Archives of Rudolph W. Giuliani

May 19, 1996

Three days after he pitched Tuesday's stunning no hitter against the Seattle Mariners, Yankee Dwight Gooden brought the game ball to his father, who is recuperating from open heart surgery in a Tampa, Florida hospital.

Dwight Gooden says he believes that God was with him for every one of his 135 pitches during his magical comeback performance.

Certainly, his return to top form speaks to the power of his faith, and also to his determination and his courage.

His career once in jeopardy, his personal life in turmoil, Dwight Gooden was pretty much counted out as a force in the major leagues.

Many of the sports writers criticized George Steinbrenner for giving him a chance to pitch for the Yankees.

But on Tuesday, he confounded his most strident critics and astounded his most ardent fans, by seizing the opportunity granted him by Yankee owner George Steinbrenner...and claiming the title "Doctor No."

Dwight Gooden and George Steinbrenner are to be congratulated.

Dwight Gooden says it was his greatest thrill as a major league pitcher, and that the achievement is that much sweeter because it took place right here in New York City, where he enjoyed his best days on the mound, in the uniform of the New York Mets.

As Mayor of New York City, and a life-long Yankee fan, I am enormously gratified by Doc Gooden's return. In the past his performances electrified an entire city...and on Tuesday Dwight Gooden did it again...and held out the promise of great games yet to come.

I think his indomitable spirit should be an inspiration to us all...a testament to the fact that individuals can achieve things others think long as they believe in themselves.

Don't count people out. Rehabilitation and reform is an essential part of the human spirit. It happens. Cynics doubt it. But more mature people understand that you don't count people out. You count them in.

And that should be the lesson the entire city takes from this remarkable episode.

Because people once counted out New York City...just as they counted out Doc Gooden.

People once said New York City would always be plagued by soaring crime rates...a deteriorating economy...escalating welfare rolls...and a bloated city government.

But you and I together have changed all that. We've become just about the safest large city in America. Jobs and businesses are coming to New York City. Our welfare rolls are down by many people formerly on welfare now working...and we have a more effective, more efficient city government.

There will be many challenges ahead. For us and for Dwight Gooden. And many people will doubt our ability to overcome them. But when they do, let's just think about Dwight Gooden...up on that mound...racked with worry about his ailing father...knowing that the critics thought he was through. And then making pitch after pitch after pitch. Until the game was over. And the battle was won.

On behalf of all New Yorkers, once again I offer Dwight Gooden my heartfelt congratulations, and to his father, Dan Gooden -- God speed in your recovery.

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