November 15, 2012

R.A. Dickey First Knuckleballer to Win Cy Young: New York Mets pitcher R.A. Dickey, who went 20-6 with a 2.73 ERA, has become the first knuckleballer to win the Cy Young. The 37-year-old is a remarkable success story. In 1996, Dickey was a hard-throwing first-round draft pick of the Texas Rangers about to sign a $800,000 contract when a team doctor saw Dickey on a Baseball America cover and thought he was holding his arm awkwardly. A physical revealed that his arm lacked a ulnar collateral ligament (UCL). He signed for one-tenth that amount and was expected to have a short career due to arm trouble. "Imagine winning the lottery and then losing the ticket," Dickey said. He stuck around by throwing a forkball he called "the thing" that eventually morphed into a knuckler. "To surrender to being a new person and a new pitcher is tough. You kind of feel like the leper of the colony, a circus act."

posted by rcade to baseball at 09:24 AM - 5 comments

Congrats to R.A., dude was a straight beast with that knuckler and deserved to win the Cy Young.

posted by BornIcon at 02:29 PM on November 15, 2012

It takes an odd bird to be able to throw a knuckleball with confidence at a Major League hitter. Dickey could pitch another five years or more with that junk. Tim Wakefield was 44 in his final season.

posted by rcade at 04:46 PM on November 15, 2012

I'm pretty happy about this; it's a good story, he deserves it, and it's nice to see the tradition of the knuckleball is continuing with Wakefield leaving the sport (wish he'd gotten that 200th win, but oh well).

I think the soft spot a lot of us have for the knuckleball is that- in theory- it's something any of us could do. I mean, not many people even have the bones and ligaments to throw even 90mph without their elbow exploding into calcium shrapnel, and we flail helplessly at even 80mph batting cage pitches. But throwing 65-70mph? Shit, even some 40 something fan in the stands could theoretically discover one day he has a gift for throwing the knuckleball, and end up a major league player winning 20 games.

posted by hincandenza at 04:15 AM on November 16, 2012

Very happy to see that Dickey won the Cy Young. But he shouldn't have been the first knuckleball pitcher to win it.

I still feel bad for knuckler Wilbur Wood, who did not win the award in '72, even though he led the league in wins, shutouts, games started, and innings pitched.

He was also an All-Star that year, and won the Pitcher of the Year award from The Sporting News.

It was not a fluke year for him by any means, as he led in those categories and was on the All-Star team multiple times.

Interesting that the 1972 Cy Young voters chose to ignore Wood's achievements and bestowed the award instead on the renowned ball doctor Gaylord Perry. Who had a good year in his own gelatinous way.

posted by beaverboard at 12:01 PM on November 16, 2012

LOL, Beaverboard!

But as @gruber would say, Dickey will look good in pinstripes. At least I hope so, if only to cut down on my mom's complaints about the Yankees' total crap rotation after Sabathia.

posted by billsaysthis at 12:27 PM on November 16, 2012

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