Ranting Andy - Inspiration and Perserverance
Ranting Andy - When fighting for your family's financial survival - and that of future generations - the conflict often feels insurmountable. Not just the daily battles in rigged financial markets - particularly PAPER PMs - but life in general. We all know times are tough - and getting tougher - characterized by spiraling unemployment, declining home values, and strained personal relationships. Everyone knows what I speak of, although shifting one's savings to PHYSICAL PMs relieves an incredible amount of stress. Trust me, I know of the stress, and the "PM relief" as well.
However, I'm not trying to inspire you with his pitching statistics; but instead, what he has gone through to get here. You see, R.A. Dickey is no ordinary pitcher, in that he was born without an ulnar collateral ligament in his pitching elbow. He was selected in the first round of the 1996 draft by the Texas Rangers, but when - by pure chance - they realized Dickey's "handicap," they cut his signing bonus from $810,000 to $75,000, saying he was an 'injury waiting to happen'...
R.A. Dickey - Wikipedia
Ten years later, with his career all but over due to ineffectiveness, the Rangers told him his "forkball" resembled a knuckleball, and that perhaps he should give up all he had ever known - a fastball and breaking ball - and "re-invent" himself as a knuckleballer. Only a handful of knuckleballers have survived in the Majors, as the pitch is typically too unpredictable to control. In R.A. Dickey's case, four years later he was still toiling in the minor leagues, working hard and praying he would be rewarded with one more shot.
In a last ditch effort to add cheap arms to a pathetic pitching staff, my hapless Mets purchased his contract in 2010, for essentially nothing. Lo and behold - he had a good year, prompting the Mets to sign him to another affordable contract, for the next three years. He was far from the best pitcher in the National League, but slowly but surely, started to gain CONTROL of his knuckleball.
In 2011, he had a similarly "good" year - worth every penny of the bargain basement $2.25 million he earned, a "solid #3 starter" that kept the Mets in essentially every game he pitched. But then - here's the inspirational part - something suddenly CLICKED, and BAM!, R.A. Dickey - at age 37 - has become the BEST PITCHER IN BASEBALL. In fact, not only has he MASTERED the knuckleball, but taken it to levels NEVER reached in the game's 100+ year history. He is walking less batters than ANY knuckleballer EVER, striking out more batters, and "inventing" new ways of throwing it, such as the unprecedented "rising knuckleball" that has become essentially UNHITTABLE...
Reaching the pinnacle of professional sports is a long shot for anyone, much less a child from a poverty-stricken, broken home in rural Tennessee. His father left when he was a child, his mother became an alcoholic, and he endured sexual abuse, divorce, and years of career rejection before finally finding his way -as both a player and person. I have not yet read his recently published book, but am told it is quite moving...