MLB Knuckleball Pitcher R.A. Dickey Shares about Dark Past and Near-Death Experience in New Film

2012 Cy Young Award Winner Joins Baseball Greats in I am Second Movement

Jul 16, 2013, 09:00 ET from I Am Second

PLANO, Texas, July 16, 2013 /PRNewswire/ -- Cy Young Award Winner and Toronto Blue Jays pitcher R.A. Dickey shares about his childhood abuse, feelings of inadequacy and a near-death experience in a short film debuting today. The film is the newest production by I Am Second, a movement meant to inspire through stories of hope and transformation.

Dickey is known as one of baseball's most successful pitchers and the only knuckleballer to ever be awarded MLB's top pitching honor, the Cy Young Award. He joins baseball players Josh Hamilton, Albert Pujols, Clayton Kershaw and David Murphy, among other celebrities, athletes, authors and everyday individuals, in declaring, "I am Second."

In the new film posted today on, Dickey shares about his difficult journey to the top of professional baseball and the lessons learned along the way.

Having been molested and raped as a child, Dickey faced feelings of unworthiness as he coped with his abuse, hiding it from the world.

"Within sports I found I could control my destiny," Dickey said in the film. "If you followed the formula as an athlete, you would be rewarded for that. So, that was not only how I escaped, but found a lot of validation and identity as I grew up."

For years Dickey tried to fill the void with baseball, but still came up short. His feelings of inadequacy continued as a $700,000-plus-contract offer with the Texas Rangers was rescinded when team doctors discovered he lacked an ulnar collateral ligament in his elbow, which could affect his pitching. The fact that he could throw a baseball at all with this missing ligament was somewhat of a mystery.

Dickey eventually hit rock bottom and began contemplating suicide to escape his inner turmoil, coming as close as connecting a rubber hose to his exhaust pipe and running it inside his car.

Through a moment of clarity and faith, Dickey decided life was worth living. However, it would later on be a rash decision to impress teammates by swimming across the Missouri River that would nearly claim his life. Dickey managed to narrowly survive the powerful current, leaving him prepared to live life in a new direction.

This defining moment set him on the road to healing, finally sharing his story of abuse with his wife and concentrating on the recuperative process more than his performance on the field. He soon saw improvement both in his professional and personal life. In 2012, 16 years after he was told he wasn't good enough, Dickey received the highest honor for any pitcher with the Cy Young award while playing for the New York Mets.

"The knuckleball can be a metaphor for what it's like to let go," Dickey said. "When you throw a knuckleball well, the only thing you care about is releasing the ball toward its target without spin. To release a ball that doesn't spin, you have to surrender to the outcome in a way that you don't with other pitches. For me personally, God's in my mechanics, too. The surrender for me doesn't happen when I release the pitch, it happens when I wake up in the morning – having to surrender to every moment from then until I close my eyes at night."

Dickey's complete story can be viewed at

About I Am Second
Athletes, actors, models, musicians, pastors, politicians and many more have stepped forward, looked in the camera and proclaimed, "I am Second." But most in the movement and its Spanish counterpart are ordinary people with stories of hope and transformation.

A non-profit launched in Dallas-Fort Worth in 2008, website and films have reached 25 million people from 219 countries/regions. For more information, visit

Media Contacts:

David Naranjo, RockOrange

Marleny Wood, I am Second/Yo Soy Segundo

SOURCE I Am Second