|Toronto Blue Jays – No. 43|
October 29, 1974 |
|Bats: Right||Throws: Right|
|April 22, 2001 for the Texas Rangers|
(through May 14, 2013)
|Earned run average||4.03|
|Career highlights and awards|
|Competitor for United States|
Robert Allen "R.A." Dickey (born October 29, 1974) is an American baseball pitcher for the Toronto Blue Jays of Major League Baseball. He previously played for the Texas Rangers, Seattle Mariners, Minnesota Twins and New York Mets.
After limited success in the majors as a conventional starting pitcher, he learned to throw a knuckleball. As of the 2012 season, Dickey is the only active player in the majors who uses the knuckleball as his primary pitch. In 2012, Dickey was selected to his first career All-Star Game, won the Sporting News Pitcher of the Year Award and became the first knuckleball pitcher to win the Cy Young Award.
High School 
Dickey attended the University of Tennessee, where he played college baseball for the Tennessee Volunteers baseball team in the Southeastern Conference. He majored in English literature at Tennessee, where he had a 3.35 GPA and was named Academic All-American. He was also named Academic All-SEC.
Professional career 
1996–2006: Texas Rangers 
Dickey was drafted by the Texas Rangers in the first round (18th overall) of the 1996 Major League Baseball Draft. After being drafted by the Rangers, Dickey was initially offered a signing bonus of $810,000, before a Rangers team physician saw Dickey's throwing (right) arm hanging oddly in a picture of him with other Team USA players in Baseball America. The Rangers subsequently did further evaluation of Dickey, leading to the discovery of a missing ulnar collateral ligament in his right elbow joint, and reduced their offer to $75,000. Dickey has been quoted as saying, "Doctors look at me and say I shouldn't be able to turn a doorknob without feeling pain," making his ability to pitch somewhat remarkable.
Dickey debuted with the Rangers in 2001. "His stuff was dime-a-dozen, though: a high-80's fastball, an occasional fringy breaking ball, and a forkball he dubbed 'The Thing.'" The start of the 2004 season was thought to be a turning point in Dickey's career, as he managed to compile a 4–1 record through his first five starts. This hot streak was short-lived however, and he ended up finishing the season a disappointing 6–7 with a 5.61 ERA.
Transition to the knuckleball 
Throughout his career, Dickey did not know that his "forkball" pitch was actually a hard knuckleball, but by 2005, Dickey had realized that the best way to extend his career was to perfect the pitch. At the beginning of the 2006 season, the Rangers gave Dickey a chance to try out his knuckleball at the major league level by naming him the 5th starter. However, after giving up 6 home runs in his first start on April 6, tying the modern era baseball record with another knuckleballer, Tim Wakefield, he was demoted to the Rangers' Triple-A minor league affiliate, the Oklahoma RedHawks.
2007: Milwaukee Brewers 
On January 13, 2007, he signed a minor league deal with the Milwaukee Brewers and spent the 2007 season with the Triple-A Nashville Sounds. After finishing the season with a 12–6 record and a 3.80 ERA, Dickey was named the Pacific Coast League Pitcher of the Year.
2007–2009: Minnesota Twins & Seattle Mariners 
Dickey became a minor league free agent after the season. On November 28, 2007, he signed a minor league contract with the Minnesota Twins that included an invitation to spring training, but was claimed in the Rule 5 Draft by the Seattle Mariners on December 6, 2007.
On March 29, 2008, the Mariners traded minor league catcher Jair Fernandez to the Twins to retain the rights for Dickey and initially optioned him to Triple-A Tacoma, recalling him to the major league club on April 14.
On August 17, 2008, Dickey tied the record for most wild pitches in an inning, with four. This came against the Minnesota Twins in the fifth inning. He joins four others, including Hall of Famers Walter Johnson and Phil Niekro, who have accomplished this feat.
In 2008, he led the majors in games started with fewer than five days of rest, with six.
