37 year old Mets right-hander and knuckleball pitcher R.A. Dickey won his 20th game of the season this past week. Dickey becomes the first Mets pitcher since Frank Viola in 1990 to win 20 games in a single season.
Dickey was drafted by the Texas Rangers in 1996 out of the University of Tennessee and made his debut with the team in 2001. Dickey was initially offered a signing bonus of $810,000, before a Rangers team physician saw Dickey’s throwing (right) arm hanging oddly in a picture. The Rangers subsequently did further evaluation of Dickey, leading to the discovery of a missing ulnar collateral ligament of elbow joint, and reduced their offer to $75,000. In 2008 he had a minor and limited stint in Milwaukee with the brewers. Dickey became a free agent in 2009 and signed with the Seattle Mariners who then traded him to the Minnesota Twins on a year later.
In 2010, the Mets singed Dickey to a one year deal and sent him to the minors. He made his debut on May 19 against the Washington Nationals receiving a no decision. In 2010, Dickey posted career highs in Games Started (26), wins (11), complete games (2), innings pitched (174.1), strikeouts (104), ERA (2.84), WHIP (1.19), and BAA (.252). The Mets resigned Dickey a 2 year contract the following offseason worth $7 million. 2011 was another solid year for Dickey that saw him post career bests in game starts (32); innings pitched (208.2) and strikeouts (134). He finished the year with a record of only 8–13, despite an impressive 3.28 ERA that was 12th best in the National League.
In 2012, the Mets got off to a hot start on the back of R.A dickey and carried it all the way to the All-Star break. Mid way through the first half, Dickey set a new Mets franchise record of 32.2 consecutive scoreless innings, besting Jerry Koosman’s 31.2 in 1973. On June 24, 2012, Dickey’s streak of consecutive scoreless innings without an earned run came to an end at home in a game against the New York Yankees. Dickeys magnificent first half performance got him his first career All-star selection. On August 9, Dickey tossed his NL-best fourth complete game of the season and allowed just one run while striking out 10 for his sixth double-digit strikeout game of the year. On August 31, Dickey achieved his 17th win of the season by pitching a five-hit complete game shutout, the third of his year. On September 27, 2012, the Mets final home game of the season, Dickey won his 20th game of the season against the Pittsburgh Pirates.