From climbing Mout Kilimanjaro to releasing a tell-all book, R.A. Dickey made a few big headlines heading into this season.
That’s nothing compared to what the New York Mets‘ knuckleballer has done since.
Dickey tallied his second-consecutive one-hitter, striking out a career-high 13 batters in the process, as the Mets beat the Baltimore Orioles 5-0 Monday. He made is mastery of the O’s look effortless, as New York needed just two hours and seven minutes to seal the victory.
Back in 2009, it looked like Dickey’s career could be over. On Jan. 5, 2010, he signed a minor league contract with the Mets that included an invitation to spring training. He spent the first month an a half of the season in the minor leagues, and has pitched like an All-Star for the Mets ever since.
This year, he has been so good that it’s not a question of if he’ll make his first All-Star Game, it’s whether or not he’ll be the starting pitcher for the National League. He certainly deserves to be at this point.
Dickey’s latest performance made him the Major League leader in wins (11), ERA (2.00), strikeouts (103) and he ranks second in WHIP (0.89). He’s been on another level this month, going 4-0 with three shutouts, a 0.00 ERA and 42 strikeouts against just four walks.
Not only has he been the best pitcher in baseball this year, but you’d be hard pressed to find a more impressive string of dominance and efficiency from any pitcher ever.
Dickey hasn’t given up a run in 42 2/3 innings, just 6 1/3 innings shy of Dwight Gooden’s team record set back in 1985. He became the first pitcher to back-to-back one-hitters since Dave Stieb of the Toronto Blue Jays accomplished the feat in 1988.
It has taken Dickey years to perfect his knuckleball, which originated as a sort of forkball that he dubbed “The Thing,” but it’s clear the 37-year-old is floating the pitch like a Jedi Master right now
His is a story of perseverance both on and off the field, as Dickey revealed in his autobiography released just before this season that he was the victim of sexual abuse as a child and has struggled with suicidal thoughts.
At this point, every Dickey start is a must-watch. The next time the maverick knuckleballer takes the hill is scheduled to be Sunday night against the New York Yankees on ESPN.