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33 of 36 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Doc, a Memoir," is an Honest Account of a Baseball Superstar, Fame and Fortune, and his Slide into Addiction
Disclaimer: I am a long time New York Mets fan who remembers, very clearly, watching Dwight Gooden pitch for the Mets beginning in the 1984 season. Like many long-suffering fans, I was anxious to see players like Gooden, Darryl Strawberry, Keith Hernandez, and Gary Carter lead the Mets to success as they developed strong teams the latter part of the decade, winning the...
Published 16 months ago by R. Angeloni

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11 of 13 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Dwight Gooden gives two versions of aftermath of cop incident
In the 1999 book "Heat: My Life on and Off the Diamond," written by Dwight Gooden and Bob Klapisch, Gooden tells the harrowing story of a beating he received by Tampa cops, following a meal he had with friends at Chili's. Gooden was pulled over by a cop while driving, and the two began to argue. The ex-pitcher took a few ill-advised actions toward the cop (one verbal and...
Published 15 months ago by Sal Nudo


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33 of 36 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Doc, a Memoir," is an Honest Account of a Baseball Superstar, Fame and Fortune, and his Slide into Addiction, May 9, 2013
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This review is from: Doc: A Memoir (Hardcover)
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Disclaimer: I am a long time New York Mets fan who remembers, very clearly, watching Dwight Gooden pitch for the Mets beginning in the 1984 season. Like many long-suffering fans, I was anxious to see players like Gooden, Darryl Strawberry, Keith Hernandez, and Gary Carter lead the Mets to success as they developed strong teams the latter part of the decade, winning the World Series in 1986 and making the playoffs again in 1988. Dwight Gooden was a big reason for the Mets success, as he won the Rookie of the Year Award and Cy Young Award his first two years in the majors, and winning the "Triple Crown" for pitchers in 1985 as he led the league in wins, earned run average, and strikeouts.

Much has happened to Gooden since that championship year; the downward slide into alcohol and drug addiction, broken marriages, numerous arrests and run-ins with the police, and, most recently, induction into the Mets Hall of Fame and a stint on Dr. Drew's "Celebrity Rehab" television show.

In "Doc, A Memoir," Gooden, along with co-author Ellis Henican, detail the baseball star's life, from his somewhat wild upbringing in Tampa, Florida (as a five-year-old he witnessed his sister being shot by her husband), to being recognized as a pitching prodigy as a youngster, his entry into the major leagues at age 19, his successes on the field as well as numerous disappointments off of it.

Baseball fans familiar with Gooden's history will not be surprised by the content in this book. Gooden spares us none of the details and writes honestly about the pitfalls of dealing with fame, drinking, and drugs, and he is very clear that his dependencies cost him a shot at the baseball Hall of Fame. This is not really a baseball book (although baseball, which is a big part of his life, is the ongoing narrative) he does cover his time with the Mets and Yankees, as well as the brief stints he had with the Indians, Tampa Bay Rays, and Houston Astros.

I certainly enjoyed "Doc, A Memoir" and would recommend it, even if I was not a baseball fan or a fan of the New York Mets. The book is easy to read, and Gooden has a compelling story to tell. Throughout the book, I found myself constantly rooting for him to succeed, and certainly hope he is able to overcome his addictions and lead a normal life. The book also reminds us of what happens to many star athletes who are pushed into the limelight at such an early age, how our society coddles these athletes, and how easy it is for them to consistently choose the wrong path.
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18 of 19 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Dwight Gooden's DOC Is Just What Is Needed to Help You Get On Track, May 20, 2013
This review is from: Doc: A Memoir (Hardcover)
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When it comes those in the public eye they are not only an example of what type of success is possible but also how you can rise, fall and get back up stronger and more determined than ever.

I hadn't known of Dwight Gooden before reading the book DOC. Not being a big sports fan I was interested in his story and how he has been able to not just accomplish a lot but share his life lessons as well. I wasn't disappointed.

DOC is an in-your-face glimpse into the life of a man who seemed to succeed against all odds---and make a name for himself in the process. I learned from the book that he got the nickname Doc because of the way he performed on the field. A family friend named Dennis told Dwight's father that he "performed like a surgeon out there. Steady and smooth. Getting the job done." That is something that would stick with him.

Ironically there were times when Doc would have to operate on himself, cutting out that which threatened all that he had accomplished and the vices that could destroy him forever.

Part of what plagued Doc would be drug use. He writes: "When I did coke," he writes "I could never do just a line or two and say 'Enough.' I'd have been sneaking into the dugout, snorting lines every inning or two." It would be an issue that he dealt with for years, but he wouldn't give up.

