Rushed onward by adrenaline and some fierce emotion he couldn't define, he accumulated one strikeout after another, eventually amassing 19 and tying the National League record held by Tom Seaver and Steve Carlton. The Mets won 7-0 as Cone allowed but three hits and one walk.
"Be brave," Ha Ho told him when he called her after the game. Within 72 hours the police had determined that the woman's claims were "unfounded" and dropped the probe. But the New York tabloids were descending on Cone, and he hid in his apartment for three days, afraid to venture outside.
Lynn had a hard time understanding what was happening to them. David was innocent, she knew that, but the public humiliation was almost too much for her to bear. "Why don't we spend some time apart?" she suggested. And with little hesitation he agreed. This was the woman, after all, who'd always taken him up a notch, and god knows how many notches he was pulling her down now.
By Christmas, though, they'd managed to patch things up and get back together. Then, in February 1992, David left for spring training camp in Port St. Lucie, Fla., Lynn for a wedding in California. Upon her return to the city she started planning a trip south to meet him, but he called one night and told her to cancel her reservations. "You can't come down now," he said. "And I can't tell you why."
The next morning Lynn read in the paper that Cone's "girlfriend" was alleging that she had been raped by three Met players. Lynn was devastated, and people started asking her if she was the one who was claiming to have been assaulted.
The complaint named Gooden, Daryl Boston and Vince Coleman and involved an incident in Port St. Lucie on March 30, 1991. Lynn's family and friends were confused, but no more so than she. If she wasn't the "girlfriend" of Cone's who'd brought the charges, then who was?
As Cone would later tell police, he had been involved with the accuser, but she wasn't his girlfriend. He'd met her the previous year at the ballpark where the Mets train. She and one of her friends had been in the stands, and he had asked them out for a drink after the game. A few hours later they'd gone home with him. "We get back to my house," Cone says, "and [the accuser's] friend strips down buck naked and gets in the pool behind the house. I jump in the pool too. And later on we all go into the bedroom."
He and the accuser had seen each other two more times after that—once with her friend and once without—but that, Cone said, was the extent of their relationship. "Your ego runs away from you," he says. "You start thinking, Hey, I've got groupies who want to sleep with me just because of who I am. I got caught up in that."
He was nothing if not stupid, he told people. And it was humiliating to find himself dragged into another rape investigation—even when this one too would soon be dropped by the police.
For two weeks Cone managed to dodge any hard questions reporters asked about the probe, and he was starting to feel he was in the clear when the New York Post unloaded with yet another story alleging sexual improprieties. "Mets pitcher David Cone allegedly masturbated in front of two women in the bullpen of Shea Stadium, according to a lawsuit," read the caption beside his picture on the Post's March 26 front page. And there, inside, was a photograph of the women who'd sued him the previous September for allegedly threatening to kill them, CONE'S PLAYPEN read the headline.