The ordinary baseball fan who watches New York Mets pitcher R.A. Dickey on television and follows him on Twitter might believe him to be an odd and quirky character. He's witty, out of the box and throws a knuckleball.
Memoirs about athletes are always subject to scrutiny and backlash, something Dickey told the Daily News he isn't worried about. I hope that on some level that people will respect my honesty, and I would like to believe they will. (Photo: Amazon)
But the memoir Wherever I Wind Up: My Quest for Truth, Authenticity and the Perfect Knuckleball, written by Dickey and the New York Daily News' Wayne Coffey, may reveal a darker, more glaring side of Dickey that any baseball fan, let alone Mets fans, didn't expect. It is excerpted in this week's edition of Sports Illustrated and will appear in the Daily News and hit store shelves on Thursday.
In the memoir, Dickey reveals memories such as closing down Nashville barrooms with his mother at age five, being sexually abused as an 8-year-old growing up in Tennessee by a female babysitter, sleeping in abandoned houses as a teenager and how he turned to sports to mitigate the pain of the sexual abuse. He also chronicles his 14-year journey through the minor leagues and his late conversion to the knuckleball and reveals cheating on his wife and contemplating suicide.
I have spent so much of my life running and hiding, and I wasn't going to continue doing that in the book, said Dickey. What would be the point in doing that -- perpetuating untruth? It was important to me to tell the truth, to be completely authentic. Sharing the pain I went through is part of the healing for me, a catharsis in many ways.
Despite the book's dark nature, Dickey still believes it is actually upbeat in tone.
It is basically saying that even though life is painful and we all have our struggles, with strength and faith and honesty and love, we can get through the abyss, and find joy and meaning on the other side, he said.
Dickey also said that he doesn't point any fingers, a motif that seems to pervade some past memoirs of other athletes, albeit implicitly.
The only one I throw under the bus in the book is me, he said. Seriously, this book is a memoir, a deeply personal narrative about my life. I love baseball, I love competing and I think there's a lot of good baseball insight in the book, but the most important thing to me was to tell the truth and to share my story, because it strengthens me and I think it can help other people, too.