Mets to keep signature after criticism

NEW YORK -- The New York Mets are keeping Dwight Gooden's signature -- but moving it to another location and putting it under plexiglass.

The star pitcher signed a wall in the Ebbets Club when he attended the April 13 opener at Citi Field, writing: "Doc Gooden/84 R.O.Y./85 Cy Young/86 W.S. champs," according to Mets spokesman Jay Horwitz.

Perturbed that a clean wall in a new ballpark had been marked up, the team at first said it planned to erase the writing. Following criticism, the team changed course.

"It's a new building," Horwitz said Tuesday from St. Louis before the Mets' game against the Cardinals. "We just didn't want anything written on the walls. We had a lot of calls yesterday, a lot of fan stuff."

While the Mets honored a former Brooklyn Dodgers star with the Jackie Robinson Rotunda, the main entrance to the $800 million ballpark, there was little to mark their own history. Owner Fred Wilpon said last week that the team intends to build a Hall of Fame, possibly in the area behind center field.

Horwitz said the team now plans to encourage other former Mets stars to follow Gooden's lead.

"The plan is we're going to move this to a yet-to-be determined place in the stadium, behind plexiglass," he said. "And then when other players come back, like the Strawberrys, the Seavers and the Koosmans, we'll have them writing similar greetings to the fans."