R.A. Dickey — the Tolkien-loving, Kilimanjaro-climbing Mets knuckleballer — has written a memoir, and in it, he reveals that he was sexually abused as a child on several occasions by a female babysitter, and once by a 17-year-old boy. He also writes that he contemplated suicide after having an affair in the winter of 2005–06, though he says he never made an actual suicide attempt.
In an excerpt from Wherever I Wind Up, published by Sports Illustrated, Dickey discusses the first time he was abused, at age 8:
The babysitter chucks the pillows and stuffed animals out of the way. She looks at me and says, Get in the bed.
I am confused and afraid. I am trembling.
The babysitter has her way with me four or five more times that summer, and into the fall, and each time feels more wicked than the time before. Every time that I know I'm going back over there, the sweat starts to come back. I sit in the front seat of the car, next to my mother, anxiety surging. I never tell her why I am so afraid. I never tell anyone until I am 31 years old.
The book was written with Daily News writer Wayne Coffey, and that paper today has an article describing other details of the book, including his thoughts of suicide.
Dickey, who dedicates the book to his wife and their four children, writes about how the abuse made him terrified of intimacy, of truly trusting any other human being. He writes movingly about how Anne's love and faith and forgiveness sustained him through another crisis in his life, when he had an affair — a trangression he explores with deep remorse, one that had him mulling how he might end his life during the winter of 2005-2006.
“I betrayed my wife and there are not words that can adequately convey the guilt I felt for hurting the person who has given me so much love, who I share my life with,” says Dickey, who never went through with any actual suicide attempts.
The SI excerpt also includes a passage about the time Dickey found a syringe in the Texas Rangers locker room in 2001, as well as his account of the 2005 meeting Buck Showalter, Orel Hershiser, and Rangers pitching coach Mark Connor, in which they suggested he become a full-time knuckleballer.
Wherever I Wind Up will be released on Thursday.