Jump to content

Providing independent coverage of the Minnesota Twins.
Subscribe to Twins Daily Email

The Forums

It's Never Too Early for Magic Number

Minnesota Twins Talk Today, 04:27 PM
Just a little Spreadsheet fun for those interested in knowing how many wins/losses the Twins need to clinch a playoff spot  ...
Full topic ›

Game Thread: Twins @ Tigers 9-24 11:10 AM CT

Minnesota Twins Talk Today, 04:25 PM
ANNND Welcome back! To Minnesota Twins Whine Line: Cocktail Lounge Edition! I am your waiter for the afternoon, Van Benoit. The Twins are...
Full topic ›

Article: Charting A Twins Playoff Rotation

Minnesota Twins Talk Today, 04:13 PM
What once seemed unthinkable is now a crystallizing reality: The Twins are in all likelihood headed toward a one-game Wild Card showdown...
Full topic ›

Article: Escobar Steps Up

Minnesota Twins Talk Today, 04:12 PM
The Twins won on Friday night in Detroit. Later in the night, Angels and the Rangers lost, so the Twins have a 3 1/2 game lead on the 2nd...
Full topic ›

Scoreboard Watching

Other Baseball Today, 04:06 PM
We haven't done much September scoreboard watching around here the past few years, but we are in that mode now.Last night was a great nig...
Full topic ›

R.A. - The One That Got Away

Attached Image: dickey.jpg On Thursday afternoon, R.A. Dickey tossed 7 1/3 innings of shutout ball for the Mets in a win over the first-place Nationals. The victory moved the knuckleballer's record to 9-1 on the year and lowered his ERA to 2.44. Holding opponents to a .225 average and sporting a dazzling 78-to-14 strikeout-to-walk ratio in 81 innings, Dickey has to be considered a Cy Young front-runner in the National League, and he might start the All-Star Game.

This is the best we've ever seen from the 37-year-old right-hander, but his effectiveness is nothing new. During his first two seasons with the Mets after joining up in 2010, he posted a 3.08 ERA over 383 innings. This after spending most of the first 14 years of his career struggling to stay in the majors. That included a stop in Minnesota – his last stop before turning into a steady rotation anchor for the Mets.
[PRBREAK][/PRBREAK]
Dickey is one of the most fascinating stories in today's game, for various reasons. He's a born-again Christian and philanthropist. He doesn't have an ulnar collateral ligament (UCL) in his throwing elbow, yet still managed to be come a first-round draft pick in 1996. He recently climbed Mt. Kiliminjaro, along with his friend (and local media punching bag) Kevin Slowey. He also recently published a book in which he bravely details, among other things, his battle to overcome sexual abuse as a child.

As a human interest story subject, you won't find many better. And the tale of Dickey's baseball career holds plenty of intrigue too.

After failing to find much success as a conventional starter in his first decade as a pro, he became a full-time knuckleballer in 2006 with the Rangers. The process of completely overhauling his style as a pitcher, and learning to master a pitch that few in the sport's history have been able to effectively harness, was slow and fraught with turbulence. In his first start for Texas in '06, he gave up six home runs.

The Rangers quickly bailed on the experiment, but clearly there were plenty of clubs that saw something in Dickey. He went through stints in the Milwaukee and Seattle organizations before latching on with the Twins in 2009.

Pitching coach Rick Anderson spoke excitedly about the acquisition that year:

"You know what's neat about him? He's a knuckleballer, but he's got enough fastball to get people out, or use when he's behind in the count. He threw a changeup to strike a guy out the other night. He has weapons."


These are all attributes that have helped Dickey become a force in the Mets rotation, and the Twins deserve credit for recognizing them at the time.

They also may deserve criticism for failing to move him along. Was it a bad coaching approach that kept the righty from turning the corner in Minnesota? Was it the decision to use him almost exclusively as a reliever rather than have him start? Or should the Twins have simply been more patient and given him additional time to harness the knuckler and refine his command, instead of dropping him after one forgettable season?

I'm not sure there are any lessons to be taken from this situation. Dickey is a unique case. And while it's unfortunate that he couldn't find this success with the Twins, he's still a fun guy to root for, and along with his co-ace Johan Santana he makes it easy for fans in Minnesota to get behind the underdog Mets in the NL East.


  • Share:
  • submit to reddit
Subscribe to Twins Daily Email

Subscribe to Twins Daily Email

0 Comments