The New York Mets’ R.A. Dickey is defying the odds with a rarely used pitch.
With a 10-game winning streak under his belt, Dickey – the only knuckleballer in Major League Baseball right now – is experiencing a dream season.
“I’m just trying to be in the moment with it as much as possible,” said Dickey, who will play in his first All-Star Game next week.
Just last month, he threw two consecutive one-hitters, but it has been a long journey for the husband and father.
In his new book, “Whenever I Wind Up: My Quest for Truth, Authenticity and the Perfect Knuckleball,” Dickey revealed that he was abused repeatedly as a young boy.
He kept the abuse a secret, even from his wife, Anne, whom he met in the seventh grade.
She was by his side when he signed a Major League Baseball contract for nearly $1 million. And she was there when the results of an MRI showed that he was missing a ligament in his arm. The contract was later rescinded.
When the Texas Rangers reduced the bonus to $75,000, Dickey took it, determined to prove he was worth every cent and more.
In Dickey’s career – in which he has pitched for the Mets, the Rangers, the Milwaukee Brewers, Seattle Mariners and Minnesota Twins – the family moved more than 30 times.
In between major league teams, Dickey threw in the minors.
In 2005, Dickey started throwing the knuckleball. That pitch, which he has perfected, has made him the most-talked-about pitcher in the league these days.
Knuckleballs hardly spin. They rotate only up to 1.5 times before they reach home plate and that makes their motion unpredictable.
Dickey shared a bit of his technique, though, with ABC News.
“I take my fingernails and dig them in right behind the horseshoe, really trying to stabilize the baseball with [the fingers and] the thumb,” he said. “I release the ball at the opportune moment and it comes without spin.”
Dickey, who will be featured in a film documentary called “Knuckleball,” due out in September, said that even as a young boy he had a big imagination.
“I always had hope,” he said.
“Knuckleball” will be available for pre-order on iTunes during the All-Star Game.