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Heat: My Life on and Off the Diamond Hardcover


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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 256 pages
  • Publisher: William Morrow; First Edition ~1st Printing edition (February 17, 1999)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0688163394
  • ISBN-13: 978-0688163396
  • Product Dimensions: 1 x 6.8 x 10 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.1 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (14 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,368,767 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review

To look back at the dawning of Dwight Gooden's career is to see not just potential but also brilliance. Gooden roared onto the scene, a quiet teenage marvel with a loud adult arm, stringing together a pair of inaugural seasons with the Mets--Rookie of the Year in '84, Cy Young Award in '85--that burst at the seams of his unhittable heater. New pages were prepped for the record books. But those pages were never filled in.

That Gooden self-imploded on a volatile cocktail of drugs and alcohol certainly isn't news. What is news is that his smart memoir goes beyond some smart analysis of the pitcher's craft to candidly dive into the wreck Gooden created for himself. Instead of mining for excuses, Gooden resurfaces with the requisite self-awareness--"The worst part about being an addict," he admits, "is that you lie all the time"--to probe the great expectations placed on him, the early triumphs and the way success went to his head, the pressures of New York and its nightlife, his sometimes difficult relationships with teammates, his personal inferno and its repercussions, his suspensions, his humiliations, his addiction treatments, and his comeback. Gooden made a splendid name for himself throwing heat; here, he gracefully humbles himself in a cautionary tale that displays the perspective and maturity that's required to be able to take the heat. --Jeff Silverman

From Publishers Weekly

As fans of the 1986 New York Mets slept happily on the night after the team's dramatic 16-inning pennant-clinching victory over the Houston Astros, members of the team were 30,000 feet in the air downing booze, snorting drugs and eventually trashing the plane taking them back to the city that loved them. It is this juxtaposition of greatness and depravity that Gooden, with Klapisch (The Worst Team Money Could Buy), recounts so potently in a forthright sketch of his journey from public adoration to disgrace and back to triumph. The book explains the process by which this gifted pitcherAwho won the 1984 Rookie of the Year Award, the 1985 Cy Young Award and a 1996 World Series ringAfound himself, in 1994, sitting on the edge of his bed with a nine-millimeter handgun pressed to his temple. The story is ultimately one of redemption, but Gooden is quite candid about his painfully senseless relapses and their ramifications for those around him. Beyond the tale of Gooden's addiction, there's plenty of standard sports autobiography fare, including articulate descriptions of how the game is played and frank portrayals of other players. Also, spliced throughout the book's nine chapters, is a running account of May 14, 1996, the day Gooden's father lay in a Tampa hospital awaiting open-heart surgery while his recovering son affirmed his new life by pitching a no-hitter for the New York Yankees. With an absorbing, straightforward story and Klapisch's hand to polish it, Gooden delivers without trying to put one past readers.
Copyright 1999 Reed Business Information, Inc.

More About the Author

Dwight Eugene Gooden, nicknamed "Doc," at nineteen became the youngest starting pitcher in MLB history until that point. Starting in 1984, Gooden shaped the destiny of the Mets, his 98 mph rising fastball carrying him to Rookie of the Year and Cy Young accolades and guiding the Mets to victory in the 1986 World Series.

