Book excerpt: "Doc: A Memoir"

The cover of "Doc: A Memoir" by Dwight Gooden and Ellis Henican. New Harvest

(CBS News) The following is an excerpt from "Doc: A Memoir" by Dwight Gooden and Ellis Henican. Copyright 2013 by Dwight Gooden and Ellis Henican. Published by Amazon Publishing/New Harvest (June 2013). All Rights Reserved.


INTRODUCTION

Parade Rest

Grown men and women were clapping and waving. Little children were yelling themselves hoarse. Secretaries leaned out of upper-floor windows, tossing shredded computer paper to the street. A throbbing mob of blue and orange, people as far you could see, jammed together on the sidewalks, shouting out our names.

"Mookie, Mookie, Mookie!"

"Ray, Ray, Ray!"

Three men in shirts and loosened ties were dancing on a narrow ledge six stories up, doing a high-kick they must have stolen from the Radio City Rockettes. One false step -- they'd never kick again.

They didn't look too worried though. They were too stoked to care.

Big-bellied construction workers hugged total strangers, as rolls of toilet paper flew through the air. Wall Street office drones wept tears of joy. If I had to take a guess, I'd say zero New York children made it into school that day. Even some Yankees fans couldn't help but cheer. Anyone who beat the Red Sox was okay with them.

For only the second time in history, and for the first time in seventeen years, the New York Mets had won the World Series. We'd finished off the hated team from Boston, and now the official victory parade was rolling up Broadway. The crowds were so huge and so pumped, the wooden police barricades were no more than a suggestion. Every time an open convertible passed, another wave of fans would burst forward. Then the cops would run into the street and shoo them back.

So this is what two million people looks like?

Amazon Publishing/New Harvest
The Canyon of Heroes, this stretch of Lower Manhattan is called, for all the great achievers who have been celebrated here. Not just sports champions, but people who really changed the world: Charles Lindbergh, Douglas MacArthur, Albert Einstein, the Apollo 11 astronauts, the American hostages released from Iran -- all of them have taken that slow ride up Broadway to City Hall. And now it was our turn, this bad-boy mob of talent and heart, some of the greatest guys you could ever play ball with, as loud and rambunctious as the city we'd just won it all for.

Davey in the lead car followed by two sanitation trucks with snowplows, sent to clear the knee-deep confetti.

Keith and Gary, Howard and Jesse, pumping their firsts in the air. Lenny, Wally and Tim, looking thrilled in their open cars. Darryl waving from a bright-red Cadillac. Ray Knight, the series MVP, was positively beaming. Pitcher Ron Darling's smile was so bright, he could have subbed for the lights at Shea Stadium.

Every time a politician tried to speak -- Ed Koch or Alfonse D'Amato or Mario Cuomo -- boos swelled up from the crowd. No one had come to hear them. The fans were there to cheer their champions -- and themselves. "Thank you all for making a dream come true," our catcher Gary Carter said, and the people roared.

Of course they did. It was their dream too.

"This is so much fun," our manager, Davey Johnson, told the people on the sidewalk and the many, many others watching on TV. "I think we ought to try to do it again next year."

Mookie Wilson, our switch-hitting center fielder, was thinking even bigger. "Nineteen eighty-six," he thundered, "the year of the Mets. Nineteen eighty-seven, year of the Mets. Nineteen eighty-eight, year of the Mets." Our victory was barely twelve hours old, and Mookie was already talking dynasty.

It was a glorious celebration. And right at the front of the crowd, a small boy was standing with a hand-lettered sign.

WE LOVE YOU, DOC, it said.

Too bad I couldn't thank him or even wave.

I really wish I could have. But as everyone gathered in Lower Manhattan, I was twenty-five miles away.

As my teammates rode through the Canyon of Heroes, I was alone in my bed in Roslyn, Long Island, with the curtains closed and the TV on, missing what should have been the greatest morning of my life.

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