You should follow this link to a great piece of journalism. (Its the WSJ so it might be behind a paywall, sorry). Of the major sports, baseball is really the only one that offers up stories like R. A. Dickey. The story as written though has a major religious ghost. Dickey is a Christian. The quote below and what the writer tip-toes around only resonates really deeply when you put it in the context of that faith. He once had the stuff, but the stuff wasn’t enough. Glory was elusive. It only came when he started throwing a pitch that even the pitcher doesn’t really know where it ends up. Law and gospel. Go read the story.
Robert Allen Dickey of Nashville and the New York Mets won the Cy Young Award on Wednesday. He is 38 years old. To say there are miles on his career is to reduce his life into a bad country song. This is more complicated than that. Dickey was once one of those naturals, a baseball superstar in the making, but then it all swerved, cruelly. A big contract was offered and revoked. He spent season after season stifling in the minors. Major-league stops were short and painful. Dickey worried about money, about providing for his family. Hope began to fade, in the slow and almost unconscious way that hope slips away…
But it wasn’t just that. Dickey revealed himself as a human being. With co-author Wayne Coffey he wrote a deeply honest book with an abstract title, “Wherever I Wind Up.” In it he talked about sexual abuse he’d suffered as a child, the pain he’d endured, his anguish and self-doubt and failures as a husband. This was very different from the usual jock pablum. Dickey embraced his truth, and it appeared to liberate him on the mound. He was the best reason to root for a bad team.
As his career season progressed, he was almost introspective about it, proud of the work but as bemused as anyone. When he won his 20th game, Dickey offered a quote that just hung in the air.
“I am, by no stretch of the imagination, a self-made man,” he said.