If R.A. Dickey were just an average pitcher—below average, even—he’d probably still be your favorite Met. He’s unusually well-read, penning a well-received memoir before this season (in which he talked about struggling with being sexually abused as a child) and contracting to write three more books. He’s obsessed with C. S. Lewis and fantasy literature, once naming one of his bats after a sword in Beowulf. He climbed Mount Kilimanjaro. He speaks out against human trafficking. He has a terrific beard. What’s not to love?
But as it turns out, R.A. Dickey—38 years old but still so new to Major League Baseball, a man born without the ulnar collateral ligament in his pitching elbow, a man who was the first player cut from the Mets spring-training roster just two years ago—might be the best pitcher in baseball. Dickey won the Cy Young Award this year (the first Met to do that since 19-year-old Dwight Gooden in 1985) throwing mainly just one pitch, the oft-maligned, little-understood knuckleball. Great knuckleballers of the past remarked on how no one had thrown the pitch like Dickey did this year. Dickey somehow won twenty games for a team that had only one other pitcher win more than six, and he won with style: The day he won the Cy Young, Dickey wrote an open letter in the Daily News thanking Mets fans, calling them “the best fans a player could ever dream of playing for.”
Dickey has said he wants to end his career as a Met. When’s the last time you heard that from anyone not named Wright? At press time, the Mets and Dickey were having trouble coming to terms on a contract extension. (His deal is up after this season.) We might as well appreciate Dickey while we have the chance. Nothing this great can stay in Flushing for long.