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Koufax Predicts That Gooden Will Make His Mark in Record Book

Hartford Courant

Today’s ballplayers aren’t the only ones to be amazed by Mets pitcher Dwight Gooden. One of his biggest fans was a pretty impressive pitcher in his day.

“I’d rather have his future than my past,” Hall of Famer Sandy Koufax said recently. “He is just the outstanding pitcher of his time. If he stays healthy, I’m sure he’ll probably hold every record in the books eventually, except for losses in a single season.

“It may be the only one he doesn’t get.”

Gooden set several major league records in 1984, his rookie season. And he broke one league record: 32 strikeouts in two consecutive games. The record--31--was set in 1959 by a young Dodger named Koufax.

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“He was incredible, at 19 years of age,” said Koufax, who watched Gooden as often as he could in televised games. “He seems to keep his composure. He seems like he’s confident. Every time I see him things are going good and it’s easy to keep your composure.

“But I have never seen him do anything wrong. You throw him in the All-Star Game and that didn’t bother him (Gooden struck out the side in the only inning he worked).”

This season, Gooden, 20, is 7-3 with the Mets, with a 1.79 ERA and 89 strikeouts in 85 innings.


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