BY EMMA MILLER
“Doctor K” was in the house at St. Mary’s Children’s Hospital in Bayside on Sept. 12.
Dwight Gooden, former star pitcher for the New York Mets and Yankees, visited kids and their families at the hospital. Getting to meet Gooden “made the year” for hospital patients and parents, said Sean Lally, St. Mary’s vice president for development, strategic planning and external affairs.
Gooden said that St. Mary’s was a place close to his heart since his younger brother was cared for in a children’s hospital when he was hit by a car at 4 years old in 1989. Gooden used to live in the area, having played for the Mets, and thought that St. Mary’s played an important role in helping children in the community.
“I think they do a great job,” he said.
It was Gooden’s first time visiting the hospital — “but it won’t be the last,” he said.
Gooden connected with St. Mary’s through longtime friend Gail Fass, director of income development at the hospital. She originally reached out to him to help raise money for St. Mary’s on BGC Charity Day.
BGC Partners and Cantor Fitzgerald host Charity Day every year on Sept. 11 to commemorate their 658 employees whose died in the terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center in 2001. All of their revenue the companies earn that day goes to Cantor Fitzgerald Relief Fund and other charities such as St. Mary’s.
Charities send in celebrity ambassadors to answer phones and make trades for the companies on Charity Day each year. Gooden has been St. Mary’s representative since at least 2014.
Fass said Gooden enjoyed being a part of Charity Day again this year. This was the first year she invited him to visit the hospital afterwards.
Gooden played Major League Baseball for 16 seasons, including 11 years with the Mets. He won Rookie of the Year in 1984, then captured the Cy Young Award the following season, winning 24 games for the 1985 Mets. He would help the club win their second World Championship in 1986, and was later inducted into the Mets Hall of Fame in 2010.
St. Mary’s has been around for more than 145 years. They are currently the largest provider of long-term care for kids in the state.