He became a free agent after the season after refusing a minor league assignment. On December 23, 2008, Dickey signed a minor league contract with an invitation to spring training with the Minnesota Twins. He would go on to pitch in 35 games for the Twins in 2009.
2010–2012: New York Mets 
On January 5, 2010, Dickey signed a minor league contract with the New York Mets, receiving an invitation to spring training. He was assigned to the Triple-A Buffalo Bisons to begin the season. While playing for the Bisons, Dickey threw a one-hitter on April 29. He gave up a single to the first batter, and then retired the next twenty-seven in a row.
On May 19, 2010, the New York Mets purchased Dickey's contract from the Buffalo Bisons, and he made his first appearance as a Met against the Washington Nationals on the same day. In his debut for the Mets, Dickey pitched well, going six innings, giving up five hits, two earned runs, and striking out two, but received a no-decision. His next start, May 25 against the Philadelphia Phillies, he went six innings again, giving up 9 hits, walking 3 and striking out 7 in an 8–0 shutout for his first victory as a Met. On August 13, 2010, Dickey threw a complete game one-hit shutout of the Philadelphia Phillies — the only hit being a single surrendered to Phillies starting pitcher Cole Hamels. Dickey finished the 2010 season with a very strong ERA of 2.84, which was 7th best in the National League and 10th in all of baseball, and served as a rare bright spot on an otherwise disappointing season for the Mets. In 2010, Dickey posted career highs in Games Started (26), wins (11), complete games (2), innings pitched (174.1), strikeouts (104), ERA (2.84), WHIP (1.19), and BAA (.252).
On January 29, 2011, Dickey agreed to a two-year contract with the Mets. Under the agreement, Dickey received a $1 million signing bonus, $2.25 million in 2011, and $4.25 million in 2012. In addition, the Mets have a $5 million option for 2013 with a $300,000 buyout. During the 2011 season, Dickey posted career bests in game starts (32), innings pitched (208 ⅔) and strikeouts (134). He finished the year with a record of only 8–13, despite an impressive 3.28 ERA that was 12th best in the National League.
2012: Cy Young Award season 
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Dickey's performance in the first half of 2012 drew comparisons to some of the most dominant pitching streaks of the last 50 years. Mets Manager Terry Collins remarked, "I've never seen anything like this. Never. I've seen some dominant pitching, but nothing like what he's going through right now." Hall of Fame Pitcher and fellow knuckleballer Phil Niekro commented on Dickey, "I had a few streaks, but nothing like he’s going through. I don’t know if any other knuckleballer has ever been on a hot streak like he has been. He is just dynamite right now."
On May 22, 2012, Dickey struck out 11 batters in a 3–2 win against the Pirates. In his next start on May 27, Dickey pitched 7 ⅓ innings against the San Diego Padres and recorded 10 strikeouts. This was the first time in his career that he recorded double-digit strikeouts in back-to-back games and he became the first Mets pitcher to do so since Pedro Martinez in 2006. Over the two games, Dickey allowed one run in 14 ⅓ innings for an ERA of 0.63 and for this performance he was named National League Player of the Week for the week ending May 27, 2012. Then on June 2 against the St. Louis Cardinals, Dickey threw a seven-hit complete game shutout. On the road against the Nationals on June 7, Dickey went another 7 ⅓ scoreless innings in recording his ninth win of the season. During his next outing on June 13, Dickey allowed only one hit, struck out a career-high 12 batters, and walked none, facing only 29 total batters to lead the Mets to a 9–1 victory over the Tampa Bay Rays. The only hit was an infield single on a ball that third baseman David Wright failed to field cleanly. The New York Mets formally appealed the official scorekeeping of the only hit allowed to be changed to an error on Wright, but MLB denied the appeal. By keeping the shutout alive into the ninth inning before giving up an unearned run (on a throwing error, two passed balls, and an RBI groundout), Dickey set a new Mets franchise record of 32 ⅔ consecutive scoreless innings, besting Jerry Koosman's 31 ⅔ in 1973. The win was Dickey's eighth consecutive victory, and improved his record to 10–1 over only 13 starts, with a 2.20 ERA. Dickey was the first pitcher in the major leagues to reach 10 wins during 2012. In his last five games, Dickey had struck out 50, given up three walks, and allowed only one earned run. On June 18, 2012, Dickey pitched a complete game one-hit shutout against the Orioles to improve his record to 11–1. He became the first pitcher since 1988 to throw two consecutive one-hitters (Dave Stieb of the Toronto Blue Jays), and the first in the NL to do so since 1944 (Jim Tobin of the Boston Braves). He won for the sixth consecutive start and ninth straight decision overall, and set yet another new career high with 13 strikeouts. He also became only the 3rd pitcher (Sandy Koufax, Nolan Ryan (twice)) in MLB history to have two complete game one-hitters with 12 or more strikeouts in one season, and is the only pitcher to do it in back-to-back starts.
