R.A. Dickey’s Dancing Knuckleball Provides Stability to Roller Coaster Career

Posted: June 19, 2012 by Glenn in Pro Sports
Tags: , , , ,

By: Glenn Schulz

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Last night against the Baltimore Orioles, Dickey became the first pitcher in the majors to throw back-to-back one-hitters since Dave Stieb for the Blue Jays in 1988. He also became the first pitcher in Mets history with back-to-back complete games, allowing one hit or fewer. Think about that for a second. Not Dwight Gooden, Not Nolan Ryan, Not Tom Seaver, Not Tom Glavine, R.A. Dickey. With the one-hitter against the O’s, he improved his record to 11-1 with an ERA of 2.00. He leads the majors in W’s, ERA, WHIP (walks + hits per innings pitched) and K’s.

 Dickey has turned his career around with a pitch that floats and flutters, the knuckleball. A pitch that he threw only occasionally while with the Texas Rangers, has now become the reason for success.

Orel Hershiser, the Rangers pitching coach from 2002 to 2005, helped Dickey work on the knuckleball. Success was not instant, as his first start in 2006 with the Texas Rangers resulted in only three and one-third innings pitched and six home runs surrendered. Dickey was sent back to the minors following the start. From 2007 to 2009, he learned to control and command his knuckler.

He spent time in the minors and made appearances in the big leagues with the Seattle Mariners and Minnesota Twins.  His big break came in 2010 when he found himself in the New York Mets starting rotation. Since wearing the Mets crest across the chest, Dickey is 30-23 with a 2.71 ERA. Pretty impressive considering before becoming a Met, he only had 22 wins in his major league career.

Dickey’s career has been an up and down roller coaster, just like his knuckleball. But, with the help of that pitch, Dickey’s 2012 season has been as smooth sailing as it can get.

The Mets and their fan base waited 50 seasons for their first no-hitter. Now, it seems like history is being made each time Dickey toes the rubber.

Dickey also published his memoir, Wherever I Wind Up: My Quest for Truth, Authenticity, and the Perfect Knuckleball detailing his baseball career and his life outside of baseball.

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