Thursday, November 15, 2012

David Price & R.A. Dickey — Former No. 1 Draft Picks, Tennessee Natives, Two Different Paths to Cy Young Awards

American League 2012 Cy Young Winner: David Price & National League 2012 Cy Young Winner – R.A. Dickey 

David Price | #14 | P | Tampa Bay Rays

W-L   ERA   K      BB 
20-5   2.56   205   59

The Baseball Writers' Association of America named Tampa Bay Rays' 27-yr-old left-handed ace David Price the 2012 American League Cy Young Winner. He led the AL in ERA (2.56) and finished tied for the league lead (20 wins), finishing 20-5 including 205 strike-outs in 211 innings pitched. 

The sky's the limit for the Tennessee native — after being selected the first overall pick in the 2007 Major League Baseball Draft by the Rays, Price became this first 20-win pitcher in franchise history. Appearing in his third consecutive All-Star team, the humble superstar pitcher continues to add to his legacy.

[Note: Price has dates sewn into his glove — marking the dates two of his closest high school friends passed away.]

Ironically, Dickey & Price are both Tennessee natives but traveled down completely different paths to their Cy Young's

R.A. Dickey | #43 | P | New York Mets

W-L   ERA   K      BB 
20-6   2.73   230   54

R.A. Dickey was named the National League 2012 Cy Young Winner by the Baseball Writers' Association of America. However, the 38-year-old righty (who is also from Tennessee and a former No. 1 draft choice -himself), was on the downside — in the 10th year of his MLB career, compiling a losing 41-50 record. But Dickey gave it one last try — studied the Art of the Knuckleball and used it to post a 20-6 mark with a 2.73 earned run average for the New York Mets, leading the league with 233.2 innings and 230 strikeouts.

Dickey caps his unforgettable season by becoming the very first knuckleballer to win a Cy Young Award and the first Mets pitcher to win it since Doc Gooden in 1985. His "feel-good" story to the top of the pitching mountain is slightly different from his AL counterpart:

"Dickey, who is missing a ligament in his elbow, was one of the best stories of the season. He is 38 years old and was almost out of baseball in the spring of 2010 because his stuff wasn’t good enough. Dickey was on the verge of going back to college to earn his English degree and become a high school teacher. But the knuckleball saved him and more than two years after Dickey contemplated quitting the game, he was named his league’s best pitcher.
R.A. Dickey (1997 No. 1 draft pick - Texas Rangers) showcasing the pitching grip that the saved his baseball career 

It was also revealed this year in Dickey’s autobiography, Wherever I end up: My quest for Truth, Authenticity and the Perfect Knuckleball, that he was sexually abused as a child and that he contemplated suicide in his early 30s.

Dickey’s entire career arc makes this achievement that much more impressive. He was an easy guy to root for, and his on-field success made him a breakout star in 2012." — Sporting News by Anthony Witrado

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