Customer Reviews

4.3 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on April 9, 2001
Format: Hardcover
HEAT, by Dwight Gooden, has the feel of a between-seasons quickie book. It's still worth picking up, especially if you read between the lines.
Released the winter of 1999, HEAT came out just before Gooden's baseball pitching career went downhill. The previous season at Cleveland had been Gooden's best since 1990. But injuries ruined his 1999 performance and the Indians released him.
In 2000 Houston and Tampa Bay dismissed Doc after he struggled with each team. Later that season Gooden managed to join the Yankees and actually pitched very well, including an incredible July start against the Mets at Shea Stadium.
But age marched ahead and Dwight Gooden did not make the 2001 Yankees. He retired just before the start of the 2001 season.
Covering the Gooden retirement story, the New York papers barely mentioned the pitcher's alcholism, only stressing his cocaine addiction. They should have read HEAT.
Like I said, it's overall a quickie book, not to dismiss its many interesting stories. But what makes HEAT truly worth reading is Dwight Gooden's drinking stories. Cocaine only came into play when he was drinking. The coke is what cost him close to two years' worth of playing time. But alcohol, which Major League Baseball and the newspapers gladly advertise, was the root cause of Gooden's troubles.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Daniel Hough on September 27, 1999
Format: Hardcover
I really enjoyed the inside look at being a baseball player in today's major leagues. The book also conveys the desperation that comes with an addiction and how hard it is to overcome. I must say that while I sympathized with the struggles that Gooden has gone through in his life, I still feel he has a tendency to blame others for some of his problems which is a concern for his continued recovery.
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Jim LaRegina (jimlaregina@hotmail.com) on November 18, 1999
Format: Hardcover
In 1995 baseball pitcher Dwight Gooden's no-hit game put himback on top of the baseball world when, just earlier that same season,he looked washed up. A biographical picture was supposed to be made but, as I write this, it has yet to materialize.
HEAT: MY LIFE ON AND OFF THE DIAMOND, Doc's 1998 autobiography, vividly tells about his numerous highs and lows, professional and personal. He skims over the spring training and cab driver controversies that long-time fans will remember but otherwise proves admirably honest about the troubles he brought on himself. The lost opportunities depicted in HEAT saddened me. But Gooden's determination to redeem himself defines the difference between losing and quitting.
And HEAT is not without its share of funny moments and bet-you-didn't-know-that anecdotes. Among the best stories is a prank Doc played on one of the premier sluggers of the game.
While Gooden admits the fears that cost him so much, he is not afraid to name names in HEAT. If Doc finds himself alone in an elevator with ex-manager Dallas Green or ex-teammate Kevin Mitchell, I don't want to be there when the doors open.
It is interesting to note that Gooden does not hold Major League Baseball and his union accountable for helping out-of-control players before they hurt either someone or themselves.
Today (Nov. '99) Dwight Gooden's without a team, having been released after an injury-filled season with the Cleveland Indians. His will to prove himself could land him a chance elsewhere - and with the pathetic state of major league pitching, he could make it to another club and even win some games for them. He's come back from the edge before.
Anyway, a movie of Dwight Gooden's life, should it match the drama conveyed in HEAT, would be as gripping as a no-hitter. For now, read HEAT.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on June 7, 2000
Format: Hardcover
This book has it all! It made me laugh it made me cry. Dwight Gooden was honest and he showed how human he really is. Being one of Doc's biggest fans it was a very easy read, the thing that surprised me is that is wasn't really about baseball. It was about family, struggle and overcoming a horrible illness, drug abuse. He was recently released from Tampa Bay and I am hoping he signs with another team soon. He has nothing left to prove I just enjoy watching him pitch.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on October 18, 1999
Format: Hardcover
Doc honestly looks back on everything he has done in his career, right and wrong. He is willing to tell all that has transpired, no matter how painful it is to relay. He has come to terms with his past and hopefully, young stars will understand the dangers of having too much too fast.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on April 13, 1999
Format: Hardcover
This book is excellent not only with baseball content, but with a revealing account of Gooden's life. Very unlike the traditional baseball autobiography (Ryne Sandberg's comes to mind) that reveals nothing new and simply rehashes a career. This book chronicles Gooden from his early days when he dominated with the Mets to his downward spiral into addiction and subsequent recovery. There was also an extremely disturbing story about his Mets teammate Kevin Mitchell that left me speechless.
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Martin Blackman(blackmanm@aol.com) on March 13, 1999
Format: Hardcover
From his early days as a young man learning the craft of pitching to the highs of winning a World Series to the lows of addiction this book offers insight to the price of fame. This is an entertaining and honest story of a great baseball player who has become an even greater husband and father. Not just for basdeball fans, I reccomend this book for everyone who enjoys the story of surviving and growing.
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