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The No. 1 pitching star for the Mets in the 1980s was without question Dwight Gooden. Gooden broke into the majors in 1984 at just 19 years old.
He won the 1984 NL Rookie of the Year award and then won the NL Cy Young award in 1985 by having one of the greatest single seasons ever for a pitcher. Gooden won the pitching Triple Crown by going 24-4 with a remarkable 1.53 ERA and 268 strikeouts. He is still the youngest pitcher to ever win a Cy Young award.
Gooden pitched well again in 1986 and helped lead the Mets to a World Series championship. He missed part of 1987 thanks to drug rehab but came back and delivered another good season. He bounced back to go 18-9 in 1988 before missing part of the 1989 season with a shoulder tear.
If Gooden was the "Batman" of the Mets' pitching staff, Ron Darling would have been the "Robin." Darling was always overshadowed by Gooden, but his numbers were always comparable, if not as good as Gooden's number every season from 1984-1990.
Darling also pitched well during the 1986 World Series as he had a 14-inning scoreless streak during the postseason.
After a poor second half in 1987 that culminated with him getting hurt in late September, Darling bounced back in 1988 and won a career high 17 games. However, he struggled during the 1988 NLCS, especially in the decisive Game 7. Darling's 1989 season was inconsistent, but he became the first Mets pitcher to win a Gold Glove Award that year.
One of the biggest acquisitions the Mets made prior to the 1986 season was acquiring Bob Ojeda from the Red Sox. Ojeda won 18 games in 1986. He pitched well for most of the postseason and was the starter in Game 6 of the memorable NLCS against the Astros. He also pitched very well in Game 3 of the World Series to give the Mets some momentum after being down in the series 2-0.
Unfortunately for Ojeda and the Mets, the rest of his Mets tenure would not live to his pitching in 1986. He missed half of 1987 with an elbow injury before bouncing back with a 10-13 record and a 2.88 ERA in 1988. However, he accidentally sliced off the tip of one of his fingers with electric hedge trimmers and missed all of the 1988 postseason.
Ojeda then went 13-11 in 1989 in what would be the last quality season of his career.
Another solid southpaw the Mets were fortunate to have was Sid Fernandez. Unlike Ojeda, Fernandez was a power pitcher who racked up one strikeout after another. His breakout year was in 1986 when he went 16-6. That year, he started his familiar trend of pitching much better at Shea Stadium than on the road.
Fernandez then had two more solid seasons in 1987 and 1988 before having a career season in 1989. He went 14-5 with a 2.83 ERA that year. He also set a Mets record by striking out 16 batters in a game, which is the most by a left-handed pitcher in team history.
Rounding out the rotation is David Cone, who was the newest and youngest member of the Mets' core when he was acquired in 1987. He did not pitch too much that year, but had a huge breakout season in 1988 when he was inserted into the rotation.
He went 20-3 with a 2.22 ERA and 213 strikeouts that year and ended up finishing in third place for the 1988 NL Cy Young Award voting. In the 1988 postseason, Cone struggled in Game 2 of the NLCS, but bounced back to pitch a complete game in Game 6.
Cone had another strong season in 1989 by going 14-8 with a 3.52 ERA and 190 strikeouts.