I loved this interview with Mets pitcher R.A. Dickey about his new memoir, Wherever I Wind Up. Dickey has survived an incredible life – a dismal family life, sexual abuse, and a depressing tour through the minor leagues – and he’s fascinating to listen to. His story about surviving a near death experience inspired me because it changed his entire outlook in life and propelled him to succeed professionally. He talks about the challenges of learning to throw a knuckleball, how it impacts his catchers and why umpires might give him the benefit of the doubt when calling strikes. Dickey is currently the only professional knuckleball pitcher in the major leagues, and he hopes that others will follow in his footsteps. That’s the great baseball nerd stuff… the life stuff is even more interesting.
For Dickey, learning to throw this tricky pitch was a survival choice, the difference between a baseball career and the end of his dreams. He’s had a lot of practice with survival, starting with a childhood that included abandonment by his father, neglect by his alcoholic mother, molestation from a female babysitter, and rape by a teenage male. In our tough guy culture, few men talk openly about their struggles and their experience seeking therapy but Dickey’s conversation with Dave Davies sounded engaging and honest.
Dickey credits therapy for making him a better human being and living more authentically, thus improving his professional performance as well.
I can’t wait to read this book.