Doc Gooden to speak at Danbury Westerners’ breakfast June 9
The Danbury Westerners’ 23rd-annual Celebrity Breakfast is set for June 9 at 7:30 a.m. at the Amber Room Colonnade in Danbury, and former Mets and Yankees pitcher and Cy Young Award winner Dwight Gooden is scheduled to be the guest speaker.
The breakfast will kick off the Westerners’ 23rd season of play in the New England Collegiate Baseball League, a wood-bat summer showcase for many of the top collegiate players in the country, and a stepping stone for some on the way to a career in the major leagues. More than 140 Westerners players have been selected in the MLB Draft since 1995, and 20 former Westerners have made it to the majors, including Matt Joyce, Billy Burns, Adam Ottavino and 2010 Westerners pitcher Mike Hauschild, who made his big-league debut with the Texas Rangers last week.
Tickets for the breakfast are available online at DanburyWesterners.com. Individual tickets are available, as are tables of 10 for $350. Sponsorship opportunities are also available. Call Westerners president Paul Schaffer at 203-241-4655.
The Westerners — an all volunteer, not-for-profit organization — are also seeking host families for this year’s crop of players. Email Shelley@danburywesterners.com for details.
After enjoying a hearty breakfast at the Amber Room, manager Josh Parrow and the Westerners will gear up for their home opener, set for June 9 at 6:30 p.m. at Rogers Park in Danbury against the Keene Swamp Bats. The NECBL has 13 teams spread across all six New England states. Each team will play a 44-game regular-season schedule, followed by the playoffs in early August.
The Westerners’ annual breakfast — a sort of unofficial start of summer in Greater Danbury for more than two decades — has included many memorable guests over the years, including Joe Torre, Tommy John, Gene Michael, George Foster, John Sterling and Jim Bouton, to name a few — and they’ll add Gooden to that list this year.
With the Mets, Gooden won the 1984 National League Rookie of the Year Award in 1984, the Cy Young Award in 1985 — with a 24-4 record, a 1.53 earned-run average and 268 strikeouts — and a World Series title in 1986. He was well on his way to a Hall of Fame career before problems with substance abuse took their toll, the details of which he detailed in his 2013 book “Doc: A Memoir.”
With the Yankees, he pitched a no-hitter in 1996 and won World Series titles in 1996 and 2000. In 16 big-league seasons with the Mets, Yankees, Cleveland Indians, Houston Astros and his hometown Tampa Bay Devil Rays, Gooden posted a 194-112 record with a 3.51 ERA and 2,293 strikeouts.