Cy Young Award-Winning Knuckleball Pitcher
A starting knuckleball pitcher for the Toronto Blue Jays, R.A. Dickey is one of the unique figures in professional sports—noted for both his off-field eloquence and his on-field accomplishments. In 2012, with the New York Mets, he became the only knuckleball pitcher to win the National League Cy Young Award. But the road to glory was strewn with hazards.
In 1996, Dickey was the Texas Rangers’ No. 1 draft choice. Then, a routine physical revealed that his right elbow was missing its ulnar collateral ligament, and his lifelong dream—along with his $810,000 signing bonus—was ripped away. Yet, despite twice being consigned to baseball’s scrap heap, Dickey battled back. Now, he talks on overcoming the odds, on leadership, on life itself, with rare honesty and integrity. “That’s what’s hard about life,” he says. “Holding what’s broken about the world and all the things that you don’t understand and the mysteries therein, and holding what’s incredible and full of joy about the world. It’s holding both.”
Dickey has played with the Rangers, the Seattle Mariners, the Minnesota Twins, the Mets, and the Toronto Blue Jays. He is also the author, with Wayne Coffee, of Wherever I Wind Up, a New York Times bestselling memoir.
Wherever I Wind Up: An Evening with Cy Young Award Winner R.A. Dickey
With his bestselling memoir, Wherever I Wind Up, R.A. Dickey “set a new standard for athlete autobiographies” (Publishers Weekly). In this talk, Dickey takes you more fully into his world, and his transformation from reckless loner to life-affirming major leaguer. His story is a uniquely American one, about listening to your heart and overcoming extraordinary odds. From hearing about the diagnosis that nearly ended his career before it began, to becoming the first National League knuckleballer to win the Cy Young Award, Dickey takes audiences from small town ballparks to roaring major league stadiums. Along the way, he is sustained by his faith, his family, and a quest for self-awareness. As an English lit major, Dickey is as articulate as any athlete ever to step up to a microphone. His gripping, humble, and heartfelt talk is a testament to the wonders that perseverance and human wisdom can produce.
In particular, Dickey has great takeaways for leaders and others looking to inspire the people around them. “Being a great leader doesn’t mean being the boss,” he admits. “It doesn’t mean being the boss on the field. It doesn’t mean being the boss in the boardroom out in the business world. Being a great leader is knowing yourself so well and so intimately that you can invest in other people in order to help them realize their complete and full potential.”
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