The Bad Guys Won: A Season of Brawling, Boozing, Bimbo Chasing, and Championship Baseball with Straw, Doc, Mookie, Nails, the Kid, and the Rest of the 1986 Mets, the Rowdiest Team Ever to Put on a New York Uniform--and Maybe the Best Paperback – Aug 30 2011
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From Publishers Weekly
Drugs, sex and groupies abound in this book by Pearlman, a reporter for Newsday. Only the author isn't a rock critic chronicling the wild escapades of a band; he's describing the very successful 1986 season when the New York Mets won the World Series. As remarkable as the team's performance on the field, the players' escapades outside the stadium are perhaps more memorable, in a far less flattering way. Pearlman, an unabashed Mets fan, offers a behind-the-scenes look at the team, including an insightful portrait of Frank Cashen, the general manager at the time. Pearlman discusses the trades, the players' abilities and unforgettable games. But much of the book is about the difficulties and the unprofessional behavior of many of the players. For example, on one rowdy flight back to New York, United Airlines billed the team an additional $7,500 for damage resulting from food fights and other unruly antics and said the team couldn't fly the airline again. Cashen was upset, but the manager, Davey Johnson, laughed as he tore up the bill in front of the team. The drug use that would become public later was not addressed at the time, though it was obvious to reporters. When asked whether Dwight Gooden was healthy, despite several minor car accidents, Johnson had nothing to say: "As long as Dwight Gooden was smiling and in good physical shape, Johnson required no knowledge about the pitcher's private time. Johnson was a manager, not a babysitter." Pearlman's book isn't simple nostalgia-some of the players have virtually disappeared from the public eye-and much of the wild off-field behavior is still part of the game today. Baseball aficionados, especially Mets fans, will enjoy this affectionate but critical look at this exciting season.
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.
In 1986, the New York Mets won the World Series, taking it from the Boston Red Sox in some of the most memorable baseball ever played. Pearlman doesn't really want to talk about that. He wants to tell you what terribly bad boys these Mets were. There is no boozing, drug use, or bimbo eruption that he does not describe, nor does he miss a single evil quote from one player about another. Doc Gooden's and Darryl Strawberry's silken and glorious talents are not examined nearly so much as their wastrel paths to drug and alcohol use are scrupulously detailed. Rampant sexism and underhanded racism were certainly part of the baseball scene in 1986, but must Pearlman revel in them with such glee? And the prose? Perlman goes purple at the slightest provocation: Bill Buckner's left ankle "throbbed like a transplanted heart." There is a lot not to like here, which is exactly why it will draw media interest and may well become one of the hottest-selling baseball books of the season. GraceAnne DeCandido
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.
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Top Customer Reviews
From there I expected to get more of the same so wasn't sure if I'd love to read the rest of the book or not. It is decent but after a while you just get tired at how adolescent ballplayers are. What passes for pranks (hot foots, shaving cream) in MLB seems even less inventive that high school kids. Throw in the fact that ballpalyers could go out and get blind drunk pretty much after every game yet perform at the highest level the following day is mindboggling. Of course, it caught up the '80s Mets as guys like Strawberry and Gooden really derailed what started off as sure Hall of Fame careers.
The last five chapters focuses on the NLCS and the World Series so there's more than enough "baseball" writing to suffice.
The problem I had is after you've read about one ballplayer's drinking habits or another faith in God, I just got tired of all that. I loved the Mets at the time as they were a fun team to watch. After reading this, it hasn't changed my opinion of that season but it sure changes my opinion of some players--basically the majority are a bunch of jerks and idiots...and I include the Christians with the drunks on that score. Would it kill ballplayers to actually treat the game with a semblance of respect no matter who the owner or GM is?
Anyway, if you're looking for a great look at the '86 season, this I'd rate no more than a salacious insider's tale. Good for what is is but been there, done that, read this before. (Plus what is up with the longest subtitle in book publishing history?)
Pearlman begins with a bang--the near destruction of the interior of an airplane by the newly crowned NL champion Mets, returning from Houston after the classic 16 inning battle which won them the NL crown.
Much of the focus in the early part of the book is on how GM Frank Cashen built the Mets piece by piece, taking them from the no-hopers of the early 80s to the great championship team of '86.
The discussion of the regular season (since the Mets won by some 20 games, not that exciting) is livened up as we meet the individual members of the team.
We see the behind the scene tumult as well. Darryl Strawberry and Dwight Gooden display early signs of the flaws that would mar their careers. Manager Davey Johnson seems blissfully unaware of the turmoil which will eventually shatter the Mets, making the Mets of the late 80s one of the greatest teams to win only one championship.
Time slows as we reach September, with the Mets' mini-collapse that prevents them from clinching the division against the distant second-place Phillies, leading to a Tuesday night riot at Shea as Mets fans storm--and nearly destroy--the field after the Mets beat the Cubs for the division title.
Time slows further for the postseason, where the Mets meet their most severe tests, and two opponents--the Astros and Red Sox--each convinced that they can beat the Mets--and each nearly does.Read more ›
Jeff Pearlman's book almost delivers. The overview of how the team is put together and what they went through is fine. He also hits the nail on what kind of team this 86 club was in terms of attitude.
Unfortunately, Pearlman's problem is like so many of those overawed by the 86 Mets, he seemingly keeps looking on this "bad guys" side of the 86 team as some kind of asset to be admired, and in the process overlooks the simple fact that the me-first bad-guy attitude of this team explains why they were nothing more than a one-season wonder, who squandered a chance to become a truly great baseball dynasty. Sure, Frank Cashen made bad trades that made that possible, but just imagine what kind of a better club would have resulted if there'd been a bit of discipline exercised to keep Dwight Gooden and Darryl Strawberry from wrecking their one-way tickets to Cooperstown, and the Mets chance at greatness in the process? Ultimately, that lack of discipline that they could get by with for one year in 86 came back to haunt them in more ways than they could have imagined.
That is why this 86 club will never be confused with the real great New York teams of all time like the 27, 61 and yes, the 98 Yankees. Pearlman's contemptuous dismissal of the late 90s Yankee dynasty as a bunch of "boring" players misses one elementary point.Read more ›
Most recent customer reviews
Great anecdotes and stories from many different players and managers. Also context of NYC at that time.
Kept me interested from start to finish .
In depth read on the psyche of a sports - truly demonstrates both the beauty and beast of sports teamsPublished on Jan. 25 2014 by frank biancucci
Probably Jeff Pearlman's best book, 'How The Bad Guys Won' details the 1986 New York Mets season. Very entertaining from the opening chapter on, it's another page turner from... Read morePublished on Jan. 22 2014 by Jeff Morant
I'v bever been disappointed by Jeff Pearlman so far...a good account of the 86 Mets...It is too bad that this bunch won....the bad guys won indeed!!!!Published on Nov. 24 2013 by Steff66
This book is priceless merely for the description of the recording session where some of the Mets try to cut a "Super Bowl Shuffle" style rap song, titled "Get... Read morePublished on July 16 2004 by Victor Catano
If you are a fan of the Mets or a baseball history book, this is a must read. The book is very entertaining and an easy read.Published on July 7 2004 by Mark A. Haas
This was a very funny book that I enjoyed a lot. My wife bought it for me for father's day, even though i'm more of a yankee fan. still it was worth the time put into reading it. Read morePublished on July 7 2004
If Kevin Elster were a book, he'd be "The Bad Guys Won." I write this because Kevin is my favorite player ever, and this is one of my favorite baseball books. Read morePublished on July 6 2004