The New York Mets of the late 1980s and early 1990s were quite a group. After winning the 1986 World Series, the Mets remained a National League force that came close but never close enough.
Roger Angell wrote an excellent book, A Pitcher's Story: Inning with David Cone, that should not be read by little children.
In one of the greatest trades ever, the Mets sent catcher Ed Hearne to the Kansas Royals for Cone before the 1987 season. During the early 1980s, four Royals—Willie Wilson, Jerry Martin, Willie Mays Aikens, and Vida Blue—went to jail for using cocaine.
Cone told Angell, “Drugs were different back then… Nobody made anything of it the way they do now—it was like a picnic.”
Cone became one of the National League's premier pitchers in 1988. He was 20-3 with a 2.22 ERA, a 1.115 WHIP and a 147 ERA+.
The Mets of the David Cone era were, according to Angell, “notorious as well as successful, heavy drinkers and party-goers, prone to babes and drugs (at least some of them).”
Cone had some sexually-related adventures.
At the end of the 1991 season, he was accused of rape by the woman with whom he had spent the night. Mets general manager Frank Cashen called Cone's room and told Cone that he had a problem.
"David," Cashen said, "you need to know you've been accused of rape."
Cone was told that a woman from New Jersey claimed that Cone had invited her to his hotel room and forced her to have relations with him. Charges were eventually dropped.
Another incident, this one at Shea Stadium, involved three women who claimed Cone had exposed himself to them while he was in the bullpen. Two of the accusers dropped charges while the third woman settled out of court.
Cone's teammates were not angels.
In Port Lucie, Dwight Gooden, Vince Coleman and Daryl Boston were accused of rape. Testimony made public revealed that the woman and Cone had been dating and that they'd engaged in a group activity.
Cone finished his career with 194 wins, a 3.46 ERA, a 1.256 WHIP and a 121 ERA+.
Because he was a very good but not an all-time great, we will never know if Cone's exciting life while an active player would have hindered his election to the Hall of Fame.