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Doc Gooden and Darryl Strawberry earned their New York baseball stripes with the Mets, but both fallen stars remembered George Steinbrenner for resuscitating their careers and for standing by them throughout their litany of off-the-field troubles.

“George was like a second father for me,” Gooden told the Daily News. “It’s definitely been a tough day. I woke up this morning – I’m like three hours behind, in Vegas with my daughters – and my cell phone started going off out here around 4 this morning.

“At first I was told he had a heart attack, but when I put the TV on the reports were that he passed away. I was just in shock. George was always there for me, no matter what.”

Gooden’s meteoric career with the Mets in the 1980s was derailed by drug problems, but Steinbrenner signed him in 1996 and he hurled his only career no-hitter for the Yankees in May of that season. After Gooden’s playing career ended in 2001, Steinbrenner gave him various advisory jobs, although Doc’s problems with the law continued. That includes serving seven months in a Florida prison in 2006 for violating his probation on a drug possession charge. Most recently, Gooden was arrested in March in New Jersey for leaving the scene of an accident and charged with eight counts, including DWI with a child passenger and other violations.

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