For his career, Dwight Gooden was a good pitcher, amassing nearly 200 career wins and four all star game appearances, a Cy Young award, and the 1984 Rookie of the Year award. How he came into the baseball conscious though is what makes this card so iconic. That it wasn’t a card that was as readily available made it more desirable. Released in the 1984 Topps Traded set, the card didn’t have as wide of a print run as it’s base set doppelganger that would be released in 1985. When Gooden came in and won 17 games, striking out 276 batters that season, it sent collectors looking for any item they could find of the phenom Mets pitcher. Topps added him to their late season subset, and this card became the hottest item on the market.
While his career would ultimately fall short of what people believed it could be after his first three seasons in the league, the chase for this card was one of the first prospector chases of the 80’s that would come to define a large community of sports card collecting to this day.
Random Dwight Gooden Fact: In 1985, Gooden had 16 complete games. Combined, the top four National League complete game leaders in 2018 and 2019 pitched a total of 14 complete games.