On June 24, 2012, Dickey's streak of consecutive scoreless innings without an earned run came to an end at home in a game against the New York Yankees. Dickey's record was snapped at 44 ⅓ innings without an earned run. On July 1, 2012, Dickey was named to the National League All-Star Team, the first in his career. He was also honored with being the National League Pitcher of the Month after going 5–0 with a 0.93 ERA for the month of June. After the All-Star break the Mets lost 5 straight games to extend their losing streak to six, their worst stretch thus far this season. Then on July 19 Dickey helped defeat the Nationals and snap the Mets losing streak. The win was his 13th of the season and with it he became the first NL pitcher to reach 13 wins. On August 9, Dickey tossed his NL-best fourth complete game of the season and allowed just one run while striking out 10 for his sixth double-digit strikeout game of the year. On August 31, Dickey achieved his 17th win of the season by pitching a five-hit complete game shutout, the third of his year. The win marked the first time a Met pitcher had reached 17 wins since Al Leiter in 1998.
On September 27, 2012, Dickey won his 20th game of the season against the Pittsburgh Pirates, 6-5. Dickey tied his career high with 13 strikeouts in the game. In his 2012 season, Dickey set new career bests in games started (33), wins (20), complete games (5), shutouts (3), innings pitched (233.2), strikeouts (230), ERA (2.73), WHIP (1.05), and BAA (.226).
On October 18, 2012, Dickey had abdominal surgery to repair a core muscle injury and is expected to be ready for spring training.
On November 14, 2012, Dickey won the NL Cy Young Award, beating out Gio Gonzalez of the Nationals and Clayton Kershaw of the Dodgers. He became first knuckleballer in MLB history to win the award. He also became the third Met pitcher to win the award, joining Tom Seaver (1969, 1973 and 1975) and Dwight Gooden (1985).
Toronto Blue Jays 
On December 16, 2012, the Mets agreed to trade Dickey to the Toronto Blue Jays (along with Josh Thole and Mike Nickeas) in exchange for Travis d'Arnaud, John Buck, Noah Syndergaard and Wuilmer Becerra, contingent on him agreeing to a contract extension with the Blue Jays. The two sides agreed on December 17 to a two-year, $25-million extension with a club option for a third year in 2016 at $12 million; the deal became official once he passed his physical. On February 5, 2013, manager John Gibbons said Dickey would be the opening day starter for the Blue Jays. Dickey lost his first start for his new team, giving up four runs and five hits in six innings in a loss to the Cleveland Indians.
Pitching style 
Dickey, alone among active pitchers, relies primarily on the knuckleball. He uses the pitch around 80% of the time. His repertoire is rounded out by two-seam and four-seam fastballs (82–85 mph) and a rare changeup (76–78 mph). Dickey's knuckleball comes in two forms — a "slow" knuckler in the low-to-mid 70s that has been clocked as low as 54 mph, and a "fast" one in the upper 70s, sometimes reaching as fast as 83 mph. Dickey tends to use the slow knuckleball when he is behind in the count, using the fast one when he is ahead. However, he resorts to a fastball in most 3–0 and 3–1 counts.
