R.A. Dickey was a failed first-round pick by the Rangers when he signed a minor league deal with the Mets in 2010.
Two years later, the right-hander became just the third Met — and first knuckleballer — to win the National League Cy Young Award.
“This is a victory for everyone who threw the pitch,” Dickey said of the award after he beat out Clayton Kershaw to join Tom Seaver and Dwight Gooden as the only Mets to capture the award.
And while Jacob deGrom has since joined that list, few could say they took a more unlikely journey to get there than Dickey.
His 2012 season was the culmination of an incredible career rebirth for Dickey, then 38. He led the NL with 230 strikeouts, five complete games, three shutouts and 233 2/3 innings.
Dickey’s 20 wins were one short of Washington’s Gio Gonzalez, who finished in third place, and Dickey’s 2.73 ERA was second to Kershaw’s 2.53.
The highlight of Dickey’s 2012 campaign was a 44 2/3-inning scoreless streak that spanned from May 22 through June 24. The Mets won 14 of his 17 first-half starts, earning Dickey his first All-Star Game appearance.
“I’ve never seen anything like this,’’ Mets manager Terry Collins said during the stretch. “Never. I’ve seen some dominant pitching, but nothing like what he’s going through right now.’’
The season also turned out to be Dickey’s final one with the Mets. The team picked up a $5 million option following the regular season, but they couldn’t agree on an extension.
“Hopefully we can work something out where I can stay here and I wouldn’t mind finishing my career here,” Dickey said after winning the award. “I want to be loyal to the organization that has given me a real opportunity. That being said, you never want to be taken advantage of, either. I’ve been on that side of the coin as a player, as well. Hopefully we’ll be able to reach some mutually beneficial agreement.”
General manager Sandy Alderson, knowing the team needed to replenish its roster, traded Dickey to Toronto in exchange for Noah Syndergaard and Travis d’Arnaud as part of a seven-player deal. Dickey went on to have four solid seasons with the Blue Jays before finishing his career with Atlanta in 2017.
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