The Curious Life of R.A. Dickey

Yesterday, the New York Mets pitcher R.A. Dickey became the first major leaguer player in 24 years to throw consecutive one-hitters. But it’s his life story that is worth considering. The following nuggets are taken from Wikipedia…

On his ability to throw, when he shouldn’t be able to:

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. The Rangers subsequently did further evaluation of Dickey, leading to the discovery of a missing ulnar collateral ligament of 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.

On tying the record of most wild pitches in an inning, 4:

On August 17, 2008, Dickey tied the record for most wild pitches in an inning, with 4. This came against the Minnesota Twins in the 5th inning. He joins four others including Hall of Famers Walter Johnson and Phil Niekro among others who have accomplished this feat.

On being a studious reader:

One of his favorite hobbies is reading. He keeps a stack of books in his locker at all times, including a Life of Pi by Yann Martel and a collection of works by C. S. Lewis.

If Dickey wasn’t a baseball player, he wanted to be an English professor. Finally, this is the best part, perhaps. He has named his bats for literary swords:

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. This led to what is known to some as the BEST NEW YORK TIMES CORRECTION ever.

Finally, on Dickey being an inspiration to others:

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 redlight 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.