On June 20, 2012, it was reported that Dickey was helping coach an 18-year-old knuckleball pitcher from Long Island, helping him become a walk-on pitcher for the University of Maryland Terrapins.
International career 
Dickey was a member of the 1996 US Olympic Baseball team that won a bronze medal in Atlanta. Dickey started two games, recording wins in both. 17 years later, Dickey once again pitched for Team USA in the 2013 World Baseball Classic. He started two games, going 0–1 with a 5.00 ERA.
Awards, honors, and notable achievements 
- 2012 NL Cy Young Award winner
- 1× All-Star selection (2012)
- National League Pitcher of the Month (June 2012)
- National League Player of the Week (5/27/2012)
- Won a bronze medal at the 1996 Summer Olympics in Atlanta for Men's Baseball.
- Baseball Prospectus Cy Young Award (2012)
- NL TSN Pitcher of the Year (2012)
- Holds the Mets franchise record of 32 ⅔ consecutive scoreless innings (Set June 13, 2012). Stands second among Mets pitchers all-time with 42 ⅔ consecutive innings pitched without giving up an earned run (as of June 22, 2012).
- Threw two consecutive one-hitters on June 13 and June 18, 2012. The last time a pitcher threw two consecutive one-hitters was in 1988 in the AL and 1944 in the NL. During the June 18th one-hitter, he also set a career high in strikeouts with 13. Dickey is also the only pitcher to throw consecutive one hitters and post 10+ strikeouts.
- With his June 18, 2012 win over the Orioles, he became the only pitcher in major league history to have five consecutive starts without giving up any earned runs and still getting at least eight strikeouts in each game.
- Branch Rickey Award (2012)
- National League Outstanding Pitcher of the Year (2012) 
- Received an honourary degree from Wycliffe College at the University of Toronto on May 13, 2013.
Personal life 
Dickey is married and has two daughters and two sons. A born-again Christian, he helps operate the Ocala, Florida-based Honoring the Father Ministries which provides medical supplies, powdered milk and baseball equipment to the impoverished in Latin America.
A 2010 New York Times article reported that Dickey is an avid reader and that at the time, the stack of books in his locker included Life of Pi by Yann Martel and a collection of works by C. S. Lewis. Dickey has said that if he had not become a professional athlete, he would have become an English professor. Dickey named his bats for literary swords--Orcrist the Goblin Cleaver (from The Hobbit) and Hrunting (from Beowulf). Dickey mixed up Orcrist and Sting when explaining the origin of the name.
In November 2011, Dickey announced that he would risk his 2012 season salary ($4,250,000) to attempt to climb Mount Kilimanjaro; he credits this aspiration to his boyhood reading of Hemingway's The Snows of Kilimanjaro. While climbing Mt. Kilimanjaro, he set out to raise awareness of the issue of human trafficking in India. His climb was in support of an organization called "Bombay Teen Challenge" that ministers to victims of human trafficking and their children in the heart of the red-light districts. Dickey returned from this trip in January 2012 with Mets bullpen catcher Dave Racaniello and the Cleveland Indians starting pitcher Kevin Slowey, and together raised over $100,000.
His autobiography, Wherever I Wind Up: My Quest for Truth, Authenticity and the Perfect Knuckleball, written along with New York Daily News reporter Wayne Coffey, was released in 2012. In the book, Dickey reports suffering sexual abuse as an 8-year-old child by a 13-year-old female babysitter, and later by a teenage male, and discusses his struggles with suicidal thoughts as an adult. It was announced on September 2012 that Dickey made a deal with Dial Press for three books. The books will include a children’s version of his memoir, “Wherever I Wind Up: My Quest for Truth,” scheduled for next fall.
See also 
- "Major League Baseball's first-half surprises — ESPN". Sports.espn.go.com. 2010-06-30. Retrieved 2010-07-23.
