PORT ST. LUCIE, Fla. (WFAN/AP) — Mets knuckleballer R.A. Dickey opens up in a revealing new memoir, and he’s prepared for whatever comes next.
In “Wherever I Wind Up: My Quest for Truth, Authenticity and the Perfect Knuckleball,” Dickey writes about being sexually abused by a female babysitter multiple times when he was 8 years old, and also by a 17-year-old male on another occasion. He talks about contemplating suicide six years ago, and finding a syringe in a clubhouse bathroom when he was the Texas Rangers in 2001.
“Anytime you put yourself out there and you are transparent with what happened to you, you run a risk,” Dickey said Tuesday. “I knew that when I wrote the book. I had to get to the place where I was OK with whatever reaction was going to come.”
The book, which will be released on March 29, was penned with New York Daily News reporter Wayne Coffey.
“Each time feels more wicked than the time before,” Dickey wrote of his babysitter in an excerpt published by Sports Illustrated. “Every time that I know I’m going back over there, the sweat starts to come back. I sit in the front seat of the car, next to my mother, anxiety surging. I never tell her why I am so afraid. I never tell anyone until I am 31 years old.
“I just keep my terrible secret, keep it all inside, the details of what went on, and the hurt of a little boy who is scared and ashamed and believes he has done something terribly wrong, but doesn’t know what that is.”
Dickey put together the best two years of his career after the Mets gave the journeyman right-hander a minor league deal in December 2009. He became one of New York’s most dependable starters after he was promoted in May 2010, going 11-9 with a 2.84 ERA in 27 games, and was rewarded with a $7.8 million, two-year contract.
Dickey’s biography focuses on redemption, not only in his baseball career but also in his personal life. He writes about his troubled Tennessee childhood memories, which include multiple accounts of abuse.
“I started writing the book in 2005, and it was too painful then to write it, so I put it down for a few years until I felt like I had the equipment to hold it well and talk about it in an effort not only for my own catharsis, but also as a possibility to help other people,” Dickey said. “Sure, it’s been difficult, but I feel like I’m OK.”
Dickey said he had shared the personal details of his past with only about a dozen people prior to opening it up for the public to read about in the book. He doesn’t plan to address it with his teammates unless they ask him about it.
“It’s nothing I am going to force on anybody,” Dickey said. “I feel like I feel much more comfortable and I feel like the right thing to do is if people have questions about the story or about my life or about things that are talked about in the book, then I certainly am available to talk about those things, but being proactive and seeking people out, I think it’s a wait-and-see kind of thing.”
Dickey hopes others who have shared similar experiences will learn and benefit from the book. He said his life might have turned out differently had he talked about the sexual abuse earlier. Not even his family knew until he wrote the book.
“I think one of the hopes I have for the book is that people will be able to draw something from it that might be able to help them, whether it’s to talk about it more, to not be afraid, to be open with what’s happened, that there are people available, that will love you no matter what,” Dickey said.
The book also includes a recollection of finding a syringe in the bathroom of the Rangers’ clubhouse. He said he wasn’t worried about that part because it was “just a general observation.” He said baseball has come a long way since that time.
“I think there’s a lot of people who have a real distaste for steroids and being able to counterfeitly enhance yourself. I think there’s a lot more people willing to say, ‘I would rather there be a great testing system in place,’ and I think that speaks volumes for major league baseball,” Dickey said. “They’ve done a good job to not only eradicate but to develop a culture where that’s frowned upon. The culture was different at that time.”
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