Another thing we learn about Doc was how his faith developed. When it comes to being baptized he says this: "I wanted to feel like I belonged to a church. Up to then, I'd only belonged on teams...When I left the pew and walked toward the altar, the whole congregation stood and cheered. I'd been cheered in ballparks for various achievements. I'd been cheered at baseball card shows and sport award dinners. I'd never been cheered simply because I was human and recognized my connection to God."

Through the scandals and hits he took because of his choices Doc was able to emerge stronger and wiser. "I'll be at this forever," he writes, "one well-focused, hardworking, mutually supportive day at a time." That is the lesson for us all. Never to give up. Never to quit. Never to think we can't come back.

This book resonated with me in many ways, and I know others will feel the same way. No matter who you are DOC is just what you need to keep you motivated while you find your way.
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18 of 21 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great Insights Into Doc Gooden's Life, May 23, 2013
This review is from: Doc: A Memoir (Hardcover)
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I hated the New York Mets growing up. I have always loved the LA Dodgers and a buddy of mine was a big NY Mets fan. He and I would sit and throw the baseball while naming the starting lineups for our team. I still remember him naming players such as Gary Carter, Keith Hernandez, Wally Backman, Santana, and of course, his starting pitcher was going to be Doc Gooden.

Gooden was a powerful pitcher. At the young age of 19 years old, he took the MLB world by storm. He had that overwhelming fastball and he was a terror while on the mound. Off the mound, I read his was quiet and reserved.

When the New York Mets won the 1986 World Series over Boston, Gooden was celebrated. While the Mets had their championship parade in New York City, Gooden was not there. He was out getting high on cocaine. Gooden was a drug addict.

This is the life of Dwight Gooden. It is the story of a baseball player who went to the top of the game and yet his passion for drugs was what led to his demise. It is a story of skill, a story of a pitcher who was a powerful force, and yet a story of a human being who suffered through his drug addiction. I believe that Doc could have been in the MLB Hall of Fame had he not been destroyed by drugs.

You will enjoy this story. You will love Doc's passion and yet cringe at his humanity. In the end, you too will appreciate the life of Doc Gooden and you'll ask yourself the same questions I did, "What could have been for this man?"
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11 of 13 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Dwight Gooden gives two versions of aftermath of cop incident, June 17, 2013
By 
Sal Nudo (Champaign, Illinois) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Doc: A Memoir (Hardcover)
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In the 1999 book "Heat: My Life on and Off the Diamond," written by Dwight Gooden and Bob Klapisch, Gooden tells the harrowing story of a beating he received by Tampa cops, following a meal he had with friends at Chili's. Gooden was pulled over by a cop while driving, and the two began to argue. The ex-pitcher took a few ill-advised actions toward the cop (one verbal and the other more aggressive) and eventually found himself being beaten senseless by numerous cops. Gooden says in the book that officers from 15 squad cars pulled up to partake in the beating.

On pages 67-69 in the book "Heat," Gooden claims that, following this ugly scene, he was "no longer thinking straight" and "consumed by images of revenge." So Gooden, his cousin and five others piled into a pickup truck with automatic weapons and disregarded every driving law imaginable, with the intent to get pulled over by a cop -- and kill him. "We went out at ten P.M. and for the next thirty minutes, I was part of a posse that was ready to shoot the first unlucky officer we saw," Gooden writes.

Gooden goes on to say that he and his crew went eighty miles an hour on a main drag, ran every red light they could and recklessly weaved in and out of traffic, not caring about the safety of pedestrians or other drivers. After an hour he says he settled down and realized what they were doing was foolish. Gooden and his posse saw no cops that night, and he says the incident was a "terrifying look into my own soul."

Fast-forward to 2013 and Dwight Gooden's new book, "Doc: A Memoir." On pages 94-100, he recounts the same people and meal at Chili's. The story of the cop pulling him over and the subsequent harsh beating are all the same as what was in "Heat." But in his latest book, Doc says no revengeful driving spree took place. Here are his exact words:

"We made it a single block before I came to my senses. `I can't go through with this.'"

Gooden says his cousin tried to convince him otherwise, to no avail. "I got out of the truck and walked back to my parents' house," Gooden writes.

So which story actually happened? Was Gooden attempting to be overly macho in his 1999 book and maybe letting his imagination run away from him, or was the reckless driving story actually true?

In the 2013 book, was Gooden perhaps ashamed of his tall tale from 1999 and hoping to make amends by saying he was not crazy enough to go out looking to kill a cop?