- Chasing the Dream- About RA, Chasing the Dream
- Schwarz, Alan (February 27, 2008). "New Twist Keeps Dickey's Career Afloat". The New York Times.
- "Dickey Has Mets Fans' Hearts Aflutter | FanGraphs Baseball". Fangraphs.com. 2010-07-22. Retrieved 2010-07-23.
- "R.A. Dickey Statistics". Baseball-Reference.com. Retrieved 2012-12-10.
- "R.A. Dickey Named PCL Pitcher-of-the-Year.". Nashville Sounds.com. 29 August 2007. Retrieved 22 September 2007.
- "Seattle Mariners 2010 Team Transactions: Trades, DL, Free Agents and Callups — ESPN". ESPN.com. Retrieved 2010-07-23.
- "2008 Major League Baseball Starting Pitching". Baseball-Reference.com. Retrieved 2010-07-23.
- Thesier, Kelly (2008-12-24). "Dickey, Twins agree to terms". MLB.com. Retrieved 2008-12-24.
- "Mets sign Dickey, five others to minor league deals". Sports Network. seattlepi.com. January 5, 2010. Retrieved 2010-01-05.
- Lapointe, Joe (2010-08-14). "Dickey, Man of Letters, Lets Numbers Do Talking". The New York Times. Retrieved 2010-08-15.
- Belson, Ken (1990-07-15). "Dickey an Unexpected Bright Spot in Mets’ Dim Season — Bats Blog — NYTimes.com". Bats.blogs.nytimes.com. Retrieved 2010-08-20.
- "Mets Give R.A. Dickey New 2-Year Deal". 2011-01-31.
- "R.A. Dickey Career Stats". MLB.com. Retrieved June 22, 2012.
- Schoenfield, David (June 19, 2012). "R.A. Dickey on one of great rolls of all time". ESPN.com. Retrieved June 22, 2012.
- DiComo, Anthony (June 13, 2012). "One-hit wonder: Dickey brilliant in 10th win". MLB.com. Retrieved June 14, 2012.
- "Otherworldly Pitch Meets Its Jedi Master".
- "Dickey cranks up to 11 as Mets drop Bucs late". mlb.com. Retrieved 23 May 2012.
- "Dickey shuts down punchless Padres". yahoo.com. Text "Retrieved 29 May 2012" ignored (help)
- Casella, Paul (May 29, 2012). "Dickey's big week leads to NL honor". MLB.com. Retrieved May 30, 2012.
- Miller, Stephen (June 2, 2012). "No no-no, but Dickey delivers shutout effort". MLB.com. Retrieved June 14, 2012.
- DiComo, Anthony (June 7, 2012). "Dickey baffles Nats for MLB-leading ninth win". MLB.com. Retrieved June 14, 2012.
- "MLB upholds R.A. Dickey's one-hitter".
- "Mets' Dickey holds Rays to 1 hit for 10th win".
- Fitzpatrick, Mike (June 19, 2012). "Dickey Ks 13 in latest 1-hitter, Mets beat O's 5-0". Associated Press. Retrieved June 22, 2012.
- "Dickey named National League Pitcher of the Month". Mets.com. Retrieved 2 July 2012.
- "Wright belts pair of homers as Dickey wins 13th". MLB.com. Retrieved 20 July 2012.
- Asofsky, Aaron (9 August 2012). "Torres, Mets complement R.A.'s complete game". Mlb.com. Major League Baseball Advanced Media. Retrieved 9 August 2012.
- Carig, Marc (September 27, 2012). "Mets' R.A. Dickey wins 20th game of season". Newsday. Retrieved September 27, 2012.
- "R.A. Dickey Has Abdominal Surgery, Expected To Be Ready For Spring Training". CBS News New York. Retrieved 21 October 2012.
- "R.A. Dickey wins NL Cy Young". ESPN. Retrieved 15 November 2012.
- "Dickey trade set pending extension agreement". MLB.com. Retrieved 17 December 2012.
