By Joe McDonald at 16 July, 2013, 2:58 pm
With a top fastball and unparalleled curve, Dwight Gooden burst upon the major league scene at 19 years old in 1984 with the New York Mets. By the time he won the Cy Young Award in 1985 with one of the best seasons ever, Gooden already had begun a decent into drug and alcohol abuse that made success impossible for him to enjoy, contributed to stunting his growth as a pitcher, and nearly killed him.
Gooden recently published a critically acclaimed memoir, and has been participating in All-Star game festivities the Mets have been hosting. We got a chance to catch up with Gooden at FanFest for the latest Answer Man session.
David Brown: The reaction to the memoir has been good, but how is it selling ?
Dwight Gooden: It's been a lot better than I expected. I put a lot of hard work into it — nine months, it took, to complete. The reviews, the sales and just the feedback I've been getting from fans has been overwhelming at times. I got into some real depth about my life. The good and the bad, all of the details about what I was going through at that time. But it's also been rewarding, and great therapy for myself. I'm happy I did it, it was a big burden off of me. Coming clean. You're only as sick as your secrets. My goal was not only to help me, but to help others who are struggling, either in situations like I was, or those who may have a family member or friend going through that.
DB: You wrote a memoir in the past about your life. How is this one different?
Doc: This one is totally different. I put my heart into this. I was ready to do it. I think when I did "Heat," I was telling half of the truth, but not the whole truth. Plus, at that time, to be honest, I was in a little bit of denial that I had a problem, that I suffered from the disease of drugs and alcohol. I did "Heat" because friends were saying, "Hey, you should do a book." This time around, after doing "Celebrity Rehab" and getting involved with with NAA, I felt it was time to tell my story in my words, to put my heart into it and remove that mask and know that I am an addict and an alcoholic, but I'm just not active in it. I just felt the time was right. I would just write down chapters myself, things that I would talk about — the things I struggled with.
DB: How long has it been since you were high?