The two accounts are so completely different that Gooden owes his readers and fans an explanation. Something is weird here, and Doc needs to fess up. If the ex-athlete is so intent on telling his life story (the guy has written three books and been on a reality show), he should at least be honest with readers every step of the way. One of these post-beating stories is true -- hopefully the latter version -- and Gooden should come clean and tell readers which one it is, and why each memory in both books is so vastly different.
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10 of 12 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Always room at the table for Doc, May 20, 2013
By 
Joe (West Michigan, USA) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Doc: A Memoir (Hardcover)
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I remember the first time, I saw Doc Gooden pitch. I was mesmerized. It was all fluid elbows, and knees. The ball darted and danced. 
I was mesmerized. His was the first baseball T shirt, I ever bought out of my own money. 
Then came the lows.
This memoir was brutally honest, If you grew up watching Doc ascend, fall and climb back up again, you can watch the pages unfold like a TV drama in your head. Of course, this real life drama isn't like a TV show. It hurts to read some of it. It's exciting to read some of it. 
It's sad to realize that he and Strawberry have lost a friendship. It's painful to read his honest words about the things he did with his children and with his father.
It's uplifting to read how he has put his life back together. If you are a baseball fan, this is a great book. If you are a NY sports fan, I think it's a must read.
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A brutally honest chronicle of baseball, addiction and recovery., May 7, 2013
By 
Michael Stack (North Chelmsford, MA USA) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Doc: A Memoir (Hardcover)
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Full disclaimer: as a life long Mets fan who was 8 years old in 1986, I grew up obsessed with Dwight Gooden. I remember, even watching on TV, being excited every two-strike pitch. I read the back of his baseball card over and over again, trying to figure out just how many wins and strikeouts he'd end up with when he was inducted into Cooperstown. And I remember the horrible disappointments-- reading about his arrests and suspensions on the back pages of the Daily News and the awful vision of him in pinstripes (and getting a no hitter there to boot!).

So I guess I'm saying it's impossible for me to provide an objective review of "Doc". With that in mind, I can say I thoroughly enjoyed the read-- Gooden exposes himself in his text, discussing with great honesty and frankness his 25+ years of struggling with addiction, all his rationalizations and excuses and the damage it caused his family. It's quite an unflattering portrayal and for anyone who's ever cared about someone who struggled with addiction, it feels brutally familiar. And to me, this is what made the book so compelling. Baseball is somewhat secondary to addiction in "Doc", and there's no glamorizing the behavior. Too many memoirs of drug addicts seem far too happy-go-lucky in their portrayals of drug use. But this is all about missing birthday parties and other family commitments (and for that matter, the parade for the '86 world champions).

It does seem that a book on this subject matter, with this context, could be a bit of a downer, but Doc Gooden's (well publicized) recent recovery efforts and his optimism about his future keep things fairly upbeat. This is all helped by the relative quickness of the read-- you may be immersed in the bottom, but the narrative flows nicely through peaks and valleys to keep it from being too dismal, even when you know what's coming over the next few years.

Anyway, like I said, hard to be unbiased, but I thought "Doc" was a great read. Like most who bleed orange and blue, I've always hoped for his recovery to maintain its success, this book only made me hope for him more. Recommended.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A harrowing and honest self-examination, July 1, 2013
By 
Michael K. Beusch (San Mateo, California United States) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Doc: A Memoir (Hardcover)
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Dwight "Doc" Gooden's memoir about his history of drug and alcohol abuse is a harrowing tale that pulls no punches. I knew that Gooden had struggled with his addictions, but until I read this book, I didn't realize just how bad his addictions were (Gooden only became truly clean and sober two years ago). So many celebrity autobiographies attempt to whitewash bad deeds and pass off blame on others. Gooden, however, takes responsibility for his actions and makes no excuses for himself.

Gooden's baseball days are a very small part of this memoir. In fact, his discussion of his career is merely part of the setting for the larger narrative of how he sank into the depths of addiction and then slowly (very slowly) made his way back to sobriety. If you are looking for a book that goes into Gooden's pitching career in great detail, then this isn't the book for you.

The memoir is relentless in showing Gooden's numerous binges, half-hearted attempts at rehabilitation, run-ins with the law, and his family and friends' desperate attempts to help him get sober. At the midpoint of the memoir, the reader begins to wonder how Gooden managed to survive his addictions. Gooden recounts with brutal honesty how his substance abuse cost him his career, two marriages, his relationships with his children, his money, and, ultimately, his freedom when he was sent to prison. To his credit, Gooden is brutally honest about himself and shows that while he is basically a good person, he did some awful things to himself and those who loved and cared for him. I cringed every time Gooden let his demons get the better of him, but I never stopped rooting for him.
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Compelling Account of Why It's So Hard to Stay Sober, June 3, 2013
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not a natural "Bob Bickel" (huntington, west virginia United States) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Doc: A Memoir (Hardcover)
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By chance, I read Doc: A Memoir right after finishing Andrew Seaward's novel Some Are Sicker Than Others. Dwight Gooden's rendering of his years in professional baseball and much of what followed would have worked very effectively as one of Seaward's fictional case studies of alcoholism and drug addiction. The parallels between the discussions of the experience of addiction produced by Gooden and Seaward are so remarkably close that I was led to the unlikely conjecture that the life of an alcoholic or drug addict varies very little from one person to another.