- "R.A. Dickey, Toronto reach extension". espn.com. Retrieved 18 December 2012.
- "Dickey trade to Blue Jays official". foxsports.com. Retrieved 18 December 2012.
- "Jays manager John Gibbons says Dickey will start opening night". TSN.ca. February 5, 2013. Retrieved February 5, 2013.
- "Brooks Baseball · Home of the PitchFX Tool — Player Card: R.A. Dickey". Brooks Baseball. Retrieved 31 October 2012.
- "Knuckling Under With Two Speeds: RA Dickey's Two Knuckleballs". SBNation.com. July 30, 2012. Retrieved 31 October 2012.
- Martin, Phil (24 September 2012). "Taylor". Sports Illustrated. Retrieved 25 October 2012.
- Martin, Dan (20 June 2012). New York Post http://www.nypost.com/p/sports/mets/mets_pitcher_ok_with_sharing_his_WRKZbei9ufpn75SnQvNSqK
|url=missing title (help). Retrieved 25 October 2012.
- R. A. Dickey Sports Reference
- "MLB.com Gameday | mets.com: Gameday". Newyork.mets.mlb.com. 2012-06-13. Retrieved 2012-12-10.
- 7:10 PM ET, June 18, 2012Citi Field, New York, NY (2012-06-18). "Baltimore Orioles vs. New York Mets - Recap - June 18, 2012 - ESPN". Scores.espn.go.com. Retrieved 2012-12-10.
- "R.A. Dickey leads NL Cy Young field; Justin Verlander tops AL - Cliff Corcoran - SI.com". Sportsillustrated.cnn.com. 2012-06-21. Retrieved 2012-12-10.
- "Dickey earns Rickey Award for philanthropic efforts". MLB.com. 2012-09-13. Retrieved 2012-09-13.
- "Players pick R.A. Dickey for NL's Outstanding Pitcher | MLB.com: News". Mlb.mlb.com. Retrieved 2012-12-10.
- Kennedy, Brendan (May 13, 2013). "Blue Jays’ R.A. Dickey receives honorary degree from U of T". Toronto Star. Retrieved May 16, 2013.
- Vecsey, George (September 14, 2010). "Dickey Is at Home, In Any House". The New York Times. Retrieved May 24, 2011.
- Kepner, Tyler (July 8, 2010). "Mets Knuckleballer Dickey Keeps His Fingers Crossed". The New York Times.
- Kepner, Tyler (April 30, 2011). "R.A. Dickey’s Well-Named Arsenal". The New York Times. Retrieved May 24, 2011.
- Read, Max (May 8, 2011). "The New York Times Is Very Sorry For Getting Bilbo’s Sword Wrong". Gawker. Retrieved May 24, 2011.
- Is This The Greatest NY Times Correction Of All Time? Gothamist
- "Mets Pitcher R.A. Dickey Risking $4 Million Salary To Climb Mount Kilimanjaro". November 2, 2011. Retrieved March, 28 2012.
- "Mets' knuckler Dickey reaches new heights". January 30,2012.
- DiComo, Anthony. "Dickey addresses childhood abuse in book". Mlb.com. Major League Baseball Advanced Media. Retrieved 27 March 2012.
- "Mets Ace R.A. Dickey Signs Deal To Have Three Children’s Books Published". CBS News New York. Retrieved 6 September 2012.
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to: R. A. Dickey|
- Career statistics and player information from MLB, or ESPN, or Baseball-Reference, or Fangraphs, or The Baseball Cube, or Baseball-Reference (Minors)
- R.A. Dickey on Twitter
- Alan Schwarz, "New Twist Keeps Dickey's Career Afloat" New York Times, February 27, 2008
- Minor League Splits and Situational Stats
- "Elusive Knuckleball Gives Pitcher Chance at Majors" NPR. February 28, 2008.
- R.A. the Knuckle Man by Rany Jazayerli at Grantland