Matt Cain, the great Giants pitcher, threw the 22nd perfect game in baseball history last night, the first ever for a Giant. And then there is R.A. Dickey of the Mets who, but for a scorekeeper's call, may have thrown a no-hitter himself. In the first inning the Rays' B.J. Upton hit the ball to third which David Wright tried to snag bare-handed and muffed. It was scored a hit and proved to be the only hit Dickey gave up. Wright's throwing error in the ninth and a couple of passed balls by the catcher led to an unearned run, the first run Dickey has given up in 32 2/3 innings, a Met record, by the way.
Dickey is now tied for the most wins in the Majors with 10, and is near the top in virtually every pitching category. Although he throws almost 30 miles per hour slower than Justin Verlander, he is just as dominant.
Dickey, now 37 years old, is not your typical ace pitcher. After he was drafted by the Texas Rangers in 1996, was it discovered that he was missing the ulnar collateral ligament in his pitching arm. A mediocre pitcher with unconventional stuff, he developed a knuckleball, with which he finally gained some modicum of success as a Met over the last couple of years.
Even before this year Dickey endeared himself to Met fans with his intensity and his
quirkiness (he is an avid reader and keeps a stack of books in the
dugout) and by his fairly decent playing for a pretty dismal team
(winning 11 games in 2010 and pitching well last year despite an 8-13
He has also written a remarkably courageous book, Wherever I Wind Up, in which he discusses not only his baseball career and the knuckleball, but his painful and traumatic childhood during which he was sexually abused.
Over the winter, after Dickey climbed Mt. Kilimanjaro for charity (seriously) I wrote with only a little bit of irony that this would probably be the highlight of the Mets' season. (See Dickey Reaches Peak of His Game.) But not only are the Mets playing surprisingly well this year, R.A. Dickey truly is reaching new heights.