Yes, Seaward's book is fiction, but it seems unlikely that it could have been written if the author hadn't spent years rarely drawing a sober breath. Gooden, on the other hand, writes explicitly and honestly about himself, someone who has lived most of his adult life drinking heavily and addicted to cocaine. Nevertheless, the similarity of the accounts offered by two very different people really is quite remarkable.

The primary difference between the stories of addictive diseases as presented in these two books has little to do with the fact that one is fiction and tells its story with multiple case studies, while the other is a very personal and detailed account of the experiences of one man. The primary difference, instead, is that Seaward's case studies start off in adulthood, after addiction has taken hold. Gooden's memoir, on the other hand, follows his maturation from early childhood to the present. As a result, while both books take the position that addiction is a disease of uncertain etiology, Gooden enables us to at least look for familial and other social factors that might have made him more susceptible than others. Such analyses will be tentative and uncertain, and they may tell us little, but this is far better than writing off an addict's life history as if it were of no consequence.

As with Seaward's fictional case studies, Gooden has spent most of his adult life locked in a destructive round of getting high, sobering up, going to rehab, and then starting all over again. In Gooden's case, this went on for more than 25 years. It's difficult to imagine how he managed to put together a genuinely effective career as a major league pitcher while carrying the physically and emotionally debilitating burdens of alcoholism and drug addiction. He finished with a won/lost record of 63.4 percent, 194 wins and only 112 losses. That puts him squarely in the company of currently active veteran stars such as Roy Halladay and C.C. Sabathia. Gooden's record, compiled while addicted, lends credence to the claim that professional athletes are of a type who can party longer, recover faster, and endure more pain than the rest of us.

Gooden also benefited from an enormously generous number of second chances. The farther I got into his memoir the more tedious this became. I realize that getting sober and then talking one's self into relapse is symptomatic of addictive diseases. Nevertheless, friends and relatives who are trying to help can't be expected to be infinitely patient or immune to the pain and disappointment of repeated betrayal. After a while, I was ready to cut Gooden loose and let him go the way of one of Seaward's characters who set out to drink himself to death.

I have to admit that I was surprised by Gooden's book. I lived in Florida during some of the time covered in Doc: A Memoir, and I was vaguely aware that Gooden seemed to get more than his share of unfavorable press coverage while he lived in Tampa, and that the local police seemed to take an inordinate interest in him. Until I read this book, however, I had no idea that he was as deeply involved in alcohol and drug abuse as he now readily acknowledges.

Stories such as Gooden's inevitably raise questions as to just how good he'd have been if he hadn't been an addict. Even Mickey Mantle, who easily made it into the Hall of Fame, lived his life after baseball haunted by the unknown cost of his alcoholism. There are no answers to questions such as this, but Gooden's book answers a far more important and interesting question, namely, why it's so hard to get sober and stay sober. In this respect, Doc: A Memoir is better than anything else I've read, including Seaward's Some Are Sicker Than Others. This insight makes it worth reading the long and tedious account of Gooden's journey to sobriety.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Genuine and meaningful, June 30, 2013
This review is from: Doc: A Memoir (Hardcover)
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Doc Gooden is in my mind one of the best athletes of our time. I can't think of a pitcher that was more of a threat at his peak than Doc. Until I read this book, I had no idea how vulnerable he could be and it makes me feel that the big stars can be like any of us.

Gooden makes sense of his meteoric rise to fame and his addiction anchor. He shows a remarkable ability to reflect and inform something about life to all of us. In his experiences he discovered meaning that applies to every human.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars good story, June 28, 2013
This review is from: Doc: A Memoir (Hardcover)
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So I was a Mets fan when Doc Gooden and Daryl Strawberry were in their prime. I was also 9 years old at the time. I was unaware of the dark side to this team. I won't give it all away but this book not only tells the trials and tribulations of Dwight Gooden but it also shows the obstacles this team faced off the field. It is amazing that they were as good as they were. I can only imagine how awesome they would be if they had been on the straight and narrow. Mr. Gooden writes an honest memoir of his rise in baseball, fall into addiction, and the battles he faces in recovery. This book is an easy read in a very down to earth style. I would recommend this book not only to those interested in baseball but also those who want to learn more about addiction and recovery.
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Doc: A Memoir
Doc: A Memoir by Dwight Gooden (Hardcover - June 4, 2013)
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