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Baseball / Daily Report

Gooden Near Suicide During Suspension

June 22, 1996|Associated Press

Dwight Gooden pointed a gun at his head and thought about pulling the trigger nearly two years ago during his drug suspension, the New York Yankee pitcher has revealed.

Gooden considered suicide a day after he was suspended by acting Commissioner Bud Selig in September 1994, he told the New York Daily News in Friday editions.

"I was sitting in the bedroom with a gun in my hand," Gooden told the newspaper. "My wife walked in, and I actually had the gun to my head, thinking about pulling the trigger."

Gooden said he was despondent about the suspension, which occurred while he was with the New York Mets.

"I was so destroyed by that," he said. "I was sitting there with the gun. I'd say, 'Go ahead and end it,' but then I'd say, 'No, be a man and face up to your responsibilities, your wife and kids.' "

He said his wife, Monica, walked into the room at that time.

"I don't know if I ever would have actually done it, but then my wife walked in and she just freaked," Gooden said. "She started screaming, and she grabbed the gun from me. When I think about it now, it was crazy. The gun was loaded; it could have gone off.

"But she grabbed it from me, and then she ran and called my mom and told her to come over right away. When I think about it, the whole thing was terrifying."

Gooden's struggles have been chronicled in a book, but there was no mention that he'd considered suicide. He said he talked about it now because he has been approached about a movie of his life.

*

Ozzie Smith's retirement announcement was supposed to end the St. Louis Cardinals' shortstop controversy. Far from it.

On Thursday, the 41-year-old Smith accused Manager Tony La Russa of lying to him in spring training when he said the player who played best would get the majority of playing time in the regular season.

After Smith's retirement announcement Wednesday, La Russa said he and his staff had decided that Royce Clayton offered more on an everyday basis than Smith, even though Smith outhit Clayton in spring training.

"That's bull," Smith was quoted as saying in Friday's edition of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. "He says that now that I've made the announcement, and that's not fair."

Said La Russa: "All he's got to do is look in the mirror and he can go out with honor and dignity rather than some kind of attempt at camouflage. And you can write that."

La Russa said he thought Smith's retirement was supposed to be a positive influence on the team.

"It doesn't sound too positive to me," he said.

*

Players and owners met Friday for the sixth time in 10 days and made some progress in their labor talks. The sides have been focusing on the format of a deal rather than specific numbers, according to a source who spoke on the condition he not be identified. . . . Second baseman Quilvio Veras was activated by the Florida Marlins after sitting out six weeks because of a strained left hamstring.

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