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R.A. Dickey

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R.A. Dickey photo

R.A. Dickey pitches for the New York Mets on July 5, 2012.

Jim McIsaac/Getty Images
Updated December 19, 2012

Vital Statistics:

Born: Oct. 29, 1974

Hometown: Nashville, Tenn.

Height: 6-2

Weight: 215 pounds

Bats: Right

Throws: Right

Family: Wife, Anne; four children (two daughters, two sons)

Primary position: Starting pitcher

Before the bigs:

  • In his book, "Wherever I Wind Up: My Quest for Truth, Authenticity and the Perfect Knuckleball," Dickey said he was sexually abused beginning at age 8 by a babysitter.
  • Was a high school quarterback and pitcher for Montgomery Bell Academy in Nashville. Went 15-3 as a senior with 218 strikeouts and his team won a state title.
  • Selected in the 10th round of the draft by the Detroit Tigers, but opted to accept a scholarship with the University of Tennessee, where he was a teammate of Todd Helton.
  • Won 15 games in a row as a freshman at Tennessee and was named a first-team All-American. Went 14-4 as a sophomore and helped lead the Vols to the College World Series, and went 9-4 with three saves as a junior. Was also an Academic All-American, majoring in English literature.
  • Picked in the first round of the 1996 draft by the Texas Rangers with the No. 18 overall selection. Pitched for the U.S. national team in the 1996 Olympics, winning both of his starts for a team that won the bronze medal.

In the minors:

  • Discovering an issue with his elbow -- he was born without an ulnar collateral ligament -- the Rangers lowered their bonus offer and he signed for a below-market-value $75,000.
  • Progressed slowly through the Rangers' minor-league system, going 1-4 with a 6.94 ERA in his first season at Single-A Charlotte and moving to the bullpen as a closer in his second, saving 38 games.
  • Went 6-7 at Double-A Tulsa in 1999, splitting time between the rotation and bullpen before moving up for six appearances at Triple-A Oklahoma.
  • After an 8-9 season in Triple-A in 2000, he earned a brief call-up in 2001 and went 0-1 in four relief appearances with the Rangers, yet spent most of the season in Triple-A, going 11-7 with a 3.75 ERA. Spent all of the 2002 season with Oklahoma City, going 8-7 with a 4.09 ERA.

Career Highlights:

  • Made the Rangers' bullpen in 2003 and moved into the rotation in midseason, going 9-8 with a 5.09 ERA in 116 2/3 innings.
  • Started 4-1 in 2004, but finished 6-7 with a 5.61 ERA, moving back to the bullpen.
  • He was demoted back to the minors in 2005 and went 10-6 for Oklahoma, and spent most of 2006 there as well. With a below-average fastball and curveball and a forkball that was thrown with a knuckleball-like grip, he'd seemingly reached his ceiling. He started becoming a knuckleball pitcher full-time in Triple-A in 2005.
  • Let go by the Rangers, he pitched for the Brewers in Triple-A where he was a teammate of Ryan Braun at Nashville in 2007 and won 14 games. Signed with the Minnesota Twins, and then was picked in the Rule 5 draft with the Seattle Mariners.
  • Getting back to the majors with Seattle, he went 5-8 with a 5.21 ERA in 2008 as a knuckleballer, not much better than he was in his stints with the Rangers. Threw four wild pitches in one inning, tying a major league record, on Aug. 17, 2008.
  • Not re-signed in Seattle, he was a reliever with the Twins and bounced back and forth between Triple-A and the majors in 2009.
  • Signed a minor-league deal with the New York Mets at age 35, and something finally clicked with the knuckleball. Started the 2010 season in Triple-A Buffalo, and went 4-2 with a 2.23 ERA in eight starts. Called up and won a career-best 11 games, going 11-9 with a 2.84 ERA. The ERA was the seventh-best in the NL.
  • Threw a complete-game one-hitter against the Philadelphia Phillies on Aug. 13, 2010.
  • Agreed to a two-year contract with the Mets before the 2011 season for $7.5 million, with a $5 million option for 2013.
  • Started 32 games with the Mets and went 8-13 with a 3.28 ERA in 2011.
  • It all came together in 2012. Threw 32 2/3 consecutive scoreless innings at one point and threw consecutive one-hitters in June 2012, becoming the first do do that in the National League since 1944. Made his first All-Star team.
  • Became the Mets' first 20-game winner since Frank Viola in 1990, finishing 20-6 with a 2.73 ERA and a league-best 230 strikeouts in 233 2/3 innings.
  • Won the NL Cy Young award, the first knuckleball pitcher to win the award and the third Mets pitcher to win it.
  • Traded to the Toronto Blue Jays in December 2012 with Josh Thole in exchange for three prospects and catcher John Buck. Agreed to a two-year, $25 million extension with the Blue Jays.

Off the field:

  • Climbed Mount Kilimanjaro after the 2011 season to raise awareness of the human trafficking issue in India.
  • Wrote his autobiography with New York Daily News reporter Wayne Coffey, which was released in 2012.
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