This interview was originally published on The Bench and has been edited for content here at Full Spectrum Baseball
Dave Dravecky played for 8 years in the majors. He broke in with the San Diego Padres in 1982 and finished with the San Fransisco Giants. In his seventh year while pitching for the Giants, a cancerous desmoid tumor was discovered in Dave’s pitching arm. The next years were a whirlwind of surgery, radiation, pain and depression, all in the glaring light of the media. Eventually, Dave’s arm was amputated to stop the spread of the cancer and save his life.
Click here to read his career stats.
Click here to visit his website.
Tim Danielson, FSB.com: Did you play other sports in High School or College?
Dave Dravecky: Yes I did play other sports in High School but not in College. I played basketball in high school! I wasn’t very good but it kept me in shape for baseball
FSB.com: At what point or how did you know that pro baseball was the right sport for you?
Dravecky: I never really new whether or not I’d be able to play pro ball. I had the dream but it wasn’t until my junior year in college that I thought I might have a chance.
FSB.com:What was your reaction the first time you saw yourself on a baseball card?
Dravecky: What in the world is a guy from Youngstown, Ohio doing on a baseball card?!
FSB.com:What so far has been your most memorable or best pro baseball moment?
Dravecky: My best moment came when I made the comeback from cancer and pitched in the big leagues once again defeating the Cincinnati Reds 4-3 on August 10th 1989! The most significant moment was when I broke my arm in Montreal. At the point what was going on in my life was much bigger than baseball. What that has become is our work through Dave Dravecky’s Outreach of Hope. You can visit our website at www.outreachofhope.org
FSB.com:What was the one pitch you would like to have back? (least memorable moment)
Dravecky: Actually none of them because every pitch I threw as a big leaguer was a gift!
FSB.com:Was there any significance to your jersey #?
Dravecky: My number was 43 and I just like the combination that added up to seven.
FSB.com:If you could have played any other position besides pitcher, what would it be and why?
Dravecky: Being left handed I was limited but the purpose in playing another position was simply to be able to hit more!
FSB.com:Who was/is your most memorable “character” team mate and why?
Dravecky: There were a few character team mates in SF. Mike Krukow and Bob Brently. They had the unique ability to keep the clubhouse loose especially in post season play where it was needed the most!
Fan of the site, hdjstuff asks: Are you now cancer free?
Dravecky: Yes, I am cancer free!
FSB.com:Do you currently have anything you are doing with Major League Baseball?
Dravecky: I was invited by Clint Hurdle three years ago to come and shag balls during bp and get to know the players and be there to encourage them when needed. But due to my traveling and speaking it has been difficult to be consistent. The past two years I visited the Rockies on a very minimal basis. I still love being around the game!
FSB.com:Do you collect baseball cards or memorabilia? If so what?
Dravecky: No, I’m really not much of a collector but I did collect while my son was growing up!
Fan of the site, Erdoro asks: In 1984 during your World Series year for San Diego, you had 8 saves. In 83 you were a starter, what prompted your move to a spot starter for that year only?
Dravecky: In 1984 I was asked by our manager and pitching coach to be a swing man. Because I was able to start and go a minimum of 6 innings they thought I could help them in a middle and long relief role as well. My saves were usually 2 or more innings.
Fan of the site, Mort asks: Thank you for the opportunity! Many fans know you were a successful baseball player, but you are also a successful author. Of your eight books you have written, which one would you recommend someone read first?
Dravecky: Start with the very first book “Comeback”!
FSB.com: For a pitcher, hitting is never a high expectation for a manager. Yet in 1986 you hit a homerun for the Padres off Dennis Powell. Do you recall the hit? What were your teammates reaction when you returned to the dugout?
Dravecky: I do recall the hit and as a matter of fact I will never forget it! I loved hitting! My teammates were as shocked as I was. I ran so fast around the base paths that the 3rd base coach had to slow me down so I could enjoy it!
Fan of the site, Fatboycards asks: Mr Dravecky, Thank you for being a living inspiration to millions. There are couple of questions I hope you might consider.
In your career who was the toughest batter you had to face?
Dravecky: Tim Raines
FSB.com:Was there a batter who you had “his number” so to speak?
Dravecky: I’m not really sure but I did prefer pitchers to the homerun hitters because they had more holes in their swing that I could attack!
FSB.com:In today’s game what pitcher do you feel is most like you in regards to style and how they pitch?
Dravecky: It’s really hard to say but if you were to disregard velocity which I had little of maybe Cole Hamels.
Dave has some of the most common questions he is asked available on his website, those questions are listed here.
Question: How fast was your fastball?
Dravecky: My fastball was usually in the 88-89 MPH range.
Question: What type of bat did you use?
Dravecky: A Louisville Slugger, 34 inches long, and it weighed 31 ounces.
Question: Which teammate had the biggest effect on your life?
Dravecky: Atlee Hammaker
Question:What was your favorite baseball stadium to play in?
Dravecky: Candlestick Park
Question: Who was the best player you played with and against?
Dravecky: Barry Bonds
Question: What was your most memorable moment in baseball?
Dravecky: The Comeback Game
Question: How old were you when you started playing baseball?
Dravecky: 8 years old
Question:Who was your greatest rival?
Dravecky: The Dodgers
Yes! Dave will autograph his baseball card if you mail it and include a self-addressed, stamped return envelope!
Send your card to:
Outreach of Hope
13840 Gleneagle Drive
Colorado Springs, CO 80921
Until next week, keep collecting, collect for the joy of the hobby and collect for the fan in all of us.
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