough."