Blue Jays' R.A. Dickey took hard road to the top

You can file R.A. Dickey's rise from journeyman pitcher to Cy Young-winning knuckleballer under the...

You can file R.A. Dickey's rise from journeyman pitcher to Cy Young-winning knuckleballer under the heading of feel-good story -- especially for the Blue Jays. (Reuters)

BOB ELLIOTT, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 12:14 AM ET

TORONTO - He had thrown floaters playing catch down the right-field line while getting loose before games.

He had worked on the pitch in the bullpen.

He had orders from Texas Rangers manager Buck Showalter to use it in a game, for at the time he had a 6.09 ERA.

And it was time to begin his new life with a pitch that would either extend his career or take him into retirement.

R.A. Dickey took the mound for the first time as a full-time knuckleballer on Sunday, July 24, 2005 for the triple-A Oklahoma RedHawks against the Iowa Cubs.

“The first one was rough,” said Lee Tunnell, Dickey’s pitching coach that day, from Oklahoma City on Tuesday. “He was behind in the count a lot.” 

Playing catch in the outfield is one thing — it’s why legend has it Mickey Mantle, not Hall of Famers Hoyt Wilhelm or Phil Niekro, had the best knuckleball ever.


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