I just finished reading “Wherever I Wind Up: My Quest for Truth, Authenticity, and the Perfect Knuckleball” by New York Mets pitcher, R.A. Dickey and Wayne Coffey. I follow baseball and really enjoyed the book. Dickey made his first All Star Game this year at the improbable age of 37 and he is an interesting story.
One thing I got from the book is how hard it is to become a Major League Baseball professional player. Dickey was a highly recruited high school sports star, an All-American pitcher at the University of Tennessee, played in the Olympics, but yet, was not quite good enough to be a consistent Major League pitcher. He was a “4A” pitcher, which meant that he was very good at the Minor League Baseball level (3A) but not quite good enough to stay as a player on a Major League club. He spent over 10 years on minor league baseball teams with some call ups to the big league, but always at the end of the season, he was back down in the minors. It was not until he changed to a knuckleball pitcher, that he become a solid professional and eventually an All Star pitcher. The book details his work in perfecting a difficult pitch over years of trying.
The book also describes his overcoming a poor, rough childhood, and maturing into husband and father. His honesty at his mistakes and overcoming sexual abuse, an alcoholic mother, absent father, and marrying young, are truly inspiring. The book made me want to be more patient and loving with my wife and children, and more open to the moment and enjoying every experience. He used counseling and his Christian faith to overcome his challenges. Although for most people, including myself, earning an athletic scholarship, participating in the Olympics, and even getting to play a single game in the Majors would be enough. But after reading about his struggles, it is good that he got the reward of a multi-million dollar contract. It is refreshing to have an athlete be smart and thoughtful and with help of Wayne Coffey, write an interesting book. I recommend it.