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.