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Kings of Queens: Life Beyond Baseball with the '86 Mets

With Kings of Queens, I would travel over 30,000 miles around the country visiting with the key and most riveting players from the '86 Mets.  What separates this book from others on that celebrated team was how I delved deeper into the obvious, well-documented travails of players like Doc Gooden, Darryl Strawberry and Lenny Dykstra with their revelations of combating the demons of drug addiction, battling cancer, and starting anew after incarceration, as well as the lesser-known stories of Kevin Mitchell, Ed Hearn, and Doug Sisk with their stories of dealing with the tragic murder of a child, chronic illnesses, and getting death threats from disillusioned ‘fans.’

It would share the thoughts of those like Wally Backman and Mookie Wilson, baseball-lifers and two of the more intelligent men in the game, who have long been inexplicably passed over for greater roles in the Major Leagues.  It would profile Keith Hernandez--the greatest defensive first baseman of all-time--perhaps unjustly denied induction into the Hall of Fame because of drug use early in his career, and Bobby Ojeda, who resurrected his life after being the lone survivor of a fatal boating accident by becoming one of the finest baseball analysts in the business.

There would be the largely untold success stories of Danny Heep, who went on to become one of college baseball’s most successful managers of all-time; of Howard Johnson, who made several comeback bids in a display of his love of the game; and Rafael Santana, who has for the last two decades been as great a cog in the Dominican Republic’s incubator of Major League players as anyone.

And, of course, this would include the story of the shocking, premature death of the very last man on that twenty-five man roster that anybody thought would be the first to pass away—Gary Carter—as told to me by his widow Sandy and his Mets’ teammates.

With the book, it was my goal to do for the '86 Mets what the legendary author Roger Kahn did for the '55 Brooklyn Dodgers, visiting New York's darlings nearly thirty years after their last World Series victory, finding out what they were up to today, discussing their personal challenges, and looking back at that championship season with renewed perspective.

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