HACKENSACK, N.J. – Former major league baseball star Dwight Gooden has been sentenced to five years' probation after pleading guilty in New Jersey to child endangerment.
At sentencing Friday, state Superior Court Judge Donald Venezia also ordered Gooden to undergo outpatient drug treatment.
The charges stem from a March 2010 traffic accident in Franklin Lakes. Bergen County Prosecutor John Molinelli said Gooden was under the influence of cocaine when his vehicle collided with another and that Gooden's then 5-year-old son was riding in the back seat without a seat belt. No one was hurt.
The 46-year-old former pitcher for the New York Mets and New York Yankees could have faced up to three years in state prison under the plea bargain previously reached with prosecutors.
But Venezia found that Gooden, who lives in Old Tappan, met the criteria for sentencing under New Jersey's drug dependency law, which allows defendants to avoid imprisonment by agreeing to participate in a treatment program.
Gooden, nicknamed Doc and Dr. K because of his phenomenal strikeout numbers early in his career, and was Rookie of the Year in 1984. He won 194 games in his 17-year career. His pitching helped lead the Mets to a World Series title in 1986 and a National League East crown in 1988. He also was a member of Yankees teams that won championships in 1996 and 2000.
But drugs and legal troubles plagued his career and continued after his retirement in 2001.
Besides the Mets and Yankees, Gooden also pitched for Cleveland, Houston and Tampa Bay.
Information from: The Record, http://www.northjersey.com