HEAT by Dwight Gooden


My Life On and Off the Diamond
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Looking back late in his baseball career, a one-time dominant phenom tells of his life at both the center and fringes of the game. As a young fireballer for the New York Mets in the mid-1980s, Dwight “Doc” Gooden was on top of the baseball world. He had success—by his early 20s, he had won Rookie of the Year honors, a Cy Young Award, and a World Series ring—and, as a superstar in the Big Apple, he had the most exciting lifestyle imaginable. Surrounded by his brash Mets teammates and Manhattan nightlife, Dwight the shy teenager quickly matured into Doc the confident party animal. Eventually, Gooden’s attention wandered from the game to the pursuit of good times, and his golden arm began to betray him just as the Mets’ presumed dynasty began to falter. (A talent-rich juggernaut in 1986, they were expected to rule baseball for years.) Serious fun off the field soon began to eclipse Dwight’s achievements on it. He was twice suspended for drug use, in 1987 and again in 1994. With the help of friends, family, and solid professional advice, Dwight reclaimed some of his glory in May 1996, when he pitched a no-hitter for the New York Yankees, who later that year went on to win the World Series. Gooden movingly describes the giddy joys of being young, rich, and seemingly invulnerable. He provides powerful insight into the mind of a pitcher, illuminating several elements of baseball that normally escape all but the most knowledgeable fans. When discussing his professional reversals, particularly his plunge into the gutter, he is brutally candid; he also seems to genuinely understand how his failings affected those closest to him. Assisted by Klapisch, one of the best sports scribes in the game, Gooden vividly re-creates for readers a roller- coaster ride of disparate emotions, from triumph to loss and shame. An honest, sincere, and affecting memoir.

Pub Date: March 1st, 1999
ISBN: 0-688-16339-4
Page count: 320pp
Publisher: Morrow/HarperCollins
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 15th, 1999


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