R.A. Dickey, a 38-year-old knuckleballer for the Mets, found a fitting epilogue to his storybook season Wednesday night, when he was named winner of the 2012 National League Cy Young Award.
Dickey earned 27 of 32 first-place votes, finishing ahead of Clayton Kershaw of the Los Angeles Dodgers and Gio Gonzalez of the Washington Nationals. The awards are voted on every year by members of the Baseball Writers’ Association of America.
David Price of the Tampa Bay Rays edged out the Detroit Tigers’ Justin Verlander to win the Cy Young Award in the American League.
Dickey enchanted baseball fans this season, harnessing the unruly power of his knuckleball to devastating ends. He was 20-6, becoming the Mets’ first 20-game winner since Frank Viola in 1990, and led the league in innings pitched (233 2/3), strikeouts (230), complete games (5) and shutouts (3). He finished with the lowest earned run average of his 10-year career (2.73) and was named to the All-Star team for the first time.It was a stunning transformation for the former journeyman, who learned the quirky knuckleball as a last-ditch effort to save his wilting career, and it played out with introspective narration each step of the way.
“Growing up, you just want to compete, and then once you have the weaponry to compete, you want to be really good, and then when you’re really good, you want to be supernaturally good,” Dickey said after winning his 20th game in September. “For me, there’s been this steady metamorphosis from just surviving, to being a craftsman, and then, ultimately, the hope is to be an artist in what you do. This year is kind of representative of that for me.”
Dickey’s accomplishments were more impressive considering the overall struggles of the Mets, who finished 74-88 last season. Dickey will enter the final year of his Mets contract, and he and the team have been involved in negotiations this month for a long-term contract extension. There remains the possibility that Dickey could be traded for several prospects in a rebuilding effort – though such a move could anger fans who saw Dickey as one of the team’s few bright spots.
Dickey is the third Mets pitcher to win the award. Tom Seaver won the award three times – in 1969, 1973 and 1975 – and Dwight Gooden won it in 1985. Dickey is the first knuckleball pitcher to win the award.
“Who doesn’t want a Cy Young Award?” Dickey said after his start this season. “What kid didn’t grow up wanting to be the best? I’m no different. I want to be the best. I’ve always wanted to be the best.”
For one year, he can claim to be just that.
Source: The NY Times