Originally posted on Pro Sports Daily  |  Last updated 8/13/12

Over the franchise's first 50 seasons, two Mets pitchers won Cy Young awards. Tom Seaver did it three times. Dwight Gooden did it once.

Over the franchise's first 50 seasons, five Mets pitchers won at least 20 games in a season. Seaver did it four times. Gooden, Jerry Koosman, David Cone and Frank Viola all did it once.

Now, in the franchise's 51st year, R.A. Dickey has a chance to achieve both feats. With seven weeks and change left in the season, Dickey is sitting on 15 wins, tied for tops in the National League. His 2.72 ERA ranks fourth and his 166 strikeouts are tied for first. No pitcher in the league has a better won-lost record, more complete games, more shutouts or a slower average fastball velocity.

That last statistic hints at Dickey's remarkable back story, which has become well-known throughout baseball circles. Once a first-round draft pick, more recently a retread, Dickey revived his career as a knuckleballer in the last decade and has only continued to improve, appearing in his first All-Star Game last month at age 37. Through mid-August, he is putting together the best individual season of any NL pitcher.

Now, Dickey has a chance at some history.

"Awards, number of games won, that needs to be an organic thing," the knuckleballer said Thursday when asked about the Cy Young following his 15th win.

If he's not thinking about it, others certainly are. Dickey is on course to have 10 more starts to win five more games while bolstering the rest of his Cy Young credentials. On that schedule, he can continue to pitch every fifth game and work toward those individual goals the old-fashioned way.

But what if Dickey is sitting on 17 or 18 wins heading into the final two or three weeks of the season? What if Stephen Strasburg, Clayton Kershaw or any of the NL's other top pitchers make up ground or surpass his benchmarks?

Dickey swears it won't matter, that he will continue pitching on a regular schedule. But manager Terry Collins, who considered using Dickey's rubber arm to his advantage earlier this season by starting the knuckleballer regularly on short rest, might have other plans.

Collins admitted last week that even if the Mets are completely out of playoff contention come September, he could still use Dickey on short rest in the hope of bolstering his credentials just enough for a 20-win season, the Cy Young award or both.

"He doesn't want to look like we're running him out there to win the Cy Young," Collins said. "But will I? I certainly might, yes. I think he deserves that shot. I thought Jose Reyes deserved to win the batting title last year, too. I got criticized for that. I'm going to get criticized for this."

Collins indeed took heat when he allowed Reyes, in his final appearance as a Met, to bunt for a hit and immediately leave the game, securing the first batting title in franchise history but also earning boos from Citi Field's fans.

A similar strategy could unfold down the stretch with Dickey, assuming he is up to it. The only thing that would give the Mets pause is Dickey's health; though the knuckleballer has no recent history of arm trouble, he is 37 years old and a key part of the team's plans for next season. Losing him to an injury when the Mets are out of contention would be crushing.

Then again, winning the fifth Cy Young award in franchise history would be uplifting.

"I just hope we've got enough starts left for him and we win enough games," Collins said. "He's certainly one of the candidates."

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