Originally posted on Full Spectrum Baseball  |  Last updated 7/8/12

The juiciest/craziest story of the summer is not best seller “50 Shades of Grey”. It’s not the dissolving union of Tom-Kat. (Is there hope for any of us?) It’s New York Mets’ R.A. Dickey, who is defying the odds with the rarely used knuckleball.

For the love of god, R.A. Dickey has successfully reinvented himself at a point in his career where even some of the better players hang it up. He’s the National League player of the month for June. ABC News named him person of the week. He’s a published author. Oh, and R.A. Dickey might very well be the starting pitcher for the All-Star Game. That’s quite the way to make your All-Star debut.

Somewhere, Charlie Hough is pulling a hissy fit.

Dickey remains grounded, telling ABC News, “I’m just trying to be in the moment with it as much as possible.” Although Dickey’s last start was a bit rough, he has a 10-game winning streak under his belt. Oh, and by a bit rough, I mean he was pitching in 3 digit temperatures. Neither pitcher was on it that day. Dickey, the only knuckleballer in Major League Baseball right now, is experiencing a dream season. Just last month, he threw two consecutive one-hitters. The knuckleball was once reserved purely for pitchers who blew their arm out. Now, it’s more stylish than pajama jeans.

In his new book, “Whenever I Wind Up: My Quest for Truth, Authenticity and the Perfect Knuckleball,” Dickey revealed that he was abused repeatedly as a young boy. It’s quite the rough read. Dickey kept the abuse a secret, even from his wife, Anne, whom he met in the seventh grade. She was by his side when he signed a Major League Baseball contract for nearly $1 million. She was also there when the results of an MRI showed that he was missing a ligament in his arm.

The contract was later rescinded.

When the Texas Rangers reduced the bonus to $75,000, Dickey took it, determined to prove he was worth every cent and more. Boy, has he. The Dickeys moved more than 30 times as R.A. pitched for the Mets, the Rangers, the Milwaukee Brewers, Seattle Mariners and Minnesota Twins. In between major league teams, Dickey threw in the minors.

He could thank Orel Hershiser for that.

It was in 2005 when Hershiser sent Dickey to the minors to learn this peculiar pitch. It wasn’t an easy road back. Nonetheless, the knuckleball, a baseball enigma that Dickey has seemed to master, made him the most-talked-about pitcher in the league.

Knuckleballs hardly spin. They rotate only up to 1.5 times before they reach home plate. This makes their motion unpredictable. “I take my fingernails and dig them in right behind the horseshoe, really trying to stabilize the baseball with [the fingers and] the thumb,” Dickey tells ABS News. “I release the ball at the opportune moment and it comes without spin.”

Dickey is featured in a film documentary called “Knuckleball.” Featured at Tribeca 2012 as well as the SABR 2012 conference, “Knuckleball” is due for release this September. Dickey said that even as a young boy he had a big imagination. “I always had hope,” he said. I’m sure that “hope” didn’t include Robert Deniro.

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