Tom Seaver did it three times. Dwight Gooden did it once. Who would be the third Mets pitcher in the history of the franchise to win the Cy Young award?
Would it be David Cone who won 20 games for the Mets in 1988? No, he didn’t do it. What about Frank Viola in 1990, the next to last Mets pitcher to win 20 games? No, not him either. Certainly it had to be one of the Generation K pitchers, Bill Pulsipher, Paul Wilson, or Jason Isringhausen? No, none of them panned out with the Mets although Isringhausen carved out a nice career in the bullpen in Oakland and St. Louis.
What about Al Leiter or Mike Hampton? No way. Leiter was one of the gutsiest pitchers to ever wear the blue and orange but he was never Cy Young material. Hampton pitched great in 2000, getting the Mets to their last world series but no, he did not win one either.
Tom Glavine pitched very well for bad Mets teams even though they were in the playoffs once with the former Braves hurler. How about him? Nope, he never go the Cy Young either. Surely Johan Santana must have done it? Well, Johan solidified his place all time in Mets lore by pitching the first no-hitter in team history last June 1st but no Cy Younger for him either. The third Cy Young pitcher in Mets history goes to none other than…
R. A. Dickey! R.A. Dickey? Who?
It is truly one of the great stories in Mets history. Last evening, the coveted Cy Young award in the National League was delivered to none other than R.A Dickey and he deserved every bit of it.
Purely from a baseball perspective, Dickey deserved the award and he won it handily getting 27 first place votes. Not even close. But Dickey deserved the award for his incredible story too. Not that any of that counts as far as the voting is concerned but here is a person who worked so hard to re-image himself through adversity and make it as a major league pitcher. Plus he toiled brilliantly for an absolutely terrible team, at least they were terrible the second half of the season.
Of course the story is old now. Dickey had to learn the knuckle ball because of arm trouble early on. It was the only way he could survive in professional baseball. Omar Minaya, the former Mets GM, the GM I love to bash, gave Dickey a chance. And it paid off. He was cut from the major league roster in spring training of 2010 and went to Buffalo to work on his stuff with Josh Thole working behind the plate. The rest is history. Dickey got his chance, pitched better and better, then came the magical year of 2012.
He won 20 games, the first to do so since the aforementioned Viola 22 years ago. He led the league in strikeouts, was second in ERA, first in innings pitched and games started and third in WHIP. Dickey was first with five complete games. That’s two more than only two other pitchers in the NL who had three. He also led the league with three shutouts, two being back to back.
Dickey was truly remarkable on a very bad team. Plus he’s a great guy who is down to earth, intellectual, sentimental, and totally deserving of all the nice things every commentator is saying and every writer is writing. His story is right out of Hollywood and I would not be surprised to see his tale on the big screen in the not too distant future.
Ironically, because of the Mets current situation, its possible Dickey could be in another uniform come opening day. I hope that isn’t the case but the Mets need to shake things up after four miserable losing seasons. Ultimately it comes down to fielding a winning team. If it means trading Dickey to get pieces that can help the Mets win and sustain that winning for a time, you can be sure Cy Young or no Cy Young, Dickey will be moved. I hope that Sandy Alderson can figure out a way to get the Mets where they need to go with Dickey in the mix but I am also tired of the losing and will defer to the GM.
Never the less, Dickey gave us Mets fans something to truly cheer about this season and make us proud. For that–congratulations R.A and best of luck where every your journey continues to take you.