Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Standing Ovation: R.A. Dickey

One of my favorite quotes is "giving respect where respect is due." Now, I don't know exactly where that comes from or when I first heard it, but that truth definitely resonates with how I view certain people. I even wrote about giving respect that was due last fall before the 2011 World Series when the St. Louis Cardinals beat my hometown team, Texas Rangers, in 7 games. In that article, I gave some love to David Freese, who responded timely by saving the Cardinals in Game 6 and eventually winning the World Series MVP. However, this time around I want to give some respect and a standing ovation to one R.A. Dickey of the New York Mets, who became the first pitcher in 24 years to throw consecutive 1-hitters since Dave Stieb did it with the Toronto Blue Jays in 1988 (Stats LLC).

Knuckballer R.A. Dickey
Dickey is a nine-year veteran of the game, with stints with the Texas Rangers, Seattle Mariners, Minnesota Twins, and currently with the New York Mets. He's been a "mediocre" pitcher at best with a 41-50 career record and an ERA of 4.34 (excluding this season). I remember when he played for the Rangers in the early 2000s, not so much for his skill, but only because his name was R.A. Who's ever heard of someone named R.A.? Definitely not me. After a quick Wikipedia lookup, R.A. stands for "Robert Allen." Makes sense.

Nowadays, R.A. Dickey is known for more than just his name. He's known for his consecutive 1-hitters (against two teams 19 games over .500, collectively). He's known for his 11-1 record (9 consecutive wins, by the way) and a 2.00 ERA. He's known for his Mets franchise record for consecutive scoreless innings of 32 2/3 innings. He's mainly known for his knuckleball.

Now here's some things that the average sports fan might not know. He's on pace to win the Triple Crown for pitchers (wins, ERA, and strikeouts). 11 wins. 2.00 ERA. 103 strikeouts. He learned his bread-and-butter knuckleball halfway through his career (before the start of the 2006 season with the Texas Rangers). And how did he fare that year? He gave up 6 home runs in 3 1/2 innings in his first and only start of the season. It was ultimately his last start as a Ranger, as he was demoted to the minors shortly after. Lastly, Dickey risked his entire 2012 salary ($4.25M) to attempt to climb Mount Kilimanjaro to raise awareness and money for an organization called "Bombay Teen Challenge," which ministers to victims of human trafficking. And of course, he made it. You can follow his journey in his blog.

Atop Mt. Kilimanjaro
So, Mr. Robert Allen Dickey, I tip my hat to you and give you a standing ovation. For all that you have been through and all the great things you are doing (and will do), I give you my utmost respect. Good luck the rest of the season -- go get that Cy Young.

Photos courtesy of sportsillustrated.com & nytimes.com


Clearly Leu is out to get his T-shirt! R.A. Dickey is like Fine Wine! That Knuckle ball only gets better with age!

best post of gcas of the year!!!! LET's GO METS!

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