17. Because the Best Story in Baseball Is Somehow a Met.

Photo: Kathy Willens/AP Photo

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.

17. Because the Best Story in Baseball Is Somehow […]