Dickey caps unforgettable year with Cy Young

Wed Nov 14, 2012 11:13pm EST
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By Larry Fine

NEW YORK (Reuters) - R.A. Dickey began 2012 with a climb to the summit of Mt. Kilimanjaro and ended his greatest baseball season by reaching the top of his profession by winning the National League Cy Young Award on Wednesday.

Dickey, in the 10th year of a Major League Baseball career that has produced a 41-50 record, used his baffling knuckleball to post a 20-6 mark with a 2.73 earned run average for the New York Mets, leading the league with 233.2 innings and 230 strikeouts.

The 38-year-old from Tennessee became the first knuckleballer to win a Cy Young Award and the first Mets pitcher to win it since Doc Gooden in 1985.

"This brings a degree of legitimacy to the knuckleball fraternity, and I'm glad to represent them and I'm grateful to all those guys," said Dickey, who singled out Phil Niekro, Tim Wakefield and Charlie Hough for their help and support.

"It's a victory for all of us."

Three years ago, Dickey was an overlooked free agent, who came to the Mets and was among their first Spring Training cuts but given a chance to refine his knuckler at Triple A Buffalo.

The knuckleball has been used by a handful of pitchers over the decades able to project a mystifying delivery that is pushed from the hand in its delivery in order to impart as little spin as possible, enabling it to move unpredictably through the air.

A rarity among knuckleballers, Dickey is able to vary the speed of his pitch, tossing the customarily slow version at around 60 miles per hour, but able to deliver it up to a brisk 80 mph to give hitters even more to disrupt their timing.   Continued...